North East Wales

Brymbo steelworks heritage group gets £97,000 lottery boost

Ex-worker Ken Peters, former foreman shunter, took this photo
Image caption Photos of Brymbo like this one by ex-worker Ken Peters are being digitised

A community group has been awarded £97,000 to help preserve the heritage of Wrexham's former Brymbo steelworks.

The site which closed in 1990 with the loss of 1,000 jobs has some protected buildings although their condition is said to be deteriorating.

The Heritage Lottery Fund which pledged the cash called it unique, a surviving example of an 18th Century ironworks.

Brymbo Heritage Group (BHG) hopes to create a heritage area for Wrexham's old industries including the ironworks.

Image caption Manual work at the steelworks in 1964

It plans to use the grant to set up guided tours and gather oral histories or memories of former workers as well as digitise 3,000 old photos and other material to produce learning materials for local schools, colleges and universities.

Colin Davies, project leader and a former Brymbo worker, said: "It is so important that future generations learn about how the village and the local community was years ago and I'm thrilled that Brymbo Ironworks' story will now be recorded and shared, bringing generations together."

Three scheduled ancient monuments and a Grade II listed building remain on the site.

Brymbo's industrial roots go back to around 1761 when John "Iron Mad" Wilkinson and his younger brother took over the running of a furnace at Bersham, near Wrexham, from their father.

John Wilkinson went on to buy Brymbo Hall and built two blast furnaces nearby marking the beginning of what was to become Brymbo Steelworks.

Landowners Brymbo Developments Limited (BDL) took over the reclamation after the steelworks closed in 1990 with housing being built on some of the sprawling site.

The history group has spent the last 10 years trying to protect heritage at other parts of the site amid concern that some has started to deteriorate.

It hopes to eventually create a wider heritage area to celebrate Wrexham's industrial past and attract tourists.

Image caption The history group has ambitions to create a heritage area to attract tourists to Wrexham

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