Theme - Blaenavon and the World Beyond

South Wales’ iron and coal industries were of global importance during the 19th and early 20th centuries and nowhere else is this better illustrated than in the area around Blaenavon. This is manifest in the inclusion of the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape as a World Heritage Site in December 2000. The products of the iron and coal industries were exported to all corners of the World. By the mid-19th century, South Wales’ iron industry was responsible for 40% of the UK’s output of iron (then the World’s largest industrialised economy). By 1913, one-third of the World’s coal exports were produced in South Wales by quarter of a million colliers; then, a quarter of the Welsh workforce.

Reminders of the iron and coal industries abound across South Wales but the global significance of these industries is not so well appreciated. The economic development of South Wales during the Industrial Revolution was accompanied by technological innovations which were adopted elsewhere thus contributing to the spread of the Industrial Revolution across the World. The spread of technological expertise across the globe was often accompanied by the people who practised them in South Wales; the skills of people with industrial experience were sought after in the developing iron and coal industries of the U.S.A. in particular.

The information resources within the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre provide an excellent starting point and stimulus to a study on this theme. Our topic web below provides some suggestions for developing the theme of ‘Blaenavon and the World beyond’.


Key Stage 2 Resources

Key Stage 3 Resources


Blaenavon and the World Beyond Topic Web