HRS 909 Porth wen brickworks, gas retort charging holes
HRS 909 Porth Wen brickworks, charging holes A spectacular coastal site dating from the (late 19th century,) silica sand was delivered by incline from a nearby quarry to a steam-powered brickworks complex and the finished product was exported from the quay. Two tall square-plan chimneys survive, as do the shell of the brickworks and the beehive kilns" Source Industrial Archaeology of Wales, D Gwyn & Merfyn Williams AIA 1996 PHOTO: Charging holes and retorts for gas production for firing the furnaces.
It is thought that the making of bricks started in the early part of the 20th century. The type of brick produced was based on the local yellow clay rather than the usual red house brick. They were capable of withstanding a higher temperature that normal bricks and may have been used for the lining of kilns and furnaces.
In 1906 a German by the name of Steibel took over the running of the works and tried to make it a profitable concern. The bricks were cut into shape with a sharp wire before they were baked. To assist in the baking two experts were employed from Ruabon and the quality of the bricks made at this time was extremely high.
In 1908 the works were again taken over by a Mr Charles Tidy. He introduced a new method for brick making in which the clay was pressed into shape rather than cut with wires. The result was that the bricks were left with a hollow frog. Despite the good quality brick and tiles produced, transport was always a major problem for the works. All raw materials and products had to be transported by sea. A small quay was built for the loading and unloading of ships. However the position of the works meant that as well as the effects of tides, a heavy swell was often encountered. The small vessels were often battered while at the quayside - hitting the rocky seabed caused much damage to the craft. Many owners refused to risk their ships mooring there.
Just before the First World War the quality of the kiln firing seems to have worsened. This is rumoured to have been because of disagreements between Charles Tidy and his foreman. Even today around the site examples of under fired bricks can be seen slowly disintegrating while the over glazed bricks remain fused together in piles.
The works closed at the start of the First World War and most of the useful equipment and machinery was removed to be used by a firm in Caernarfon some time before the Second World War. (Web blog quoting from Penmorfa.com)
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Categories & Keywords
Keywords:anglesey, beehive kilns, boilers, brick works, brick-making, bricks, chimneys, cymru, gas production, gas retorts, gas works, kilns, porcelain, steam engines, steibel, wales, wrexham, ynys mon