The printed press is a valuable source of information for historians and archaeologists, noting significant events of the day and often, more interestingly, the daily lives of everyday people in the past. Journalism started as early as the 1400s in Europe but really it wasn't until the eighteenth century that newspapers as we would understand them today evolved. One of the first daily newspapers was the Daily Courant, established by Samuel Buckley in 1702 on the streets of London. The Western Mail, Wales' national daily newspaper, was founded in 1869 by the Third Marquess of Bute. In the past, the newspaper was associated with the coal and iron industries and often reported on topical events and stories of the day.
The Ynysfach Ironworks appeared in number of newspaper articles during its lifetime, sometimes cited as a positive example for the growing industry in the south Wales valleys and as a crucial part of the prosperous Cyfarthfa Ironworks organisation. However, sometimes it made the news for more unfortunate reasons, highlighting the dangerous working conditions in this industry.
The contemporary media coverage during the life of the works helps us to gauge its local and national importance and the public's opinion on this expanding industry. The stories and articles written about the works give us an indication of the high regard the iron industry of south Wales was held in and how far the influence of the works had spread nationally and internationally.
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Newspaper archives can be found in local and national archive centres; and now thanks to the great work of the British Library these archives can be accessed online at The British Newspaper Archive. All images copyright © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED