The Industrial Heritage of
Steel Making in Ebbw Vale/Glyn Ebwy
The Ebbw Vale Steelworks in 1969
Ebbw Vale / Glyn Ebwy
Prior to the
At the end of
the 18th century, the population the Ebbw Fawr valley was only about 140.
of the Ebbw Vale Ironworks in 1778 transformed the
valley. In 1781, the furnace and ironworks employed around 70 workers. By 1815,
the population of the valley had grown to 1200.
half of the century saw Ebbw Vale begin to take
shape. 1853 saw the opening of the Literary and Scientific Institute. Christ
Church was consecrated in 1869.
for workers in Ebbw Vale gradually improved, with the
working day reduced to nine hours in the 1880s. Also the hated 'Truck Shops'
were abolished in 1872. These were often over-priced company-owned shops which
people were obliged to use, as the company would allow no other competition.
Much of the credit for these improvements lies with the trade union movement,
which was strong in the area.
Park is the home of both the town's rugby and cricket clubs. However, cricket
predates rugby and Ebbw Vale's first recorded match
was played against Blaina in 1852. During the 19th
century the influx of people from the surrounding counties looking for work in
the local iron works and coal mines gave cricket a boost and in June 1879
"a meeting was held at the Institute to form a cricket club in the
town". Support came from schoolmasters teaching the game as part of the
curriculum and from the clergy who as disciples of Muscular Christianity
believed that playing games helped to give order and moral structure to life
within the tightly knit and drink ridden industrial communities.
games were played at 'Dobbs Field' named after the landlord of the nearby
Bridgend Hotel. The Bridgend field as it became known was owned by Phillips and
sons, Brewers, of Station Street, Newport, who by 1903 were charging £3.50 for
a seasons rent. This amount was increased to £9 in 1904 and the following year
First World War in 1918, the Ebbw Vale Steel Company
created a recreation club buying the Cricket Club assets for £100 but this
organization ceased to exist on 31st March 1923 in the post war
depression. A Welfare Scheme for the town was then created and from this
time the field was known as the Ebbw Vale Welfare
Ground, however to honour Sir Eugene Cross, the influential and longstanding
Chairman of the Trustees, the ground was given its present name in 1973.
With the closure of part of the steelworks in 1977 a public trust was formed in
1981 to succeed the Welfare Association and this led to Local Authority control
1878, when the Briery Hill Schools were built, schools existed at
The Ebbw Vale Forge School provide education for children
living in Pond Row, Armoury Row, School Row, Forge
Row, and Church Row-now replaced by Holland Street, Alexander Street, Church
Street and Church Crescent. In
addition the settlement of Briery Hill known to Welsh speaking natives as
Twyn Dryseog . The English
translation for Twyn is 'Tump'
or mound, hence the traditional nickname for the area.
The Ebbw Vale Forge schools had been built and managed by the Ebbw Vale Company, owners of the iron work and forges. They
provided very bad accommodation.
Act of 1870 enabled Elementary Schools to be set up throughout
was born in Tredegar, Monmouthshire on November 15,
1897. Although not a native Ebbw Valian,
he served as the town's MP from 1929 until his death in 1960. The son of a
miner, he went down the pit himself at the age of 13 and overcome a severe
stammer to become chairman of his local lodge of the South Wales Miners
Federation, local Councillor, and eventually a
prominent Government Minister.
significant achievement was the shaping of the National Health Service through
unifying the network of local authority and voluntary hospitals in a single
national system. Medical Aid Societies, formed in the area during the 19th
century, provided a model for the National Health Service.
production in Ebbw Vale was phased out by 1974, with
production transferred to Llanwern, in
Corus at the start of 2001 closed the final bastion of
the industry, to which the people here have depended so much upon. Even so the
town is still an important area for the eastern valley communities and is still
the main Shopping centre. The recent Garden festival site has been redeveloped
into a very picturesque out-of-town shopping centre.
Steel from Ebbw Vale built the Sydney Harbour Bridge
engineering bricks from Beaufort support the
first steel rail was rolled at Ebbw Vale in 1857.
The rails for
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