Brunel: Gweithiau yng nghymru - works in Wales

The Brunel – Works in Wales (Gweithhiau yng Nghymru) exhibition is currently on show at Melin Tregwynt woollen mill as part of the local connection to Abermawr and marking the historical significance of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable

L to R; Professor John Tucker, Swansea University; Martin Roberts, Croesgoch Heritage Group; Paul Wilson, Member of IET; Chairman, David Rowlands, ICE Wales Cymru; John Marsh, Member of IET.
L to R; Professor John Tucker, Swansea University; Martin Roberts, Croesgoch Heritage Group; Paul Wilson, Member of IET; Chairman, David Rowlands, ICE Wales Cymru; John Marsh, Member of IET.

The former telegraph hut at Abermawr, now a holiday cottage, actually predates the successful laying of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable by some four years and if we go back some fifteen years before that to 1847 we find that Isambard Kingdom Brunel had chosen Abermawr as the western terminus and port for the South Wales Railway.

This was never carried out but the rural setting of the beach made it an ideal landing point for an underwater telegraph cable from Wexford, Ireland in 1862. The Brunel connection was also significant in the laying of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable as only one ship was big enough to carry all the cable needed – the Great Eastern.

The exhibition, produced by the National Waterfront Museum, was sponsored by the Institution of Civil Engineers and will be on show until the end of September. Situated in the Pembrokeshire National Park off the A487 Fishguard - St. David's road, Melin Tregwynt is a working woolen mill, housed in a traditional water-powered mill building on a 17th century site.

The large iron overshot waterwheel still turns, but the mill is no longer powered by water power. You can buy your own piece of Welsh modern and traditional design in the form of wool blankets, throws and cushions, furniture, accessories and clothing. Further information can be found at www.melintregwynt.co.uk

Stephen K. Jones, Institution of Civil Engineers panel member for Historical Engineering Works said:

"Entrance to the exhibition and is free, and the mill is open all year round, where you can see the mill working from 9.00am – 4.30pm Mon-Friday. The mill also stocks books relating to the subjects such as Brunel, including Brunel in South Wales which I authored."

He added "Abermawr is a fascinating survivor, it was connected by a second Irish cable in 1880 and by 1922 some 25 telegraph cables would be laid across the Atlantic – but in that same year a storm would wash away the cable's shore ends at Abermawr leading to the closure of the telegraph hut which survives today as a holiday cottage with a unique history."

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