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What Does This Source Tell Us About The Nature Of The Iron Industry In Merthyr At This Time? (Sorry Source Unavailable In Electronic Form)

992 words - 4 pages

This document is a journal of the tour of J H Manners through North and South Wales and was written around the year 1805.He was an English aristocrat who was the youngest son of the Duke of Rutland.Many young men of his age and class would have gone touring in Europe at this time, but due to the wars in France between 1793 and 1815, it made it more advisable to take a tour of Britain instead.The journal was probably initially written as a personal diary of his travels and experiences which were then later turned into a book.His writing of this particular visit gives the reader an insight into a world that few in a rural location could have imagined. It would be an alien world to them, conjuring images in their heads of voluminous smoke, fiery furnaces and of thumping and hammering machinery that would be as familiar to them as an iron, fire breathing dragon.Manners writes in an educated manner, showing through use of his words e.g. Vulcan, a Roman word, that he had been given an education in the classics.Although his writing shows highborn learning, his style and language are of a type that even the common person will understand.His writing is peppered with strong words that jump out of the page at you, such as dazzle, hammering, Vulcans, grandeur and thundering.He writes in this piece about his visit to Merthyr Tydfil and specifically his visit to the iron forges, of which the town had three of at this time.There is a feeling of darkness within the writing, lit up with the burst of fire in places.He speaks of grimly figures and gloomy visages, of light and shadow, of thundering noises.We are given the feeling that we have been allowed to stare in safety at Dante's inferno, to witness the pain, the noise, the dirt and smoke, whilst Satan's little helpers, with flames licking all about them, hammer and roll the iron, with a noise so loud it would have been deafening.Manners alludes to this feeling in a line from his writing that says "I never saw anything that gave me more the idea of the infernal regions...."He talks of numbers of Vulcans dragging about pigs of iron, just taken from the furnaces, as if these men were the gods of fire and metalworking, taking their next meal from the flames to be devoured by the hammer monster.Vulcan was a blacksmith of the Gods and the underworld. It was said that if he stoked his furnace to hot, the volcanoes might erupt. He was also the God of blacksmiths and volcanoesThere is also an impression of intensely quick working methods, with a reference to workers as "running in all directions", some of them were hammering and some of them were rolling the iron.However, Manners appears to have been impressed with what he saw as he talks about to the grandeur of the scene. As a young man from an aristocratic family it is...

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