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British Colliery Pumping Engine House

A Grade II Listed Building in Abersychan, Torfaen

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Latitude: 51.7266 / 51°43'35"N

Longitude: -3.075 / 3°4'30"W

OS Eastings: 325844

OS Northings: 203644

OS Grid: SO258036

Mapcode National: GBR J2.2H6S

Mapcode Global: VH79K.NV6R

Plus Code: 9C3RPWGF+JX

Entry Name: British Colliery Pumping Engine House

Listing Date: 28 July 1997

Last Amended: 28 July 1997

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 18595

Building Class: Industrial

Location: On the site of the British Ironworks about 100m north east of the former British Ironworks office and foundry quadrangle.

County: Torfaen

Town: Pontypool

Community: Abersychan

Community: Abersychan

Locality: The British

Built-Up Area: Abersychan

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

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A Cornish beam pumping engine-house built by the British Iron Company to drain its mines. The engine-house stood within the complex of buildings of the British Ironworks, most of which were dismantled in the 1880's following closure of the ironworks in 1883. The British Ironworks began production in 1827 and operated several coal mines in the vicinity. The pumping engine was installed in 1845 to assist drainage from the deep levels.


A sandstone engine house of standard 'Cornish' type, but better finished than many. It has the remains of a Welsh slate roof of low pitch. A rectangular three storeyed tower of coursed squared stone. The long walls have an arched opening on each floor with cill and voussoir head; these have all been blocked with brick. The north gable wall likewise, but with three different sized openings, of which only the ground floor one is blocked. The south gable 'bob' wall has a partly blocked doorway on the ground floor and the large arched 'bob' opening in the gable with two projecting iron brackets for a gallery below. Cornish examples almost always have attached chimneys but no evidence for this or for a boiler house remains. No surface remains of the shaft are visible.


The interior is very unusual in retaining some of the timber beams and stairs on the upper floors. There are also cast and wrought iron brackets, bolts and plates. All traces of the Cornish beam pumping engine are long removed.

Reasons for Listing

Listed as an unusually complete example of a Cornish engine house, itself a rarity in Wales. It also has important group value with the nearby former British Ironworks office and foundry quadrangle.

Scheduled Ancient Monument MM216.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II* Former British Ironworks office and foundry quadrangle
    The most prominent building in the area of the former British Ironworks, about 1000m south west of St Thomas's Church, Talywain.
  • II The Big Arch
    Located next to the B4246 and carries a disused railway embankment across a disused railway line now a track. The arch forms the visual and actual gateway to the former British Ironworks area.
  • II Former Goods Shed of Abersychan and Talywain Station
    To the west of Talywain village, high on the embankment above The British and about 300m north of the Big Arch.
  • II Church of St Thomas
    In the centre of Talywain standing in an extensive rectangular rubble walled churchyard.
  • II Former colliery engine house at ETM Steel Fabrication
    On the south-east side of the Varteg to Llanhilleth mountain road at The British. The engine house backs onto the road and faces the yard behind.
  • II Waterloo Cottage
    In the Talywain area of Abersychan, Waterloo Cottage is at the southern end of Fairfield (off Waterloo Road), where the road becomes a footpath.
  • II High Street Baptist Church
    Built backing into the hillside on a high platform with stone retaining wall and iron railings on a site overlooking Cwmsychan.
  • II Garndiffaith Railway Viaduct
    Approximately 250m east of the B4246. Spanning the steep sided valley of the river Ffrwd between the northern part of Talywain and the southern part of Garndiffaith.

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