Blast Engine House


Giclee printed on 305gsm off white coloured archival paper with a subtle texture. A4 297mm x 210mm, A5 148 x 210mm.

SKU: BFE Category:


Late one night in December many years ago, I recall being awoken by a large commotion over the road from my house. Peeping out between the curtains of my first floor bedroom window (I have been told I peep rather well), I saw a large crowd gathered beneath the old engine house as men threw an assortment of toys through the large upper floor windows. I later found out it was a warehouse that had gone bust. I am not sure what the Guest Keen Iron works would have thought about this ignominious use in the late 80s having originally been a blowing engine house constructed in 1905-7 to provide blast for the new blast furnace plant at the Dowlais works.

Affectionately known as the Wendy House by my father when it was used a warehouse for the nearby OP Chocolate factory where he worked, it is essentially a decorated shed. Albeit a shed given architectural flamboyance and civic grandeur generally reserved for public buildings. It is colossal in size, being 54m long and 15m high predominantly in red brick, resting on a rubble stone plinth and punctuated by large arched metal framed windows with decorative yellow dressings.

I have always found the cast iron portico on the North West side strange with two squat columns perched on a flat roof supporting nothing…..

At the moment it is looking a bit sorry for itself but at least it is full of life; being currently home to a youth centre.