National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Blast Engine House Project


Type Street Furniture

     The gates represents an oak tree and the railings are surmounted by different metal shapes, from insects to glasses.The artist, Jon Mills, took his metal cutting equipment to the school and each pupil worked with him to cut out a metal shape. They were asked to consider the history of the site and imagine what an archaeological dig on the site would uncover. Their metal shapes are supposed to depict the imaginary findings and have been incorporated into the railings. Everyone also had the chance to make an oak leaf which was added to the gate in the shape of an ancient tree.
     The nature park is on the site of Dowlais House, home of the ironmasters, Sir John T. Guest and George T. Clark. In 1987 Merthyr Tydfil Borough Council and Groundwork Trust decided to develop the site as a community nature park. The park, known to local children as the 'Frog Pond' encompasses Gwernllwyn Junior School's nature study area at the old Blast Engine House. In 1996 to 1997 new seating was installed and a new pathway laid. A new fence and gate was commissioned from Jon Mills who spent the summer term of 1997 as artist-in-residence at Gwernllwyn Junior School. The school children produced designs for sheet metal shapes to be incorporated in the fence, based on the heritage and environment of the area. In an important part of the residency, Jon gave demonstrations of the metalworking techniques used in the final construction of the railings.The school, the sponsors and the artist were linked by a project called Greenlink which is itself sponsored by Esso UK Plc.


Two plaques set within railings with inscriptions in Welsh and English stating that the 'found objects' in the railings were made by children from Gwernllwyn Junior School

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Mills, Jon Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Gates Metal and thin sheet steel 250cm high x 235cm wide

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
MT002 AH
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • No damage
Structural condition
  • Other
  • Surface damage
Road A4102
Precise location Entrance to the 'Frog Pond' Community Nature Park
A-Z ref None
OS ref SO072078
Date of design 1997
Year of unveiling 1997
Unveiling details 1997
Commissioned by Groundwork Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taff with funding from the Arts Council of Wales, the European Regional Development Fund and O.P. Chocolates
Duty of care Partnership between Gwernllwyn Junior School, O.P. Chocolates (who lease the land) and Groundwork Merthyr
Listing status Not listed
At risk? No known risk

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