L © The Bonau Cabbage Patch PWLL COAL AND BRICK WORKS by Esmor Davies (Above: Artist impression of the brickworks showing only 2 of the 3 kilns) At the heart of the works was the ‘crusher’, used to grind the large pieces of clay into small particles. Larger pieces of clay  were first reduced in size by breaking them down with a sledge hammer.  The clay was shovelled into the pan of the crusher,  where two large heavy wheels pressed it through holes in the base of the crusher.  If it was to fill a truck, it went via another conveyor belt to the truck. If it was for brick making it would be deposited in the ‘Brick  Machine’ hopper.  To make the bricks, the clay was mixed with a little water and pressed into the mould which also pressed the word PWLL onto  the brick. The complete brick was pushed out of the mould and forwarded, to be collected by a worker to put on his/her barrow  and wheeled to a kiln for firing. This was a special barrow with the usual one wheel and two handles but with no sides and a  high vertical front. (Above: The wheels from the Crushing Machine) (Above: Conveyor belt with the small containers). (Above: Mould where the word Pwll was added to the brick) (Above: A Pwll brisk being pushed out of the mould) The clay and coal for the works came originally from the two levels in Pwll, Level 1 going into the Graig from the works itself  and Level 2 entering the Graig near the terminus. The levels were connected to the works by narrow gauge railways. The small  trucks, or ‘drams’ as they were called, were pulled by pit ponies.  The ponies were well cared for and were not kept  underground. Their stable was near the terminus and they were looked after by the ostler who was called Honnie One Arm.  One pony was called Jollie. When these two levels were finished, the clay came from Cwm Capel and New Lodge and in the  end Penclawdd.  There were three kilns at the works used in rotation. One was loaded, while one was fired and the third emptied after firing. The  fired bricks were then loaded onto the trucks in the railway bay. This bay, in the works, held three trucks.   The fires of the kilns were open to the weather and the stokers had to work in all weathers. However, once the Second World  War started and a blackout was imposed at night, the fires being wasily seen from the air, each kiln had a corrugated tin  walkway built all around it. This meant that from then onwards, the stokers were under cover for the first time and the fires  could not be seen from the air, as long as the doors were closed. This meant that the coal was kept dry in the doorway.  Inside the works there was room for three trucks on the siding. The pannier tank engine bringing the trucks, came from Burry Port along the single avoiding line via New Lodge. This line  continued just below Pwll Road to join the Mynydd Mawr line at Stradey and then onto the main line.  The engine pushed three empty wagons and a Guard’s Van along the liner past the points for the works, where the Guard’s  Van was uncoupled. The engine then pulled the three empty trucks back to clear the points, which the Guard then unlocked  with his key and changed the points to enter the works siding.  The engine pushed the empty trucks down the siding to couple  with the loaded wagons in the works. It then pulled the six trucks back on to the avoiding line and the guard changed the points  back to the avoiding line. The six wagons were then pushed forward to couple with the Guard’s Van, and the three empty  wagons uncoupled fromn the three full trucks. The engine reversed again over the points and took the three empty wagons  back into the works. The engine then returned to the avoiding line where the points were changed again to couple to the full  wagons and Guard’s Van and return to Burry Port. From there they would be forwarded to their different destinations.  The machinery in the works was connected, by leather belts to the main drive shaft from the Engine House. The drive shaft was  powered by a Blackstone stationary diesel engine  Each machine in the works was connected to the drive shaft by its own two wheels next to each other on the shaft; one  freewheeling and one fixed to the shaft. To operate, say the brick machine, the belt was moved from the free wheel pulley to  the fixed wheel, to enable the machine to operate.     A little away from the main works building was the office. This comprised a corridor with one room off it. Later a second room  was added to accommodate the NCB staff. The works secretary was Miss Dilys Hughes, and the foreman was Mr Len Gay,  who was also the Blacksmith. The Smithy was attached to the works near the entrance of the track from levels 1 and 2.  It was  used to repair the drams and other equipment.  (Abovet: A Typical free standing Diesel Engine) (Above: The author’s father) Source:   Esmor Davies ©,   Bônau Cabbage Patch ©