|Merthy Tydfil Stake Center, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.|
Built above the old Carfarthfa Ironworks in some weird celestial irony.
|Cyfarthfa Castle built on the bones and blood of industrial workers.|
|A remnant of the industrial age is this impressive tram causeway over the Taff Valley.|
But we still hadn't received the text of what the apartment address was for that summer. They use the same landlord, but are assigned different houses each year. While we waited for the text to come, and being only 25 miles or so from Cardiff, we decided to do more exploring around the Blorenge.
We arrived at the Blaenavon Work Heritage Site, commemorating the Welsh Industrial Age, in the midst of a Steam-Punk festival.
|Blaenavon Steam-Punk. Weird, but entertaining.|
|Structures of the iron works dating back to the turn of the 18th to 19th Centuries.|
The furnaces had complex air ducts and systems to blow the fires hot enough for the chemical reactions to refine iron and then steel by further tempering with the right heat and mixes of the raw materials. The dross was burned away into acrid, poisonous gases through the smoke stacks and the more solid slag was hauled off. The hot, molten mixture had to be stirred. That was the duty of the Puddler, the profession of some of my ancestors.
|Multimedia presentation of a puddler's work|
The impressive structure at Blaenavon is the multi-storied balance tower. It was used to lift the pig iron up to the top of the mountain where it could be transported down a tram road to the Garnddyrys Forge for further refining and molding. It worked on simple physics. There were two containers for water, also readily abundant from a reservoir on top of the Blorenge. above the water containers were bins for the pig iron. When a tank of water was filled at the top, it would drop and pull the other empty water container and full bin of iron on a pulley system up to the top where the pig iron could be unloaded onto a tram and then the water drained from the container now at the bottom while that bin was filled with iron and the container at the top with water as they kept the "balance" going up and down, over and over again.
|The amazingly simple yet impressive balance tower at Blaenavon.|
There was a superstructure on top for the pulley system.
|A worker's kitchen from the 1840s.|
|A worker's bedroom from the 1840s. OK, maybe a married couple would have a simple bed. But if you were a child or a lodger, enjoy the floor mat (and the bugs, etc.) Our student accommodations were much better.|
We drove over the Blorenge and explored on the way down.
|The Top of the Blorenge and county line. Ysgyryd Fawr, the Holy Mountain, in the distance.|
It is of interest to us, because the censuses containing our family in the area from 1841-1861 indicate that some of them were "puddlers at the forge." Living in Llanfoist, it was possible to walk to work halfway up the mountain at Garndyrrys. It was the closest forge to Llanfoist and the farthest east in industrialized Valleys of South Wales.
|The "Monster" slag heap at Garnddyrys Forge site.|
|The Monster at Garnddyrys looking over Clydach Gorge.|
|Roman artifacts found in Abergavenny and environs.|
|On the street where we lived.|
Continue to Day Four