Blaenavon Travel Guide

  • Big Pit
    Big Pit
    by Balam
  • Blaenavon
    by Balam
  • Tablet at  Visitor Viewpoint on Blorenge Mountain
    Tablet at Visitor Viewpoint on Blorenge...
    by ranger49

Blaenavon Things to Do

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    by ranger49 Updated Sep 10, 2011

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    When these ironworks were built in the 1780’s they were at the vanguard of the Industrial Revolution and its new knowledge and technology.
    It was here that some of the great advances in steel making were first trialled - like the Bessermer amd Gillchrist-Thomas processes.

    The American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie said of the cousins " These two young men of Blaenavon did more for Britain's greatness than all the kings and queens put together."

    Instead of using waterwheels a specially built steam engine made possible the first purpose-built blast furnaces in Wales. On the same site a water balance tower was also built to hoist material to the upper level tram road .
    A row of cottages for the workers was built between 1780 and 1792 . Each of these tiny dwellings often housed as many as 14 people .
    With the decline in steel production the blast furnaces became idle after the mid-19th century and the workers and their families found alternative employment was in the nearby coalmines.

    The workers cottages were still occupied until the 1970’swhen after years of neglect and dereliction they were renovated and furnished as they might have been in the first half of the 19th Century.
    Two of the cottages at the far end of the row now house a museum of local industrial history and a wonderful collection of the records of family history.

    The others are furnished to reflect the changing styles and degrees of comfort at differnt stages of their occupation.

    In October 2007 they were featured in a BBC Documentary Series "Coalhouse" about the living conditions of coal and steel workers during some exceptionally hard times in 1927.

    Work is progressing on the re-creation of a company Truck Shop. By establishing a shop close to their works Owners were able to further exploit the workers.
    Part on the wages paid would often be in Tokens - which could only be used in the Truck shop where inferior goods were sold at high prices.
    It is possible to combine a visit to the Ironworks with a visit to the nearby Big Pit National Mining Museum.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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    by Balam Written May 17, 2011

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    The Workmens Hall at Blaenavon is a great example of a Valley miners' institute and it houses a 400 seat auditorium as well as a cinema, snooker room, bar, meeting room and conference facilities.
    The building of the Workmen’s Hall was funded by miners through weekly deductions from their pay.

    Workmens Hall Workmens Hall
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

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    by Balam Written May 17, 2011

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    The Ironworks first commenced production in 1789 and is the best preserved blast furnace complex of its period and type in the world. You can walk aropund the extensive remains of the blast furnaces, cast houses and go up to the top of the impressive Water Balance Tower. Around the site there are information boards as well as some great audio information stands that tell you about the Iron works and the people that worked here. You learn about the great significance of the iron industry and the hard life that the people who worked here would have had.
    there are three rows of the workers terraced cottages surviving at the site. Two houses are furnished on as it would have been arround 1790 and the other in 1841, the others contain an exhibition and at the end a shop.

    It was also the setting of the award winning BBC television series called 'Coal House' were some families spent a month living as they would have done years ago.

    Free Entry (last entry 30mins before closing)

    Open:

    Monday to Thursday: 10:00 - 17:00 (Apr-Oct) Closed (Nov-Mar)

    Fridays: 10:00 - 17:00 (Apr-Oct) & 09.30 - 16.00 (Nov-Mar)

    Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00 (Apr-Oct) & 09.30 - 16.00 (Nov-Mar)

    Sunday: 10:00 - 17:00 (Apr-Oct) & 11.00 - 16.00 (Nov-Mar)

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel

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