Retired Section Swansea Docks

 

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All the photos on this page are by the kind permission of Robert Hopkins
and are copied from the Geograph Website
 

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved] © Copyright vectorkraft and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
 

Tennant Canal (Wern Fawr Road)
 

This is a view of the Tennant Canal as seen from the eastern extremity of Wern Fawr Road. The canal led into Swansea Docks until the 1950s (albeit marked as disused on maps); official canal freight operations ceased as early as 1920.
 

The railway viaduct carried freight into Burrows Sidings until the late 1980s. There was a connection with the Marcroft Wagon Works just to the right of this position until the 1990s.
 

The condition of this canal (in 2011) improves as you travel towards Jersey Marine and Neath.
 

Tennant Canal (Fabian Way)
 

Today, this is the start of the Tennant Canal as seen from Fabian Way. Prior to the 1960s and the building of Fabian Way, the canal continued into Swansea Docks, although this navigation had been marked as disused since the 1920s.
 

Completed in 1824, the canal originally continued from this position in the photograph towards the eastern end of the Prince of Wales Dock - this being the original ‘Tennants Wharf’. A diversion was created c1905 to take the canal towards the newly built Kings Dock.
 

By 1920, all freight operations on the canal had ceased and the lock into the Kings Dock had been blocked off. Despite this, the basic canal remained in fairly good condition until the late 1930s. After this period, the canal became less navigable and is from this point marked as 'Tennant Canal (disused)' on maps. Substantial decay of the route followed.
 

By the 1950s the Kings Dock connection was filled in and by the 1960s the canal had receded as far as this position shown in the photograph above due to road construction.
 

The condition of this canal (in 2011) improves as you travel towards Jersey Marine and Neath.

 

Crymlyn Burrows pathway
 

Pathway created using building materials used in Pritchard's Crymlyn Burrows Chemical Works (closed in 1911). Some blocks appear to be 'slag blocks' produced in the metal works of Landore and Morfa. Nearby are Pritchard's Cottages. The 1917 OS Map shows this path leading to plot '579b 5.862'. The Tennant Canal is to the north of this site. 

 

Burrows Sidings
 

Burrows Sidings (latterly Swansea Burrows Freight Yard) was a large yard of railway sidings that used to serve Swansea Docks. This originally formed part of the Swansea (Kings Dock) - Cwmgwrach line built by the Vale of Neath Railway. At its height, as many as 20-25 lines ran parallel in this yard (according to OS Map of 1919).
 

Yard movements were controlled by Burrows Sidings Signal Box, the first being built in 1884, followed by a larger box built by the Great Western Railway in 1910. It controlled the running lines between Jersey Marine in the east and Swansea Eastern Coal Depot in the west. It also controlled movements towards the Swansea Docks complex where it passed trains to the control of Kings Dock Junction signal box located in the docks complex. The box was originally located just next to the red brick building in the left centre distance. Burrows Sidings signal box was demolished in 1990. The Kings Dock Junction box closed in 1987, dismantled shortly after.
 

By the 1970s the four dock branch lines had become two - eventually becoming one by the 1990s). An additional line parted westwards from this viewpoint to serve the former Aluminium Wire & Cable (AWCO) works until the late 1970s. Substantial decay of the yard and its facilities followed during the 1990s. Most of the lines have been removed, although some rusty wagons still remain further east.
 

Just in the right centre distance is the approach road from Fabian Way to the yard and its last remaining building. The yard was latterly operated by EWS
 

Burrows Sidings (Works Building)
 

Burrows Sidings (latterly Swansea Burrows Freight Yard) was a large yard of railway sidings that used to serve Swansea Docks. This originally formed part of the Swansea (Kings Dock) - Cwmgwrach line built by the Vale of Neath Railway. At its height, as many as 20-25 lines ran parallel in this yard (according to OS Map of 1919).
 

Yard movements were controlled by Burrows Sidings Signal Box, the first being built in 1884, followed by a larger box built by the Great Western Railway in 1910. It controlled the running lines between Jersey Marine in the east and Swansea Eastern Coal Depot in the west. It also controlled movements towards the Swansea Docks complex where it passed trains to the control of Kings Dock Junction signal box located in the docks complex. The Burrows Sidings box was located immediately west of this building (or just to the right of this shot)
 

Burrows Sidings signal box was demolished in 1990. Most of the sidings have been removed, although some rusty wagons still remain further east.
 

The approach road from Fabian Way to the yard is behind this building. The yard was latterly operated by EWS

 

Crymlyn Burrows Chemical Works building
 

One of the many buildings relating to the Crymlyn Burrows Chemical Works, opened by J. Pritchard and closed in 1911. This building is sited to the north of Pritchard's Cottages. The Tennant Canal is directly behind.

 

Pritchard's Cottages
 

Pritchard's Cottages were built for the workers of Crymlyn Burrows Chemical Works which was owned by J. Pritchard. The works under his ownership closed in December 1911 (reference: London Gazette). Originally, there were six cottages, although these fell into disrepair over time after the closure of the works. It is not known when the last tenant left, although it is thought to be sometime in the 1950s. Tennant Canal is nearby and the Swansea District railway line is just in front of these cottages.

 

Pritchard's Cottages
 

These two storey cottages were incredibly narrow but relatively long. The ceilings were rather low. The photograph shows the sixth cottage of the row (the remains of only 3 others still stand). The doorway on the left of the chimney stack measured about two feet across - this led to a kitchen area. Just to the right of the stack is a plain plaster area, possibly the back of a fireside cupboard.
 

Out of shot to the right is a trough, possibly for animals. The rear of the wall still has drainpipe clips. The west side of this building has a small kitchen window. There are no traces of any electrical cabling in these ruins. Each room was heated by coal fires via kinked chimney stacks.
 

Each cottage had a long back garden and a much smaller front yard. Unusually, the properties were not served by a road, but by a canal path (Tennant Canal) just to the north. Just to the right of the above subject is a sand pit.
 

A 1949 aerial view shows all cottages still standing. By the 1980s, the centre cottages had collapsed and by the late 1990s the row had succumbed to advanced decay.
 

Note :-

The canals faced competition from the Vale of Neath Railway after 1851, but remained profitable until the early 1880s, in the case of the Neath Canal, and the 1890s for the Tennant. An unusual aspect of the Tennant's success was that tolls were maintained, although tonnage dropped. Most canals at this time made significant cuts to tolls in an attempt to remain competitive with the railways. After 1883, the Neath Canal carried small amounts of silica and gunpowder, but traffic had virtually ceased by 1921. Navigation on the Neath Canal came to an end in 1934, and on the Tennant Canal soon afterwards. However, most of the infrastructure was maintained as the canals supplied water to local industries.
 

When the Glynneath bypass was built in the 1970s, the canal was culverted above Ysgwrfa lock, to allow the road to be straightened, and reduced in width beyond that, to allow the road to be widended. Above Pentremalwed lock, the road was built over the canal bed, and all traces have gone. This road was superseded by the A465(T) dual carriageway when it opened in 1996, and has become the B4242. The part which covered the final section of the canal is no longer a road, although the dual carriageway runs over the site of the Glynneath basin
 

At Port Tennant, the course of the canal has been covered over by railways, roads and other facilities of the port, but continues to supply water to the Prince of Wales dock through a large culvert, which helps to maintain water levels in the docks.The Tennant canal is still owned by the Coombe-Tennant family.

 

 

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