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Outbuilding at Plas Farm

A Grade II Listed Building in Cilybebyll, Neath Port Talbot

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7213 / 51°43'16"N

Longitude: -3.8129 / 3°48'46"W

OS Eastings: 274866

OS Northings: 204069

OS Grid: SN748040

Mapcode National: GBR H2.2PMM

Mapcode Global: VH4JS.VZMS

Entry Name: Outbuilding at Plas Farm

Listing Date: 19 December 2017

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 87765

Building Class: Agriculture and Subsistence

Location: At Plas Farm, c100m south of Plas Cilybebyll. Approached via a drive and farm track from Cwm Nant-Llwyd Road. On the E side of the river Clydach, the farm is accessed via a concrete bridge.

County: Neath Port Talbot

Community: Cilybebyll

Community: Cilybebyll

Traditional County: Glamorgan

History

Farm building constructed on the Plas Cilybebyll estate c1891 using concrete as a walling material. During the C19 industrialisation and improved transport enabled the increasingly widespread use of new materials such as concrete, creosote and corrugated sheeting for farm buildings. They were cheaper to buy, simpler to use and did not require skilled labour for their use. Concrete was quickly harnessed for foundation work, dock construction, and on estates, particularly under the stewardship of improving landlords but generally its use for walling or as a construction material was limited.

Mass concrete had been used in 1870 for a barn on the Buscot Estate in Berkshire and articles on its use had started to be published from this date in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. In Wales the Gregynog Estate (Powys) under Henry Hanbury-Tracy was also building in mass concrete. Similar work was also underway during the 1870s at Dinas Mawddwy in Gwynedd. Concrete was also being used in South Wales in the same period; an advert from Oldfield Bros. of Bute Dock Cardiff, agents for the Economic Concrete Building Company of Gracechurch Street, London had appeared in the South Wales Daily News in May 1874 for ‘economic’ concrete building. A letter to the editor of the Cambrian in September 1876 described the erection of an 8-roomed concrete house in the Swansea Valley, constructed using shuttered concrete (a mix of 1:7 Portland cement to crushed local stone) incorporating large stones within each layer.
The owner of the Cilybebyll estate from the mid C19 was Herbert Lloyd, an improver in estate management, and concrete had already been used on the estate by the time these farm buildings were constructed in the early 1890s: an out building at the mill, c500m south of Plas Farm was built using concrete, possibly in the 1860s or 1870s.

The experimental use of concrete was largely abandoned by the 1890s, superseded by reinforced concrete: the Weaver flour mill on the N Dock in Swansea in 1897 was the first reinforced concrete framed building in Britain. It is possible that the earlier experiments in concrete construction informed this new departure in the use of the material.

Exterior

Farm building. Mass concrete with plain cement render with platt band, gable chimney and corrugated sheet roof. Tripartite windows to ground floor, central light opening, 4 light windows to first floor. L-plan, 2 storey gabled N-S range to river with single storey wing to S (partly demolished) and single storey wing to NE. W elevation to river of 3 windows, S gable single bay with loading door and hoist to first floor with projecting roof. 2 bay E (yard) elevation with small window above ground floor door to left door to right and steps with handrail up to first floor door. Single storey wing attached in line with the gable. S elevation with doorway and wide window, N elevation of 2 doorways and central 3-light window. Single window to gable. Single storey wing to S of main range retains evidence of pig sty arrangement but roof raised to front (yard) side.

Interior

Largely refitted mid-late C20 in conversion to dairy farm use. S single storey range retains 1891 dated roof truss.

Reasons for Listing

Included for its special architectural interest as an extremely rare example of a mass concrete building from the C19 pioneering phase of the use of concrete for building construction.

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Outbuilding at The Mill
    Situated between the lane and edge of field some 40m W of The Mill.
  • II Cefn Celfi
    Some 600m E of the centre of Rhos reached by a track off the A474 opposite Primrose Lane.
  • II Waun Coed Colliery magazine
    Situated on a wooded hillside some 450m NW of the Church of St John the Evangelist at Cilybebyll.

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