DUE to the high levels of industrial works in the eastern Valley, the demand for bricks from the end of the 1700s through to the mid-twentieth century was enormous.

Bricks were needed to build the mills, ironworks, factory and colliery buildings, canals and later railway buildings as well as the housing for the influx of workers from all over Britain and Eastern Europe who came to work within the industries.

High grade fireclay, which is used to make the most robust bricks, is found in geological areas where coal is found. So, the Torfaen Valley was rich in this resource too.

Although hard and heavy work, the industry of brick making was traditionally ‘women’s work’.

This photograph is of the women workers, with their male supervisors, in the Upper Brickworks in Blaenavon.

This works was established by the Blaenavon Iron Company in the late 1780s on the hill above the Ironworks, for a constant supply of bricks to line the furnaces.

This brickworks, along with many in the Valley, was disused after World War II and were demolished in the 1960s.

The area of the old brickworks is now scheduled by CADW.

Nostalgia is provided by Torfaen Museum.