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Thomastown Brickworks

Merthyr Tydfil


John Jenkins was born in Merthyr Tydfil on 9th January 1838 and died 11th March 1889. He acquired the Thomas Town Brickworks in 1865.


John began work in the brickyard in Dynevor Street, Georgetown near the Three Horse Shoes. He then worked in the brickworks of N B Allen at Hirwaun. While here he negotiated with Mr Wild to purchase Thomas Town Brickworks.


William Wild is listed as a Brick maker. His son John Wild is listed in 1858 as a Brickmaker, Twyn-y-Rodyn.


A 99 year lease was granted on the site of Thomas Town Brickworks in 1848. The business was offered for sale as a Brick and Pipe Manufactory on 1st November 1865 and aged 27 John Jenkins purchased it.


When John Jenkins died, his wife Elizabeth ran the business. There were three sons Thomas Price, John Ernest & Gwilym Vaughan.


On 12th February 1898 The Merthyr Brick and Tile Company Ltd was formed. One reason shown for formation is in the Memorandum of Association:

To acquire from Mr Thomas Price Jenkins, of Merthyr Tydfil, all that Brickworks and Premises, known as “The Thomas Town Brickworks”, Merthyr Tydfil, and also the Coal and Clay Level situate near the same.


18th March 1904 a notice in the London Gazette stated that the company  “unless cause is shown to the contrary will be struck off”.


2nd November 1909 a Special Resolution issued and signed by Gwilym Vaughan Jenkins as Secretary, for the voluntary winding up of the Company. John Ernest Jenkins is the MD.


11th January 1910, Final Winding-up Meeting of Members held.


We believe that John Ernest Jenkins continued to run the business as the Merthyr Brickworks. He died of wounds on 25th November 1917 in France. We believe the business ceased completely at around 1920.

Nicholas C. Jenkins


Thomastown Brickworks - 1875

An extract from the 1875 'The Valley' O.S. Map - Click Here to Purchase.

This photograph shows the Thomastown Brickworks Chimney Stack (Top Right)


Fire at Mr. Jenkins' Motor Garage - Merthyr Express April 28th 1914.

(From the Merthyr Express)


Thomastown Brickyard workers. 1890.

The well dressed man, back row extreme left, is Possibly John Jenkins, owner of the brickworks from 1865.

(Photograph courtesy of the John Owen Collection)


Three Sons of John Jenkins (Owner of Thomastown Brickworks)

Left: Thomas Price Jenkins 1871-1941. He fought in the Boer War with Imperial Yeomanry as part of Lord Roberts Bodyguard & transferred to Kitchener's Scouts. He served in WW1 too. Thomas sold the Thomas Town Brickworks in 1898 to a specially formed company Merthyr Brick & Tile Co Ltd. The Jenkins family appear to have had a controlling interest in the shares.
Right: John Ernest Jenkins 1878-1917 who died of his wounds on 25th November 1917 in France at Battle of Cambrai. This was battle where tanks were used for the first time. He was Managing Director of the Merthyr Brick & Tile Co Ltd in 1910 when it was put into voluntary liquidation. It would appear he carried on the business. John Ernest is wearing arm band in memory of his daughter who had died aged 3.
Rear: Gwilym Vaughan Jenkins 1879-1958 who was an/the Engineer at the Merthyr Brick & Tile Co Ltd. It appears he spent most of WW1 on decoy ships. It can't have been much fun knowing you were a decoy to the enemy to be shot at!

(Photograph & Information Courtesy of Nicholas C. Jenkins)


John Ernest Jenkins Wounded

He ultimately died of his wounds in France on 25th November 1917.

(From the Merthyr Express. Courtesy of Nicholas C. Jenkins)



Nicholas Jenkins These photographs of the Denby Brickworks and the following comment.



"I would guess that there are two round kilns and one rectangular kiln at Thomastown. The round kilns would most likely have been identical to the ones at Denby I already sent a photo to you. As to the rectangular kiln there was one at Denby, as can be seen in the attached photo, but it had gone before I was born.


In the other photo I attach you will see a round kiln close up and the massive piles of coal. The firemen kept these open grate fires burning 24 hours with massive fires, the smoke and fumes being sucked into the kiln and out through the top. They were wonderful in winter and when dark I remember.


If the load in the kiln was to be salt glazed, as per the gully in the middle of your yard by your back door, then simple rock salt was thrown onto the burning fire. Nothing was painted onto the item before the plain grey clay item was loaded in the kiln.With a large orange blaze the vaporised salt was drawn into the kiln and coated the items within, inside and out.


The problem is that it produced poisonous fumes, a major component of which was chlorine. Salt glazing in this manner was banned in the 1960s"

Nigel Aspin Denby Brickworks




  Photographs of the Denby Works courtesy of Nigel Aspdin      



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