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Engineer trained under Thomas Ellis and together with Homfray and Trevithick pioneered steam railway locomotion.

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Dadford was one of the early canal pioneers whose who engineered the Monmouthshire, Brecknock and Abergavenny and Neath Canals.

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'The great honour of being a useful subject can never be taken from me, which to me far exceeds riches.'

Artwork in Tredegar remembering Thomas Ellis (Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council)
'It is my intention to make a trial of the locomotive engine'
- Thomas Ellis
Thomas Ellis was the Chief Engineer of the Tredegar Ironworks from 1828 to 1854. He embraced the steam age, purchasing a Stephenson steam engine and building a steam locomotive at Tredegar Ironworks which ran on the Sirhowy Tramroad in 1829, heralding the steam age in south Wales.

Thomas trained as a mechanic at the Tredegar Ironworks, rising to become Chief Engineer there in 1828. He understood the potential offered by steam locomotives and, in 1829, supervised the first successful locomotive journey on rails in Wales since Richard Trevithick's trials at Penydarren some twenty-five years earlier.

The ‘Britannia’ steam locomotive ran on the Sirhowy Tramroad from Tredegar to Newport and heralded the steam age in south Wales, as the Monmouthshire Merlin reported in December 1829:

'It is generally believed that the engine will answer the purpose intended and that horses will be put out of request.’

Over the next 15 years, Thomas built 10 locomotive engines at Tredegar: St. David, Tredegar, Jane, Fanny, Charlotte, Lady Sail, Lord Rodney, Prince Albert, Dispatch and Bedwellty. By 1841, of the 7,324 people living in Tredegar, 2,757 were working for the Tredegar Iron Company, which had grown as a result of the skill and foresight of men like Thomas Ellis.

Where to Visit?

Visit Tredegar Museum

Birth: Dowlais 1805
Thomas Ellis
Ingenious Heroes