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West Glamorgan Archive Service

Date joined: 04/05/18


Neath Abbey Ironworks was built by the Quaker firm of Fox and Company of Cornwall in 1792. Going through several vicissitudes and changes of ownership, it closed finally in 1885. During its lifetime, the works produced stationary mining engines, railway locomotives, steam and iron sailing ships for customers, mostly in the United Kingdom but sometimes for British and foreign entrepreneurs based on the European continent and much further abroad, in Mexico and Australia for example. 

The Neath Abbey Ironworks collection at West Glamorgan Archives in Swansea is one of the Archives' most important collections, one of only a handful of archive collections in Wales which are inscribed on the UK register of the UNESCO Memory of the World programme. Over 7,500 extant engineering drawings created for both marketing and manufacturing the engines reveal the technological development of industrial machinery through the nineteenth century and indicate how important the contribution of Wales was to the British Industrial Revolution. Neath Abbey Ironworks products were generally known for their high quality, although some of the early railway locomotives produced by the works as shown here are perhaps best described as experimental.

A generous grant from the Friends of the National Libraries in 2018 has enabled West Glamorgan Archives to digitise and place here a sample of the drawings. You can see the original drawings and thousands more like them at our offices in Swansea Civic Centre (see our website for more information on how to visit us and to search our online catalogue). Please contact us if you require any further information on accessing these records or obtaining copies.

West Glamorgan Archive Service would like to acknowledge here the generosity of the Friends of the National Libraries in the digitisation of these drawings and for their generous assistance in helping us to purchase the collection in 2013.     

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