- -1878 / (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
0.0463 cubic metres (29 boxes, 25 volumes)
Name of creator
From their beginning, the coal-fired ironworks of northern Glamorgan and Monmouthshire were big enterprises. The Cyfarthfa ironworks, northwest of Merthyr Tydfil was established in 1765 by Anthony Bacon and William Browning and Watkin George. Richard Crawshay (1739-1810) leased the works from Bacon's family in 1786. He had much knowledge and experience of the British iron business. In 1794, he became the works owner. By the end of 1780, Cyfarthfa was producing over 2,000 tonnes of bar iron annually. The railway boom helped profitability after 1820. By 1840 there were eleven blast furnaces, one hundred puddling furnaces and six rolling mills. The works developed a reputation for good quality naval cannon; Admiral Nelson visited the works in 1802. In 1803, 1500 people were employed at the Cyfarthfa Ironworks, and it was said that it was the biggest ironworks in the world. After 1810, following the death of his brother Richard, William Crawshay managed the works with his son William II, whose son, Robert Thomson Crawshay, took over in 1847. In addition to the Cyfarthfa Works, the Crawshay bought Hirwaun Ironworks (operated 1817-1850s) and the Forest Iron Company. On Robert's his death in 1879, the Cyfarthfa works was converted to a steel production plant by his son, William Thompson Crawshay. Cyfarthfa closed in 1921; dismantling commenced in 1928. The fanmily's main seat was Cyfarthfa Castle, but it also bought estates at Hilston Park, Monmouthshire, and Caversham Park.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Deposited by Captain Geoffrey Crawshay, 1958
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Records relating mainly to the industrial concerns of the Crawshay family of Cyfarthfa, Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, -1878, including leters and letter books of William Crawshay I and II and Robert Crawshay, 1806-1877; cash books, ledgers and bankers drafts, 1834-1888; deeds, -1885; wills, deeds and miscellaneous material, 1801-1838; balance sheets for ironworks, 1810-1867; will, valuation and probate for William Crawshay II, 1865-1869; shares and bills of exchange, 1870-1878; and Hilston Park estate papers, 1838-1862 and Caversham Park estate papers, 1826-1864. The archive represents the working papers of a major ironworking dynasty.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
Action: All records have been retained.
Accruals are not expected.
System of arrangement
Arranged into the following: letters; Cyfarthfa deeds; various subjects; the will of William Vaughan; balance papers; finance papers; and manuscripts.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.
Conditions governing reproduction
Usual copyright regulations apply.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales.
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Title supplied from contents of fonds
Virtua system control number
Subject access points
- Iron industry and trade -- Wales -- Merthyr Tydfil.
- Railroads -- Wales
- Railroad companies -- India.
- Industries -- Wales -- Glamorgan.
- Iron industry and trade -- Wales -- Glamorgan.
- Deeds -- Wales -- Merthyr Tydfil.
- Transportation -- Wales.
- Railroad companies -- United States.
- Industrial Revolution -- Wales -- Merthyr Tydfil.
- Account books -- Wales -- Merthyr Tydfil.
- Business records -- Wales -- Merthyr Tydfil.
- Merthyr Tydfil (Wales)
- Cyfarthfa (Wales)
- Dean, Forest of (England : Forest)
- Merthyr Tydfil (Wales) -- History
Name access points
- Crawshay, Robert Thompson, 1817-1879 (Subject)
- Crawshay, William. (Subject)
- Crawshay family, of Cyfarthfa. (Subject)
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.;AACR2; and LCSH
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
Compiled by Annette Strauch for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW, Cyfarthfa Papers, vols. I & II, Davies, John, Hanes Cymru (London, 1990), Thomas, Iris Roderick, Cyfarthfa and the Crawshays (Merthyr Tydfil, 1999); Swansea History website (www.swanseahistoryweb.org.uk), viewed 17 January 2003.