This film is part of Free

Discharge of Heavy Machinery at Port Talbot Docks

Far heavier than the rocks of Stonehenge, two roll housing assemblies for a strip mill are removed from a ship using floating cranes.

Promotional 1949 8 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


Port Talbot Docks can take it! How a stonehenge-type challenge (i.e. the transportation of weighty components) is dealt with in 1949, using floating cranes and a special 24-wheeled British Railways wagon. Stonehenge rocks weigh, on average, 25-30 tonnes. The two roll housing assemblies seen here, for use in a strip mill in The Steel Company of Wales’ new Abbey Works, weigh 115 tonnes each.

At its height, in the 1960s, the Abbey Works which in 1949 was in the process of being built, employed 18,000 and was Europe’s largest steelworks, completed and opened in 1951. The steam ship seen here, no doubt utilising a a large amount of steel in its structure and equipment, was launched in 1922 and bought by the Bristol City Line in 1948 when she was re-named “Wells City” in line with how all the ships in the company’s fleet were named – after British, American or Canadian cities. She was their third, and last, ship to bear the name “Wells City”, their custom being to re-use names. She was sold on in 1951, re-named again, and scrapped in 1963.