Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Llanwrtyd and district
Earning a living
  Woollen mills  

The area of Powys which produced most woollen cloth in Victorian times was Montgomeryshire. In Newtown, Llanidloes and Welshpool wool mills produced huge quantities of cloth which was sent to the towns of England by good canal - and later railway - links.
By comparison North Breconshire was remote and mountainous with a small population. Nevertheless there were sheep on the mountain pastures and local people were keen to make what they could from the fleeces.

  As well as the weavers working at looms in their own homes there were ater powered wollen mills in the Llanwrtyd area. These were:-
The Cambrian mill, North of Llanwrtyd Wells
Tynewydd mill on the river Annell near Llangammarch
Esgairmoel mill on the river Cledan to the S.E. of Llanwrtyd Wells.
Dolaeron wool factory on the Camarch at Beulah
  In this sparcely populated area the mill owners had to be flexible. Sometimes the farmers asked the mill to turn their fleeces into cloth and would give the mill some of the fleeces as payment. Sometimes the mill would buy fleeces from local farmers and turn them into cloth which they would then sell. The mill at Esgairmoel (right) did this selling flannel and blankets at its stall in Builth market.

The Esgair Moel factory had water-powered spinning, carding and weaving machines and dye vats too. Although it was a small building the whole process of turning rough fleeces into fine woollen cloth could be done there.

The coming of the railways to the area brought many benefits, but it also brought cheaper goods from outside and small mills like Esgairmoel eventually went out of business. Esgairmoel was moved to St Fagan's museum and can be seen working there today.


Back to Earning a Living menu

Link to sources
Back to top
Go to Llanwrtyd menu