Mr John Ward Williams – Warwill’s Foundry

Mr John Ward Williams.
Mr John Ward Williams was the founder of the Iron Foundry at Abertillery. Mr J. Ward Williams was born in 1830 at Aberystruth. His father was Mr Crawshay Bailey’s manager at the Iron Works, Nantyglo. There is a Mr Ward Williams residing in Nantyglo on the 1854 Electoral Register.

The Abertillery Iron Foundry.
It’s believed that Mr John Ward Williams came to Abertillery in 1874 and opened the iron foundry in the valley behind Church Street (as seen on the map above).  He appeared on the 1881 census as living with his wife Mrs Jane Ward Williams and their son Mr Henry Ward Williams in Church Street, Abertillery and employing five men at his foundry.

His wife Jane was from Swansea. His son Henry was born in Aberystruth in 1863.

Mr John Ward Williams was the pioneer in the setting up of the Starr-Bowkettry Society in Abertillery, the chairman of the society was Mr Joseph Wallace. Mr John Ward Williams was a leading figure on the Abertillery Chamber of Trade and helped in the setting up of the Abertillery Lawn Tennis Courts and organisation in Abertillery in 1890.

The Death of Mr John Ward Williams.
On Friday 7th of April 1893, Mr John Ward Williams sadly passed away from pneumonia at his residence at Brynteg, Blaenau Gwent, Abertillery. The business was handed to his son Mr Henry Ward Williams who then took over the Iron Foundry business from his late father.

Mr Henry Ward Williams.
As stated after the death of the founder of the iron business Mr John Ward Williams, his son Mr Henry Ward Williams took complete control of the foundry. During this time the business was re-named Warwills, the name being a combined version of the first parts of their surname (War) as in Ward and (Will) as in Williams.

In 1925 the Warwill Iron Foundry closed.

Mr J. H. Cole.
In 1926 the iron foundry was owned by Mr J. H. Cole, though was still known as Warwills. 

In 1959 the foundry employed 70 people and expanded down to the now derelict tin works site at Station Road. The foundry behind Church St became its engineering dept while the old win works site now Warwills was used to make its castings.

Abertillery Holdings.
In 1987 the Warwill Foundry was owned by Abertillery Holdings.
A new building was erected at the Station Road site to house their engineering dept.

Later, land to the south of the Station Road site was sold to the Low-Cost Supermarket chain. The Warwill’s Church St Foundry, was sold.

In 1989 Abertillery Holdings moved its head office to Bristol.

Sycamore Holdings.
In 1991 the company was registered as Sycamore Holdings.

In about 1992 the Warwills Foundry was owned by Bawn Bros.

In 1997 the Bawn Bros moved all iron founding operations at their Abertillery Works to their foundry at Aberbeeg and incorporated with Blackwood Engineering. After this they sold the Abertillery site to the Tesco Supermarket chain. 

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