Historic former South Wales valleys ‘button factory’ sells at auction

A former leading plastic mouldings works in the south Wales valleys known as the button factory has sold at auction.

The factory, dating back to the nineteenth century and which specialised in the production of dice, plastic games figures and buttons, had employed a workforce of some sixty people.

With a history of manufacturing and skilled employment stretching back many decades, the industrial building and yard at Catherine Crescent, in Porth, Mid Glamorgan, sold prior to going to auction.

Originally built as a slaughterhouse in the 19th century by the coal mine owner of nearby Garth Hall, the property was sold by Newport-based Paul Fosh Auctions.

Precision Tools Ltd. operated on the site from 1961-1984 and DKS Trimmings Ltd from 1984-2019.

With outline planning permission for housing, the property and land listed for auction with a guide price of  £126,000 sold for ‘well in excess’ of that figure.

Debra Bisley, of Paul Fosh Auctions, said: “There was a huge amount of interest in the former factory and land ahead of the sale. The lot sold prior to auction for an undisclosed  price which was well in excess of the guide.”

Debra said: “So many skilled and industrious people worked at the factory over the very many years it was operating, producing all manner of quality goods and niche products which found their way to all the corners of the world.”

Built as a slaughterhouse by a coal mine owner who lived in nearby Garth Hall, during the war the premises were used by the home guard as a drill hall and for storage.

“The premises were then taken over by Thomas and Evans to manufacture wooden crates for their Corona fizzy pop drink bottles.

“In 1961 it was occupied by Precision Tools Ltd and used for the manufacture of trimmings to the clothing trade. The factory manufactured leather buttons and buckles Their products were used by the likes of M&S, sheepskin coat manufacturers and other clothing companies.

“In 1984, due to the death of the founder of Precision Tools Ltd, DKS Trimmings Ltd. was formed by the son to carry on the manufacture of leather goods. Later DKS Trimmings Ltd. moved into injection moulding while still manufacturing leather trimmings. It was the only manufacturer, at the time in the UK, of leather buttons. DKS Trimmings Ltd. also manufactured a range of plastic products, specialising in board game components.

“What’s quite fascinating is that the Porth factory was at one time one of the leading European manufacturers of dice.

“The site that was sold encompasses approximately 0.6 acres, and is comprised of five buildings and a parcel of land to the rear of the site which may allow for further development, subject to the relevant consents.

“There is outline planning consent for the proposed demolition of the existing buildings and for residential development of the site. Further information can be found via Rhondda Cynon Taff Council, reference number: 08/ 0596/13. The property benefits from gas, water and electric (not tested).

“Located in Porth, a 20 minute walk from Porth train station and one minute to the A4058, the main thoroughfare through Porth, the property would seem to be an ideal location for commuters. Furthermore, it is a 15 minute walk to Hannah Street, the main High Street in the town of Porth.”

The former factory site was one of some 100 commercial and domestic properties which went up for sale with Paul Fosh Auctions in its online sale in May.