On Monday, 11th February 2013 the Speaker was Ray Jones who talked about the history of the Gwenfro Valley.

Speaker secretary Russell Jones welcomed and introduced Mr Ray Jones.  Mr Jones addressed the audience and explained that he will be showing slides during the talk.

   Mr Jones explained that this talk tracks the meandering River Gwenfro from its commencement in Bwlchgwyn to its joining with River Clywedog.  It starts as an underground stream in Bwlchgwyn and runs under the now named Ruthin Road past a typical Farm House, “Ffynnon-y-Cwrw” which would have been built on common land.

 From there it follows through to Gwern-y-Gaseg and enters the coalfield which was “Pentre Fron Colliery”, here one can still see the old 18th century spoil heaps scattered across the land.  At the time, poor farmers would have worked their land and cattle, but also worked at the local colliery to make extra money for their families.  He informed us that a Mr John Burton owned the colliery at the time and he lived at Minera Hall.  The mine was closed in 1899.

From here it follows through to Llewelyn Road, Coedpoeth where it gains water and power, flowing past Offa’s Dyke and down into the village of Southsea, where it passes the old colliery, Plas Power.  Mr Jones said that a few of these buildings belonging to the Plas Power colliery were still standing and showed photographs of them.  It then follows its path toward the village of New Broughton and past the next colliery, New Broughton Colliery, downwards towards Caego passing Berse Drelincourt and Croesnewydd Hall.  Before going any further with the thoroughfare of the river, Mr Jones showed slides of very old maps with the River plainly seen, and he tells us that the villages mentioned were all placed around the places of work, i.e. Southsea near Plas Power, Brymbo and Lodge near Brymbo Steel Works and Ironworks.

Then, the river carries on down until the ‘Broughton Brook’ joins it, it passes such industries as Cobden Flour Mill, Lager Brewery, then runs under Bradley Road Bridge towards Pentrefelin (where it was open-chanelled) and on to Island Green.  Down and down towards Brook Street, under the bridge and along St. Giles Way, turning slightly under Willow Bridge, Salop Road and Rivulet Road.  It then heads for “Hafod-y-Wern”, which Mr Jones explains was a very fine farmhouse, which was demolished in 1880, over the Abenbury Viaduct (this is no longer standing) and into Gwenfro, where it merges with the River Clywedog.

Russell thanked Mr Ray Jones on behalf of the members for a most enjoyable talk, which everyone had very much enjoyed.

*NOTE – ‘Gwenfro’ means Pleasant District….

The meeting then broke for refreshments and later carried on with other business and concluded at 12.00.