DOWLAIS BY THE SEA
This brick was found at Splott beach. I took it back to the studio and used photo image transfer to create this piece of work. The image depicts a photograph of the industry which, to great extent has formed this beach, The East Moors Steelworks. Formally known as 'Dowlais By The Sea', 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 cargo ships travelled from far and wide to Cardiff Docks for Coal, Iron and Steel. These ships needed ballast to counterbalance the weight of the cargo. Bricks and rocks were prime examples of ship's ballast. The ballast would have been offloaded into the Sea before loading the coal at Cardiff Docks. This is another reason why so many bricks are to be found at Cardiff's shore.
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.
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. It's important we do not forget, cover up and hide these issues. Instead, we must learn from them.
Image Source: Archive image of East Moors Steelworks 1890's, archive image from Roath, Splott and Adamsdown. Jeff Childs.