© rhiannon rees williamson. 

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DOWLAIS BY THE SEA

A brick, found at Splott beach and on its return it shares a part of local history. Perhaps the reason why the brick found its way to Cardiff East, and its seashore. The image depicts a photograph of the industry which, to great extent has formed this beach, The East Moors Steelworks, formally was known as 'Dowlais By The Sea', was named after the Dowlais Iron Works, which was the first industrialised metals manufacturer in Wales. The decision to extend to the sea side was made in 1890, shortly after the Roath Docks were built. This put the steelworks in prime position to transport steel overseas. 

 

The brick, Staffordshire Blue, a high fired ceramic, hard wearing, strong and highly fire resistant. For these very reasons, this kind of brick would have been used in an industrial building. Whether the brick was a part of the infrastructure at the East Moors Steelworks is unknown, but the industrialisation of the area gave reason for it to travel there.

 

The ships travelled to and from Cardiff Docks for Coal, Iron and Steel, however the ships needed ballast to counterbalance the weight of the cargo. Bricks and rocks were prime examples of ship's ballast. These would have been offloaded on Cardiff's shores. Another reason to why this brick has found its way to the shore.

For me, it is important to see how our cities run and what impact that has on the environment. I want people to see the impact of the carbon industry on the local landscape, and what this means for the wider world, that followed in the industrial revolution till now.  It's important we do not forget, cover up and hide these issues. Instead, we must face them. 

Image Source: Archive image of East Moors Steelworks 1890's, archive image from Roath, Splott and Adamsdown. Jeff Childs.

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