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St Giles' Church, Wrexham
Wrexham shown within Wales
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|List of places: UK • Wales • Wrexham|
Wrexham (pronounced /ˈrɛksəm/ (deprecated template) REKS-əm; Welsh: Wrecsam) is a town in Wales. It is the administrative centre of the wider Wrexham County Borough, and the largest town in North Wales, located to the east of the region. It is situated between the Welsh mountains and the lower Dee Valley close to the border with Cheshire, England. As North Wales' largest town, it is a major centre of the region's commercial, retail and educational infrastructure.
At the time of the United Kingdom Census 2001, Wrexham had a population of 42,576, and the wider Wrexham Urban Area, as defined by the Office for National Statistics, had a population of 63,084. The wider Wrexham county borough, which covers 50,500 hectares, has a population of over 130,000. The town is ranked as the 9th largest town/city in Wales, however its urban area is the 4th largest.
Evidence of human activity in the Wrexham area have been found as far back as 8,000 years ago. However the first known settlement was known as Wristleham Castle, a motte and bailey located in what is now known as Erddig Park, established in 1161. King Edward I of England is on record as having briefly stayed at Wrexham during his expedition to suppress the revolt of Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294. The town became part of the county of Denbighshire when it was created in 1536. Wrexham was divided into two distinct townships, Wrexham Regis (which was under the control of the King) and Wrexham Abbot (generally the older parts of the town, which originally belonged to Valle Crucis Abbey at nearby Llangollen).
In the 18th century Wrexham was known for its leather industry. There were skinners and tanners in the town. The horns from cattle were used to make such items as combs and buttons. There was also a nail-making industry in Wrexham.
In the mid-18th century Wrexham was no more than a small market town with a population of perhaps 2,000. However, in the late 18th century Wrexham grew rapidly as it became one of the pioneers of the Industrial Revolution.
The Industrial Revolution began in Wrexham in 1762 when the entrepreneur John Wilkinson (1728–1808) known as 'Iron Mad Wilkinson' opened Bersham Ironworks. In 1793 he opened a smelting plant at Brymbo.
Wrexham gained its first newspaper in 1848. The Market Hall was built in 1848, and in 1863 a volunteer fire brigade was founded. Wrexham was also home to a large number of breweries, and tanning became one of Wrexham's main industries. In the mid 19th century Wrexham was granted borough status.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, Wrexham began a period of depression: the many coal mines closed first, followed by the brickworks and other industries, and finally Brymbo Steelworks in September 1990. Wrexham faced an economic crisis. Many residents were anxious to sell their homes and move to areas with better employment prospects, however buyers were uninterested in an area where there was little prospect of employment. Many people were caught in a negative equity trap. Wrexham was suffering from the same problems as much of industrialised Britain and saw little investment in the 1970s.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) intervened: it funded a major dual carriageway, the A483, bypassing Wrexham town centre and connecting it with nearby Chester and Shrewsbury, which in turn had connections with other big cities such as Manchester and Liverpool. The WDA also funded shops and reclaimed areas environmentally damaged by the coal industry. The town centre was regenerated and attracted a number of high street chains. However, the biggest breakthrough was the Wrexham Industrial Estate, previously used in the Second World War, which became home to many manufacturing and technology businesses. There are currently over 250 businesses on the Wrexham Industrial Estate and in the surrounding area. A dual carriageway from the main A483 was extended halfway to the Estate in 2003, and is expected to reach it by 2011.
Recent years have seen a large amount of redevelopment in Wrexham's town centre. The creation and re-development of civic and public areas such as Queens Square, Belle Vue Park and Llwyn Isaf have improved the area dramatically. New shopping areas have been created at Henblas Square and Island Green with the newest development at Eagles Meadow (a fairly large area of land between St. Giles and the inner ring road) which opened on 31 October 2008. The development increases Wrexham's retail area by over 400,000 sq ft (40,000 m2) and houses retail outlets, bars, restaurants, cinema (from spring 2009 ), a bowling alley and new apartments. It includes public areas and an "iconic" bridge to connect the development with the old High Street. It had its benefits (a more modern design to shopping), but unfortunitally allowed many large chain stores to pack up and move into it. This shifted the student/younger population of Wrexham over to Eagles Meadow- where many well-known stores had decided to re-locate. Tenpin Bowling, Boots, Next, Clintons, Nandos, Pizza Express, Debenhams, Marks and Spencers, Odeon with many mobile phone shops such as O2, Orange and Carphone Warehouse packed up and relocated closely together in the new shopping area. Debenhams and Marks and Spencers are the largest of retailers in this new development.
