“I was born in 1961, in Stroud, England of Anglo-Irish parentage. After initial training in mechanical engineering I moved swiftly on to technical illustration and spent twenty years working as an illustrator.

Over the previous decade I have sought to integrate the strict illustration disciplines with my irrepressible passion for drawing and painting.

In my paintings I depict vernacular architecture in a fusion of abstraction and figuration, calling on a depth of drawing expertise to produce work in acrylic and mixed media with collage.

The opportunity to produce a piece of work for The Valleys intrigued me; here is a given framework and an area that I have always found fascinating, especially its strong industrial heritage. The project seemed tailor-made for my work.” www.petemonaghan.com


More on Pete Monaghan’s work including sketches and other works for the Discover the Valleys project can be found on his website and blog at:



Blaenafon Ironworks is a key part of the Blaenafon World Heritage Site. Opened in 1789, they played a further crucial role in the industrial revolution as the site of the experiments by Sidney Gilchrist Thomas and his cousin Percy Gilchrist which revolutionised the production of steel through the removal of phosphorus thereby overcoming the problem of brittle steel. The Gilchrist-Thomas process had a huge effect on the development of the steel industries of Europe and America. Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish-born American industrialist, invested some $250,000 for the right to use the process in the USA and remarked: 'These two young men, Thomas and Gilchrist of Blaenafon, did more for Britain's greatness than all the Kings and Queens put together....They struck the useless phosphoric ore and transformed it into steel... a far greater miracle'.

Blaenafon Ironworks - Gwaith Haearn Blaenafon

Image copyright - Visit Wales