Districts & Places

Manselton Racecourse - Manselton Iron & Brass Foundry

Manselton and Manselton Foundry

The Mansel Coat of Arms - 'What he wishes, he wishes fervently'

The Mansel family owned extensive estates in South Wales, but when Richard Mansel Mansel inherited these under the terms of his father's will, dated 1875, he became the only 'tenant for life'. It meant that he could enjoy the income from the estates but could not sell any of them. Unlike his careful and attentive father and grandfather before him, young Richard promptly proceeded to squander his assets. Like many a titled gentleman, he was a gambler devoted to horse racing and he frittered away a fortune.

Bohun Street, the old medieval road, the site of the Millward stables and Pwll-y-domen farm This site is where the Manor cinema used to be, but is now a new housing area.

The Manselton Hotel, Penfilia Road The hotel was once the accommodation for guests attending the nearby races. It was built as a private hotel in 1886 by Sir Richard Mansel Mansel, specifically to house guests and the jockeys who had travelled from all over the British Isles to attend the race meetings.

View along-side Manselton Hotel facing the old racecourse On the very top towards the right probably was the main entrance to the course. The first race meeting at Manselton took place in April 1887

The view towards Swansea marina over Manselton from the Racecourse, Penlan This view from where the grandstand probably was sited in around 1890’s

The remains of the railings, overlooking Manselton, which was once a splendid racecourse

Saturday 25th April 2009

Mr Robin Campbell and the Welsh language group organised a tour around the area, where the Manselton Racecourse used to be.

The Welsh language group – Menter Iaith Abertawe on their stroll, led by Robin campbell

For full detailed of the Manselton Racecourse by Robin Campbell, the book is available and is good value.

Raised in Pembroke Dock, Robin Campbell attended the Universities of Hull and Aberystwyth, and now teaches Welsh part-time in the Adult Education Department at Swansea University.

Aintree and Cheltenham. Names to conjure with for horse-racing enthusiasts the world over. But Swansea?

Yes, indeed, in the nineteenth century, Manselton in Swansea boasted one of the finest racecourses in Britain. Originally the leisurely preserve of the Glamorgan gentlemen, the Swansea and Neath races soon became more raucous and riotous. But, as author Robin Campbell explains in this entertaining piece of social history, what the sport lost in refinement, it more than made up for in excitement.

The working people of the area flocked to these races, treating them as holidays dedicated to drinking and dancing, and gambling and girls, much to the annoyance of many local bosses and clergymen!

Grand National jockeys were amongst the household names to grace a course where the paddock, private stand, telegraph office and elegant 2500-seater grandstand made Manselton a model of modernity.

But for all its popularity, its financial foundations were never firm. And, as ever where sport and money keep company, the opportunistic and unscrupulous were never far away ...

Manselton - Iron & Brass Foundry

Manselton Iron & Brass Foundry 1902 – 1950s.– With the much appreciated help from Miss E. M. James (Manselton Estate). Stephen Morgan (Relative) and Pamela Evans (Swansea Branch Secretary of the Glamorgan Family History Society)
The foundry closed in the 1950s, the last owner being David Evans

Plans 1902 shows Manselton Foundry (45), which faced onto Cae-Rowland Street.

The last owner was David Evans, who lived at 122 Manselton Road, the side door being in Walter Street.
Miss E. M. James wrote David was nicknamed ‘Dai Dowlais’ and probably learned his craft in the iron foundry there.
Earlier plans showed a stream coming from Penllwynmarch, which was probably called ‘Nant Hir’. The stream was later impounded to form a large reservoir with a weir at one end and a sluice at the other. From there it was culverted and ran under Robert Street, behind ‘Weavers Yard’ and crossed the road to a very large reservoir for the Cwmfelin steel works. This lake was large enough to sail a boat on and covered the land which was ‘Blyth’s Protective Clothing depot’ and the ‘Cwmfelin Social Club’.
The Cockett Burlais Brook was also culverted and also fed this lake. The path of the stream was closely followed by the mineral railway, which brought coal from Mynedd Newydd , the Graig and Tir Donkin mines to Cwmfelin Steel works. Some of the rails could still be seen by the old Meadowland milk dairy, before the foundry closed in the early 1950s, which was eventually demolished to build the St. John’s House care home.

Stephen Morgan wrote My parents were brought up in Manselton and Brynhyfryd and both remember the family foundry on the park very well. Unfortunately I cannot find a picture of the factory but have found an entry in the phone book for 1925 and 1930.

Telephone directory 1925

Telephone directory 1930

My father recalls the factory produced Iron and brass items including candlesticks. During the war they produced metal aeroplane tracks from the site. He also remembers they were very successful and employed a large number of people from the area. David Evans even had his own car and chauffeur.           David Evans was from Dowlais and was married to Jane Evans (nee Charles) from Manselton.They had 3 children Ann, Gladys and William. William later ran the factory, he married Elsie Vanstone.

Staff outside a local bus company

Lewis Evans, my Great Grandfather was born in Dowlais and he married Mary Ann (nee Griffiths) from Manselton.They had 2 children, Rev David Evans and my Grandfather Morgan Evans.

Potter’s coach

Mary Ann – Lewis – Jane and David Evans


They lived at 109 Manselton Road

Pamela Evans wrote I knew David Evans when I was a teenager. He was of the Evans the foundry family. David was a little older than, me I think, I was born in 1937. He was very tall.
There is a family grave in Bethel Chapel cemetery in Carnglas Road, Sketty.  As a society we are transcribing the headstones on all the graves in the cemetery.  There are about 12,000 burials there.  Usually Cherry and I are there on a Monday morning and I could lead you right to the grave, it's on the end of a row, pink marble with lead lettering which is mostly off but I was standing where the sun showed up the holes so I could read it.  I remember one of the gentlemen was a Deacon of a chapel in Swansea.  It's all in Welsh.

David Evans died 1963

The Grave is at Bethel Chapel cemetery, Sketty Section K – Row2 K/2/1 Double grave, raised pink, polished granite inscribed kerbs, slab and vase. Lead lettering, some missing.