Unfortunitally, not only has the development made the old streets a 'ghost town' (especially with the bankruptcy of WoolWorths), but there has been a constant problem with the drainage and durability of the products that make up Eagles Meadow. It could be mistaken that the shopping complex is around ten years old- as many of the slabs are cracked in the area. Flooding usually occurs and there has always been atleast one area cordoned off due to this problem. The introduction of trees was shortly lived in the area of the appartments complex and almost immediately after the wall was erected with trees planted behind, it was immediately pulled down to be raplaced with benches. A large (yet costly to the customers) multi storey car park is underneath the shops.
The central area has seen a number of conversions and new-build apartment complexes. Apartments have been built on a large area off Mold Road (close to the football ground) and are planned for Salop Road (close to Eagles Meadow), and close to the Island Green shopping complex. Outside the town centre new estates are being developed in Brymbo (the former steelworks site).
Wrexham Western Gateway site (Ruthin Road) and Mold Road: Plans were due to be unveiled in Summer 2007 of the next stage in the development of Wrexham Technology Park as one of the country's first sustainable business centres - the development is expected to increase the size of the Park by more than a third before 2012.
Plans have been unveiled for a £17m waste-processing centre for Wrexham which will help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill sites. It is believed the centre will be built on Wrexham's industrial estate and run by the Spanish-owned Waste Recycling Group. Plans for a recycling centre in Wrexham have been approved, but the permission granted to Waste Recycling Group is subject to several conditions including measures to offset the effects on wildlife.
Wrexham is undergoing a substantial period of population growth. House prices have risen to some of the highest levels in Wales as demand has risen both locally, from over the English border and from international migrants. Wrexham has a high Polish population- after a boom of Polish migrants in the 2005-2007 region.
An estimated 15,000 eastern Europeans have settled in Wrexham since 2004, mainly around the central areas of the town around Hightown, Smithfield and Queens Park. The demand for housing has led to the development of new neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the town. These include over 500 homes at the former Brymbo Steelworks site, a ribbon of development on Mold Road leading out of the town (which includes four development companies), and Ruthin Road (Wrexham Western Gateway). There are further plans, one of which is the controversial development of National Trust land at Erddig for over 250 homes. The town centre has also experienced large-scale apartment developments which continue to be developed.
In the third quarter of 2007, house prices were still rising by 6.4% (9.9% annually) with the average price at £178,518. Sales were around 220 for this period and projected as 880 for the year. The average house price was 8% higher than both Newport and Swansea, and 6% less than Cardiff.
In June 2003, the Caia Park estate in Wrexham was hit by the Caia Park Riots. The incident started when an Iraqi male insulted a British resident of the area, bringing in family and friend links to see to the matter. Causing what seemed like a relatively small fight, the tension between Iraqi Kurds and locals centred on one of the estates' pubs (The Green Dragon, Wrexham) which gradually escalated and resulted in petrol bombs and other missiles being hurled at police trying to restore order. 51 local residents received prison sentences and the Iraqi man got off with no charges against him.
|WREXHAM COUNCIL-WELSH AVERAGE
Population 130,990 -
Households 54,826 -
Violence against the person 19.0-16.2
Sexual offences 0.9-0.8
Robbery offences 0.3-0.3
Burglary dwelling offences 2.8-3.2
Theft of a motor vehicle offences 2.3-3.0
Theft from a vehicle offences 5.1-6.2
Wrexham County Borough Council elects a mayor who serves for one year. Wrexham Council's website is one of the leading council websites in the country. People who live under the jurisdiction of Wrexham County Borough Council are able to pay taxes, debts and other fees through the website. They can also access many other services, such as reporting crimes, submitting planning applications and applying for permits.
