• BRIDGE END FOUNDRY

    by  • July 17, 2013 • Cardigan, Ceredigion, Modern, Period, Post-Medieval, Site Type • 0 Comments

    History:

    The foundry was established by 1844 by owner David Davies of Castle Green (Cardigan Castle), the proprietor in 1844-52. The railings and ironwork for Cardigan’s new Bethania Baptist Chapel were made here in 1846. By 1854 it had been leased by William & Timothy Thomas, formerly of Mwldan Foundry. In 1856 David Davies formally leased to them his “Chain and Anchor Works & Foundry”. David Davies was still listed as proprietor in “Slater’s” 1859 Directory. On 25th March 1859 Timothy and William Thomas took up a 21-year lease from the Castle Green estate. William & Timothy Thomas still operated the foundry in 1868. Confusingly, ‘Slater’s Directory’ refers to ‘Davies & Lowther’ as the iron founders. A son was born to the wife of Timothy Thomas on 31st December 1868. In 1869 the foundry made iron columns for the new Penybryn Baptist Chapel, Bridell. That year Timothy Thomas displayed two new patented portable grinding mills at Cardigan Agricultural Show. According to Donald Davies, Scott F. Kelly took over the Foundry in 1870.

    Poster for Bridge End Foundry, July 1872 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Poster for Bridge End Foundry, July 1872 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    On 31st December 1880 Timothy Thomas & Sons, were still the proprietors of the Foundry. On 16th October 1885 new offices and stores were being built here. In 1890 the foundry passed to William E. Matthews. Scott F. Kelly was the engineer here in 1891-94, but died on 11th June 1894, aged 42. He had diversified the foundry into traction engine repairs. William E. Matthews took over the foundry after this date. In January 1898 F. L. Sharpe was the manager. An advertisement survives from 1899 for “Bridge-End Foundry and Engineering Works”, billed as “formerly S. F. Kelly”. In 1901-36 the ‘Bridge End Foundry & Engineering Company’ was still run by W. E. Matthews. In April 1902 a coach-building department opened here. On 4th August 1902 William E. Matthews married Miss Gertrude Jenkins of Newport, Monmouthshire. By 26th July 1907 a new showroom here had replaced an old wooden shed.

    On 1st July 1910 William E. Matthews proposed the development of a telephone service for Cardigan. The foundry men went on strike on 23rd February 1917. In March 1919 William E. Matthews became sole proprietor having bought out Mrs. Laura Burge’s share. On 29th December 1922 W. E. Matthews intended to build a showroom on the corner of Priory Street and Morgan Street, Cardigan. On 6th February 1931 the 2-seater Morris S V car arrived here, for William E. Matthews. On 25th January 1936 there was a minor blaze here. In 1939 the foundry was requisitioned and remained so for the duration of hostilities.

    In 1945 the foundry re-opened and Major Gordon Matthews was the proprietor in 1945-60.  It was sold to Gravell’s of Kidwelly. The Foundry Company was still selling cars in 1977. It later passed to J. J. Morris. On 28th December 1979 the derelict Foundry was demolished.

    Description:

    None available

    Sources:

    Pigot’s Directory 1844; 1891

    Slater’s Directory 1850; 1868

    NLW MSS 5540-5542

    Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1869; 1875; 1880; 1893-94; 1898-99; 1901-13; 1915; 1917; 1919-25; 1931; 1936; 1956; 1960; 1977; 1979

    NLW Morgan Richardson MS 2373

    Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1895; 1914; 1926

    Programme – Cardigan Fatstock & Poultry Show 06/12/1899

    Letter-head, Bridge End Foundry, December 1919

    Maritime Heritage, J Geraint Jenkins 1982

    Cardigan County Agricultural Show, Islwyn & Betty Griffiths 2004.

    © Glen K Johnson 17/07/2013.

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