Kidwelly Industrial Museum
Kidwelly Industrial Museum is closed for essential works. We know that many people are disappointed that they have been unable to visit. But the improvements are necessary to protect this internationally important heritage and secure its future. The local community is passionate about the museum and we want to thank everyone for their patience.
The museum preserves what was one of Britain's first tinplate works and is now the oldest tinplate works to be found anywhere in Europe. Because it survives, the old works has a special place in the story of Britain's Industrial Revolution. Nearly half of the world’s tinplate was manufactured in Wales in the 19th century, much of it in Carmarthenshire.
Tinplate was the plastic of its day and used for a large range of ordinary products. These included children’s toys, baths, food containers and kitchenware. Llanelli-made pots and pans supplied Captain Robert Falcon Scott's final, fatal expedition to the Antarctic in 1910 -1912.
Tinplate manufacture started at Kidwelly in 1737 on the site of an earlier iron forge and continued until 1941. From small beginnings the works expanded through the 19th century to become the largest employer in the Kidwelly area. In 1881 there were 252 men and boys and 35 women working there, many of them born locally. But the industry's expansion also attracted new people and led to the growth of the town.
The museum interprets the packmill process, where bars of wrought iron were brought by train and then transformed by steam, heavy machinery, heat and chemical processes into tinned sheets. Heavy boxes of sheets were transported to stamping works where they were pressed into products, many of which were then enamelled. British tinplate goods were exported world-wide.
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