Penydarren ironworks was founded in 1784, by Samuel Homfray,
with the financial
assistance of a wealthy Londoner named George Forman.
It was here that
the first rail ever made in Wales was rolled, for the Liverpool and Manchester
railway which opened in 1830. Here too, the cable for the bridge spanning the
Menai Straits was made.
made a wager of £1,000 with Richard Crawshay that he would convey a load of iron
by steam power from his works to the Navigation, at Abercynon a distance. The
man chosen to complete this feat was Richard Trevithick, and with a great crowd
of onlookers assembled at Penydarren, on the 21st February 1804 to witness the
event. The locomotive travelling at five miles an hour, with a load of ten tons
of iron and 70 passengers reached its destination safely, thus winning the wager
for Homfray and world wide publicity for Penydarren.
lived for many years at Penydarren House but following his marriage to a
sister of Sir Charles Morgan of Tredegar Park, he left Penydarren for Tredegar,
Penydarren House was then occupied by Mr. William Forman who took over the
the last of the great ironworks to be built in Merthyr. It was
unfortunately the first to be closed in 1859.