National Recording Project

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

Richard Trevithick Memorial

Summary

Type Sculpture

     A square stone block with inscriptions on the front and rear faces is set on a rough stone stepped plinth. It incorporates sleeper stones and rails of the old tramroad on a base of paving stones within a railed enclosure. The monument was unveiled in 1934. On top of the monument is a bronze model of Trevithick's engine. Also within the railed enclosure is a millstone bearing a bronze relief portrait of Trevithick, the name of the sculptor and funding information. (Jo Darke's note about this memorial mentions concrete and gravel chips but these have been removed, presumably when the new sculpture was put in place.)
     A statue of Richard Trevithick had been commissioned by Lord Rhondda from L.S. Merrifield but the outbreak of the Great War and Lord Rhondda's death in 1918 caused the project to be shelved. The present monument was erected by the people of Merthyr Tydfil with the help of the Trevithick Centenary Commemoration Fund, to mark Trevithick's centenary in 1933. Photographs of the monument after its unveiling suggest that it was considered complete at the time. In 1992 Howard Bowcott was commissioned by Mid Glamorgan County Council to produce a bronze model of Trevithick's steam engine as part of its work to enhance the local environment. The new work was funded by Mid Glamorgan County Council.
     The memorial is sited at the entrance to the Penydarren Ironworks where the first steam engine was designed by Trevithick and it was from outside the works that the engine made its way to Abercynon hauling ten tons of iron and five waggons containing seventy men.

Inscriptions

Incised on front face of plinth and painted black: RICHARD TREVITHICK / 1771-1833 / PIONEER / OF / HIGH PRESSURE STEAM / BUILT THE FIRST STEAM LOCO- / MOTIVE TO RUN ON RAILS. ON / FEBRUARY 21ST 1804 IT TRAVERSED / THE SPOT ON WHICH THIS MONUMENT / STANDS ON ITS WAY TO ABERCYNON Incised on rear face of plinth: THIS MEMORIAL BUILT OF CHAIR- / STONES AND RAILS RECOVERED FROM / THE OLD PENYDARREN TRAMROAD / WAS ERECTED BY THE PEOPLE OF / MERTHYR TYDFIL WITH THE HELP / OF THE TREVITHICK CENTENARY / COMMEMORATION FUND. OCTOBER 1933.

Related works : There is a further memorial to Trevithick at Abercynon, see RCT022.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Bowcott, Howard Sculptor
Williams, I.S. Designer

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Plinth Stone 225cm high approx
Engine Bronze 91cm wide approx

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
MT008 AH
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Biological growth
  • Abrasions, cracks, splits
Structural condition
  • None
Vandalism
  • Graffiti
Road Penyard Road
Precise location In railed enclosure at junctin with Penydarren Road
A-Z ref None
OS ref SO053068
Date of design 1) 1933 2) 1992-93
Year of unveiling 1934/1993
Unveiling details 1934/1993
Commissioned by 1) Trevithick Cenenary Commemoration Fund 2) Mid Glamorgan County Council
Duty of care None
Listing status Not listed
At risk? No known risk

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