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These were replaced from the 16th century by blast furnaces which were larger and operated at a higher temperature to produce molten metal for cast iron. Cast iron is brittle, and to convert it into malleable wrought iron or steel it needs to be remelted.

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This was originally conducted in an open hearth in a finery forge, but technological developments, especially with steel production, gave rise to more sophisticated types of furnaces. A comprehensive survey of the iron and steel industry has been conducted to identify a sample of sites of national importance that represent the industry's chronological range, technological breadth and regional diversity. Despite having been partially excavated, the brickworks and iron works at Dark Hill survive well.

The site is associated with the Mushet family who were amongst the foremost pioneers in the development of iron and steel technology in England in the century. Their achievements include the first commercially produced refined iron from a blast furnace without the use of a refining furnace, and the production of the first steel rail for railways. A number of locations at the Dark Hill site are associated with specific developments in the industry. Kilns at the brickworks site were used for small-scale experimental work on new materials, and it was also the site of a Bessemer furnace in which, by the addition of spiegel and the adjustment of the carbon content, Mushet revolutionised the method of steel production.

In addition, the site displays the elements of a complete 19th century iron works including a tramway track for the movement of goods. The site will retain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the industrial activity on site, and will preserve a record of the long series of experimental operations that took place under the Mushet's from to David Mushet at one time owned the brickworks, and the site is integral to the events which formed the sequence of development of the iron works and Robert Mushet's Forest Steelworks.

The brickworks site preserves the layout and processes of a 19th century example of this type of industry and the tram road, which abuts the site, completes the contemporary industrial landscape.

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As a site which is open to the public, it is also a valuable educational amenity. It lies in two areas of protection. The standing remains of the walls of the ironworks and brickworks have been consolidated and stand to between 1m and 4m high. The works were owned by both David Mushet, a figure important in the development of both iron and steel working technology, and his son Robert, who carried on the work of his father.

David Mushet first arrived in the area in when he moved to Coleford, managing the iron works at Whitecliff the subject of a separate scheduling about 2km to the north west of Dark Hill. Titanic Steel Works, built later by Robert Mushet lies m to the north west and is the subject of a separate scheduling SM The brickworks were established some time before , and were owned by David Mushet in After David's death in , the furnaces at the smithy in the brickworks were used by Robert for experimental work on new metals to discover their properties.


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Robert Mushet carried out much of his secret experimental work near his home, but larger scale experimentation was done at the furnaces by the Smithy. In his will dated to April , David Mushet left the brickworks to three trustees. In July of the same year the premises were advertised for sale, and when it was sold again in , it was in need of repair. Later the site of the brickworks became a Colour works for processing ochre which is the yellow or brown hydrated oxide of iron ferric oxide. David Mushet built his first iron working furnace at Dark Hill in late or It is thought that the iron works at Dark Hill were developed mainly as an experimental site, although small-scale production appears to have been carried out.

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In September of there was a deed of dissolution of agreement under conveyance of , and the furnace was probably never again in blast. No contemporary plan has been found, and therefore the interpretation of successive uses to which different buildings were given is based on expert opinion. The complex of tramway, brickworks and ironworks lie on a series of terraces above one another on the hillside. At the north end of the complex, on the high ground above the brickworks, is the Milkwall branch of the Severn and Wye tramroad, some of the stone tram road blocks of which are still visible.

In instructions were given to extend the branch tram road to serve the new furnace at Dark Hill, thus a second branch of the tram road from the west enters the site above the furnaces and below the brickworks area.

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Just below the upper tram road is the brickworks, which lie above the iron works on the slope. Using a different email address for your Agoda account? Click here to switch accounts.


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Within the Dark Hills

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