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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Surveying Pont Ceunant Generating Station

Suveying Pont Ceunant Generating Station near Aberystwyth in North Ceredigion NPRN 407230.
 Over the last few days, Royal Commission archaeologists Louise Barker and Abby Hunt have been surveying the remains of the Pont Ceunant Generating Station, near Aberystwyth in North Ceredigion (NPRN 407230). This power station was one of the first to be built in Wales, and was commissioned in 1899 by Belgium firm  La Société Anonyme la Métallurgique of Liege to supply constant power to Frongoch mine (c1km to the east), one of the largest and most productive mines in the area, and one that that had been newly equipped with electrically driven plant.  A complex system of lakes and leats supplied water to the power station which housed a Pelton wheel that drove a 2,300 volt AEG alternator. A 360 horsepower Willans and Robinson six-cylinder steam engine and a Babcock and Wilcox boiler were also installed to power the alternator during times of drought and frost.

The cathedral-like shell of the power house is all that survives of this once state-of-the-art ornate building.  It was designed and built by a young Italian engineer Bernardino Nogaro (who later in life became the head of the Vatican Bank) at a cost of £11,400.  Unfortunately soon after construction, Frongoch mine failed to run at profit and subsequently the power station fell into disuse just two years later, with the equipment sold at auction.

The roofless shell of the Generating Station in 2012
 The survey was carried out as part of the Royal Commissions Metal Links Project as well as falling within our Heritage at Risk recording work and strategy.

The power station is located at SN7063 374320 adjacent to the road between Abermagwr and Pontrhydygroes, some 8 miles south-east of Aberystwyth.  There is an information panel at the site, and further information on the valuable work carried out here by the Welsh Mines Preservation Trust  can be found here.

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