The Quays-Briton Ferry 2016

Members meet at the club on Tuesday 2nd August and leave for The Quays in Briton Ferry at 6.30pm.

River Neath

Blast Engine House Briton Ferry Steel Works

The Industrial Revolution brought factories such as the Albion Steel Works, the English Crown Spelter Works and the Baglan Bay Tinplate Works to Briton Ferry. These were built on land close to the River Neath and the new South Wales Railway, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

In the 1850s the Briton Ferry Floating Dock Company was incorporated, and bought land from the Earl of Jersey to build the Briton Ferry Docks. When it opened in 1861, the dock consisted of an outer tidal basin, and an inner floating dock, where the water level was maintained by a single gate, which included a buoyancy chamber. It covered an area of 23.7 acres. The gate was 56 feet wide, and the unique structure with its floating caisson was designed by Brunel’s father, Sir Marc Brunel.

Following Brunel’s death in 1859, Robert Brereton took over as engineer, and also acted as engineer for improvements made in 1872 and 1873. The company later went bankrupt and the Great Western Railway took over the docks as a going concern.

The industrial revolution brought much expansion to Briton Ferry that included iron and steel works, tinplate production and engineering. In 1951 as industry began to dwindle, portions of the estate were sold off. Although in some areas, production continued until the 1970s.

The Wern Steel Works

One of the few industrial buildings still remaining in this area, is known locally as the ‘Wern steel works’. It began life as ‘High Duty Alloys’ in the late 1940s and early 1950s. One of its claims to fame, was that exhaust parts for the Concorde aeroplane were made there. In recent years and after being used by several other companies, the premises were purchased by a local businessman with a view to future redevelopment.