Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
  Linking up canal, mine and ironworks  

A horse hitched to small trucks or trams running on iron rails could pull much more weight than a horse pulling a cart over bumpy ground. From this simple fact the tramroads, and later the railways, developed.
(For more background information on tramroads visit the Transport topic section)

As iron smelting grew in the Swansea valley, a way was needed to bring the raw materials to the ironworks. Coal, iron ore and limestone were all available in the area. The rough limestone had to be heated in limekilns to turn into the powdered form known as lime.
Tramway drawing
  Map of Cribarth tramway

Tramways were built to move these materials at the end of the 18th century, and once the Swansea Canal was built the tramroads connected with it. Iron, coal and lime could be taken to the canal and sent in barges to Swansea docks. These tramroads played an important part in the Victorian transport systems of the area.

The Ordnance Survey map of 1837 above shows the tramway which was built to bring the limestone from the workings on Cribarth down into the valley where there were limekilns, a small ironworks (marked 'furnace' on the bottom left hand corner of the map), and the end of the canal.

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