Site of Cwmbrân gasworks
East of the canal here were a railway track and beyond it a gasworks. Gas was widely used for lighting in towns in Victorian times. Coal was delivered by train to local gasworks, where it was heated in a special type of furnace to produce flammable gas. The gas was purified before being pumped through the local network of gas pipes.
The Cwmbran & Pontnewydd Gas Company was formed in 1876 and secured “an excellent site for their works”. Shareholders expected good dividends because the neighbourhood was large and increasing.
The aerial photo, courtesy of the Welsh Government, shows the large gasholder at the works in 1947. The holder had a tall circular steel frame. Inside the frame was a tank with telescopic sections which would rise as more gas was pumped in, and fall as gas was used. The large gasholder was built in the 20th century, immediately west of the original gasworks (which had a smaller holder).
The railway track was a branch from the Monmouthshire Railway’s Eastern Valleys line which led to various industrial sites in Upper Cwmbrân, including Cwmbrân Colliery. It also served the Guest, Keen & Nettlefold iron foundry (where Springvale Industrial Estate is now).
Immediately upstream of the railway bridge the canal entered the first in a flight of four locks. The lock gates are visible in the aerial photo.
Postcode: NP44 3EW View Location Map