High grade iron ore was discovered to the north of the town during construction work for the railway in the 1840’s. This led to the creation of the Great Western Iron Ore Smelting Co in 1857 and the grand opening of the iron works behind the railway station in 1858. Soon the number of furnaces was doubled to four.
The depression of 1877 was survived by lay-offs and the closing of two of the furnaces. By the beginning of the twentieth century the company had serious financial problems, but survived with new management and increased demand due to the First World War. By the 1930’s one of the furnaces had developed a fault and the works finally closed in 1933.
The open cast mines flooded and became lakes known locally as “mineholes”. Slag Lane is also a part of the works’ legacy to the town.