DESIGNED by leading architects George Adlam and Sons of Bristol, this five-story, very decorative building was built in 1900 for Charles Westlake’s fledgling brewery.

The building was very flamboyant and was acclaimed at the time by The Brewer’s Journal as “the plant will be of the most modern description both scientifically and practically.”

The building is Grade II listed by Cadw due to its rarity with this grand, Victorian design.

By 1907 Westlake’s Brewery had a chain of public houses in the Valley and in 1911 took over the Castle Brewery, based at The Old Bath Beer House in Pontypool. However, the building’s life as a brewery only lasted another 20 years.

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(Westlake’s Brewery in Cwmavon. Picture: Torfaen Museum.)

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the building was used by the Subsistence Production Society, which ran a re-training and basic skills and subsistence schemes for the unemployed – with allotments, weaving machine workshops, furniture and joinery workshops, a bakery and a butchery shop. Voluntary workers were paid by tokens or with food ‘in kind’.

Since WWII the building has been used by various firms including Dunlop, Everwear and most recently, a recycling company.

Sadly, the building was gutted by fire in 2012 and has yet to be refurbished.

Nostalgia is provided by Torfaen Museum.