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Felinfoel Brewery

A Grade II* Listed Building in Llanelli Rural, Carmarthenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6976 / 51°41'51"N

Longitude: -4.1464 / 4°8'46"W

OS Eastings: 251760

OS Northings: 202052

OS Grid: SN517020

Mapcode National: GBR GT.90DS

Mapcode Global: VH4JT.2LVH

Entry Name: Felinfoel Brewery

Listing Date: 16 October 1998

Last Amended: 16 October 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 20532

Building Class: Industrial

Location: Prominently sited at E side of the A 476 in Felinfoel, Llanelli. Brewery yard to south and to rear. Office building to south.

County: Carmarthenshire

Town: Llanelli

Community: Llanelli Rural

Locality: Felinfoel

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

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History

David John commenced brewing at Felinfoel in the mid C19, in premises named the Union Inn on the W side of the road. His house and garden were on the E side of the road, behind the River Lliedi.

In the rapid growth of Llanelli and the South Wales towns generally in the mid C19, there was sufficient market for production on a large scale and for industrialised buildings using the advantage of gravity to economise on labour, and Felinfoel is a fine example of this stage of production. It was common in breweries for the wort to be pumped to the top of the building for maximum ventilation, following the initial stages of grinding and stirring in the mash tuns, descent by gravity to the underback, boiling with hops and straining. The large extent of louvred openings required for ventilation was characteristic. After sufficient cooling it then descended again by gravity to fermentation and storage.

The first building of the gravity brewery was erected on the strip of land between the road and the river, opposite to the old brewery, and was then enlarged to the south and rear. This new brewery was built and enlarged in four main phases of construction. The first two have top storeys with prominent ventilators (now sealed). The phases of construction are (a): the original brewery building of unknown date, consisting of four storeys, at the NW corner of the site; (b): a building added to the S of (a), partly of five storeys and partly of two storeys and a basement, the S face of which carries the date 1878; (c): the tallest building of the group, added at the E of (b); and (d) later additions and infill, including a low range at the rear and a loading bay facing the yard. Although evidently of different dates, the buildings of the group are likely to be within a short time span. In one of the later phases the river was culverted.

The firm has remained a family concern in the related John and Lewis families to the present day.

Exterior

The buildings now constitute a picturesque and historically interesting roadside group with two taller hip-roofed parts linked by a lower mid section. They are also a good survival of buildings in the functional tradition illustrating the necessary features of economical industrialised brewing: height and ventilation.

Local sandstone is used throughout with ashlar quoins and yellow brick dressings to openings. The roofs are all of slate with tile ridges and hips. The detailing was set by the first block (a), and is followed in simplified form in the later additions. Block (a) has rock-faced stonework irregularly coursed and two string courses of yellow bricks. There are large ventilators (now closed) to the top storey with brick dressings to the jambs and stone sills, four to the front and rear and three in the N end-elevation. The windows in the storeys beneath have semicircular or three-centred arch heads consisting of three rings of brickwork, and stone sills. Where not boarded or walled up, the windows have frames of mullion and transom type. Those walled up may have been ventilators.

The later blocks of the group have randomly coursed axe-dressed masonry. Block (b) also has closed ventilators at the top, and round headed windows with some replaced frames, original windows to W; the arches are semicircular and have stone keys and springers. The bottom opening of the taller part is a boarded loading-bay door. In block (c) the quoins are less regular and the window heads have cambered flat arches. There is a white-coloured hoist shaft against the S face. In block (d) the openings are walled up, four round headed arches beneath a cambered arched opening at the apex of the gable. There are prominent name boards of the Brewery, the main one being on the low middle section overlooking the road.

Interior

Timber construction with supporting iron columns. Said to be good gallery balustrades. Excise regulations prevented full inspection.

Reasons for Listing

Listed II* for integrity of survival as a mid-Victorian brewery on the industrialised gravity principle with features indicative of the essentials of the process. A rare surviving example of a once important industry in Wales.

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