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Former Westlake's Brewery

A Grade II Listed Building in Abersychan, Torfaen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.751 / 51°45'3"N

Longitude: -3.0589 / 3°3'31"W

OS Eastings: 327000

OS Northings: 206341

OS Grid: SO270063

Mapcode National: GBR J3.0TJ3

Mapcode Global: VH79K.X8R1

Entry Name: Former Westlake's Brewery

Listing Date: 28 July 1997

Last Amended: 28 July 1997

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 18596

Building Class: Industrial

Location: Situated on the E bank of the Afon Lwyd below the main road; to south of Forge Row.

County: Torfaen

Community: Abersychan

Community: Abersychan

Locality: Cwmavon

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

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Blaenavon

History

Built in 1900 by leading brewery architects George Adlam and Sons of Bristol for Charles Westlake. At time of its opening it was acclaimed by the Brewers Journal saying that ‘the construction of the building is of the most substantial character in every way’ and ‘the plant will be of the most modern description, both scientifically and practically.’ This new brewery superseded that opened by Charles Francis Westlake in Blaenavon in 1880’s; the company, Westlake’s Brewery Ltd, was founded in 1889. Unreliable water supply led to the move down to Cwmavon. By 1907 it had a chain of pubs and its beer was winning medals almost annually; in 1911 Westlake’s took over the Castle Brewery in Pontypool. The business declined in 1920’s and brewing stopped in 1928. In 1936 the buildings were taken over by The Eastern Valley Subsistence Production Society with the objective of helping the problem of mass unemployment in this area; this scheme was set up by Peter Scott of Newport. Now the former brewery has been converted to use as a plastics factory.

Exterior

Tall, five-storey, tower brewery flanked by lower offices and ancillary ranges. The huge scale of the main block enabled a capacity of 24-quarters. Constructed in local stone with red brick dressings including quoins, band courses and jambs; slate roof with offset hipped clerestory. The third and fourth floors have segmental headed windows with keystones and the top floor has a band of eight square-headed windows and a doorway onto outside stairs beyond. The gable ends have similar segmental headed windows; to the north end there is a Diocletian type window created by a central semicircular arch and the south end is rendered. Most of the glazing is of small-pane metal-frame type. Stepped down at north end is the hipped-roof two-storey office block which is distinguished from the main brewery by the use of freestone not brick dressings. At the corner there is a distinctive projecting bow window to first floor, with a crenellated parapet, in the manner of a tourelle and to the north side is a bulls-eye window. Old views of the brewery and evidence in the masonry show that the present gabled roof to the porch replaces the original Jacobethan detail with swept-up parapet and pedimented doorcase. These views also show that the former chimney to south end and a further smaller and moulded chimney on the north gable have been lost; the clerestory also had ironwork cresting and there was a hoist where the present outside stairs are.

Interior

Not inspected but now converted to use as a plastics factory.

Reasons for Listing

Included as a scarce surviving example of a grand Victorian brewery in Wales, built by notable brewery architects and highly regarded at the time of construction.

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Other nearby listed buildings

  • II* 6 Forge Row
    Situated at the base of a steep hillside, on the east bank of Afon Lwyd about 40m south of Cwmavon House. Rubble forecourt wall.
  • II* 5 Forge Row
    Situated at the base of a steep hillside, on the east bank of Afon Lwyd about 40m south of Cwmavon House. Rubble forecourt wall.
  • II* 4 Forge Row
    Situated at the base of a steep hillside, on the east bank of Afon Lwyd about 40m south of Cwmavon House. Rubble forecourt wall.
  • II* 3 Forge Row
    Situated at the base of a steep hillside, on the east bank of Afon Lwyd about 40m south of Cwmavon House. Rubble forecourt wall.
  • II* 2 Forge Row
    Situated at the base of a steep hillside, on the east bank of Afon Lwyd about 40m south of Cwmavon House. Rubble forecourt wall.
  • II* 1 Forge Row
    Situated at the base of a steep hillside, on the east bank of Afon Lwyd about 40m south of Cwmavon House. Rubble forecourt wall.
  • II Cwmavon House
    On the east bank of Afon Lwyd about 40m north of Forge Row.
  • II 'Beehive' Pigsty at Blaengwenffrwd Farm
    On the north side of the Blaenavon road just before it leaves the Community at its western extremity.

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