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Former Blast Engine Houses at Tondu Ironworks

A Grade II* Listed Building in Sarn, Bridgend

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5478 / 51°32'52"N

Longitude: -3.6001 / 3°36'0"W

OS Eastings: 289145

OS Northings: 184429

OS Grid: SS891844

Mapcode National: GBR HC.FP53

Mapcode Global: VH5HB.KC48

Entry Name: Former Blast Engine Houses at Tondu Ironworks

Listing Date: 9 November 1998

Last Amended: 9 November 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 20763

Building Class: Industrial

Location: At the foot of the hillside into which the Ironworks was built, W of Tondu station and Maesteg Road and at the edge of the now cleared former coal and rail works and yards.

County: Bridgend

Community: Ynysawdre

Community: Ynysawdre

Locality: Tondu

Built-Up Area: Sarn

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Tondu

History

1854 lease shows blast/blowing engine houses in their current shape, as they are on first edition OS map 1875 and thus part of the early development of the site by Sir Robert Price who owned the works from 1837-54. Structural evidence shows the smaller was built after the larger. Engine appears to have been a beam engine but one without a central wall (the bob or lever wall), instead it had a column with cross beam on top (entablature) on which the beam pivoted. Further strengthening of the framework for the working beam was invariably provided by spring beams on top of the entablature and flanking the working beam of the engine. Power and blowing cylinders were originally mounted on a solid core of brick or stone and bolted securely to it. Both engine houses have later concrete suspended floors probably associated with steam turbines, compressors etc installed following the end of the ironmaking late C19; larger building underpinned with brick to form a basement. Many alterations are shown by blocked features and inserted later ones, including adaptation from when the structure was part of railway works C20. Described in the Oxford Archaeological Unit's assessment as probably unique in Wales as a pair of engine houses rather than an engine house for two engines.

Exterior

Of coursed roughly dressed ironstone with tooled ashlar dressings and some yellow brick dressings; rubble basement; formerly a Welsh slate roof, now roofless. Three storeys and basement; plan of larger rectangular gabled engine house with added smaller setback gabled wing, the 2nd engine house; some substantial later alterations. Frontage right has at apex a blind semi-circular arch with blind oculus; below on 2 floors are 2 bays of round headed windows with tooled ashlar surrounds, imposts, voussoirs and keystone, all with later and broken glazing, and matching blocked central former doorway arch of 2 orders; tooled quoins; inserted round headed red brick arch on left return wall. Side right elevation has 2 round arched windows with vermiculated relief keystone, tooled imposts, surround, and sill, on 3 storeys, plus one brick window added at first floor level; also various further openings, some blocked. Two bay gable end rear has similar windows at each level and at basement level a wide blocked semicircular arch with vermiculated keystone; inserted door right.

Left wing frontage has a gable oculus at apex; at first floor a large segmental arched window right with yellow brick voussoirs and tooled ashlar surround and wide segmental arched yellow brick doorway to ground floor now partly blocked; exposed corework front left suggests former structure attached here; tooled quoins to right. Side elevation left has similar segmental arched windows, 2 on each floor - larger below, replaced glazing. Rear has apex oculus, blocked similar doorway on ground floor with window above, the voussoirs replaced by concrete lintel.

Interior

Interior of primary building is open to roof and has trusses of a 5 bay roof structure in place; below on the end walls are the large corbels which held the two spring beams supporting the engine which used to drive a Boulton and Watt type blast pump; 2 smaller in side wall right formerly supporting floor at this level; metal track remains left; steam pipe in mid side wall right; furnaces were behind semi-circular arch in gable end. Floor of concrete inserted later, probably associated with steam turbines etc installed following the end of iron making; area of floor open to basement, reputedly still housing electrical equipment and rendered foundation structure possibly the foundation of the beam engine. Walls were originally lime rendered, later partly replaced by cement. Second house is of 2 bays with a single roof truss; blocked round headed openings to primary structure precede this building, and other now blocked openings were later created to join the two; later brick fireplace built across corner; later concrete suspended floor, but evidence for early engine supports and fittings may exist below; never rendered just limewashed.

Reasons for Listing

Listed grade II* as a unique pair of blowing engine houses on an exceptionally complete ironworks site and dating from the early period of ironworking under Sir Robert Price, before 1854.

Scheduled Ancient Monument No. GM433 (BRI).

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II* Lift Tower at Tondu Ironworks
    Set in the hillside between the company housing of Derllwyn Road and Park Terrace above and the levelled area below where the Engine House stands, against the old furnace bank and opposite the Calcini
  • II* Calcining Kilns and attached abutment at Tondu Ironworks
    Set in the hillside between the company housing of Derllwyn Road and Park Terrace above and the levelled area below where the Engine House stands, just above the old furnace bank and opposite the Lift
  • II Park Cottage
    Attached to 27 Derllwyn Road, next to the former Truck Shop, on the hillside above the former Tondu ironworks and in the NW of the community.
  • II Former Truck Shop Tondu Ironworks now Foxtroy Residential Home
    On the west side of the community, on the hillside just NW of the former Tondu Ironworks site and the centre of the original ironworkers'settlement.
  • II Park House
    Attached to number 26, just W of the former Truck Shop on the hillside N of the former Tondu Ironworks, in the W of the community.
  • II ,23,Derllwyn Road,Tondu,,,CF32 9HD
    Just to E of former Truck Shop on the hillside above the former Tondu ironworks and in NW of community.
  • II Bridge over Incline Plane Tondu
    Just within the SW boundary of the community, W of Maesteg Road and the railway, just N of Tondu Methodist church.
  • II Bridge over Incline Plane Tondu
    Just within the SW boundary of the community, W of Maesteg Road and the railway, just N of Tondu Methodist church.

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