North East Wales

Ex-Wrexham MP wants Victorian brewery chimney takeover

Yorke Street, Wrexham, looking towards the Tuttle Street chimney
Image caption The Tuttle Street chimney marks the site of one Wrexham's former 19 breweries

Wrexham's former MP and AM is appealing for someone to take over a 120ft (36m) Victorian chimney which has become a reminder of the town's brewery heritage.

Dr John Marek acquired the Grade II-listed landmark more than 20 years ago for a nominal sum from the owners of the town's former Marston's brewery.

He said it is time for someone to take it on and preserve it for posterity.

It was erected in 1894, around the time when Wrexham had 19 breweries.

"I hope that someone will now come forward and take responsibility for it as I won't be around forever," said Dr Marek.

The insurance costs him about £700 to £800 a year, but he said the chimney's structure is in a good state of repair with a survey showing no sign of problems.

"It's a fine piece of architecture - the last visible reminder of Wrexham's brewing past and the last of its type in Wales, built with Ruabon brick," he said.

Renovations

By the 1860s, Wrexham had 19 breweries.

The most famous became Wrexham Lager which was founded in 1882 by Otto Isler and Ivan Levinstein, two German immigrants.

They called it the Wrexham Lager Beer Company in 1881 and started brewing lager a year later.

It stopped being produced in the town a decade ago but has just been revived by a local micro brewery.

The chimney was built as part of the former Soames brewery which later became part of the Border brewery. It closed in 1984 after the takeover by Marstons.

When the chimney was threatened with demolition in 1990, Dr Marek - who was then the town's MP - reached an agreement with the chairman of Marston's to take it over.

The company agreed to transfer ownership, together with £2,000 for renovations.

Dr Marek was a Labour MP and later both a Labour and independent AM for Wrexham. He joined the Conservatives in 2010.

He has offered to give away the chimney through a local newspaper, but no takers have come forward.

"I'm going to ask the council if they want it, but if there's no interest I'll advertise it nationwide," he said.

Wrexham council said it has yet to receive any offer.

Image caption Border Breweries pictured in the 1940s by its manager, William BN Kington

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