The Wrexham constituency elects members to the UK Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. The constituency includes both the town and some of its outlying villages such as Gwersyllt, Llay, Marford and Rossett.
Wrexham Maelor Hospital (Ysbyty Maelor Wrecsam in Welsh) is the area's major acute district hospital, with 700 beds, and is one of the three core hospitals in North Wales. It is situated in the south of the town, on Croesnewydd Road. In 1985 major expansion took place on the site, modernising many of the existing departments. It is also the headquarters of the North East Wales NHS Trust, for which it is the principal health service provider. Other NHS hospitals within the borough are Chirk Community and Penley Polish Hospital.
Yale Hospital (Ysbyty Ial in Welsh) situated close to the Maelor Hospital on Wrexham Technology Park is Wrexham's largest private hospital with over 25 beds. Formerly BUPA Yale Hospital, it is now owned and operated by Classic Hospitals.
Wrexham is served by North Wales Police; their Eastern Division H.Q is in the centre of the town.
The local fire station is situated on Bradley Road close to the Island Green and central retail parks.
Wrexham is the largest settlement in north Wales, and has applied for city status several times, most recently in 2002, as part of the celebrations for the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II. Other Welsh applicants were Aberystwyth, Machynlleth, Newtown, Newport, and St Asaph. The local authority cited the following claims as to why Wrexham should be granted city status:
- The town is the largest urban area north, it is home to one of only three Roman Catholic cathedrals in Wales
- It is the centre for education, culture, retail, industry and business in North Wales
- It has the largest catchment (in terms of area) of any other major Welsh settlement
- The town has a long and proud history of industry, including coal mining, steelmaking, brewing and tanning.
- It has recently transformed from a historic market town and industrial hub into a forward thinking business and manufacturing centre (including one of the largest industrial estates in Europe)
- The population of the conurbation surrounding the town is over 100,000 people
- Wrexham is home to professional sport (Crusaders Rugby League Club)
In the end, the Welsh award was given to Newport in south Wales, however the borough still holds out hope of gaining the status in the near future.
Wrexham is a regional centre for the whole of north and mid Wales and recent studies suggest increasing support for the idea as Wrexham goes through a period of growth. A survey carried out by the Wrexham Evening Leader in October 2007 showed that 76 percent polled supported the idea of Wrexham becoming a city. Just 22.5 percent said it should remain a town, while 1.5 percent were undecided.
|Mold, Buckley||Ellesmere Port, Wirral||Cheshire West and Chester|
Unusually for a large town, Wrexham is not built up alongside a major river. Instead it is situated on a relatively flat plateau between the lower Dee Valley and eastern most mountains of Wales. This situation enabled it to grow as a market town as a cross roads between England and Wales and later as an industrial hub - due to its rich natural reserves of iron ore and coal. It does however have three relatively minor rivers running through parts of the town. These are the rivers Clywedog, Gwenfro and Alyn. Wrexham is also famed for the quality of its underground water reserves, which gave rise to its previous dominance as a major brewing centre.
Originally a market town with surrounding small villages, Wrexham is now coalesced with a number of urban villages and forms North Wales' largest conurbation exceeding 100,000 residents including its north, western and south western suburban villages. The Office for National Statistics defines a Wrexham Urban Area which consists of Wrexham Town and some coalesced suburbs (Pop. 63,084 in 2001).
A number of visitor attractions can be found in the town or within a short drive from the centre. Among the most popular are:
- Bangor-on-Dee racecourse
- Clywedog Valley - The power behind the industrial revolution in Wrexham, a number of good heritage attractions: (Minera Leadmines, Nant Mill and Bersham Ironworks) in a peaceful valley with good walks (BBC's 20 hidden gems in 2007)
- Erddig Hall - National Trust property and park (voted the UK's best historical house and 8th most popular historic site - 2007)
- Historic town centre buildings (Horse & Jockey pub, thatched roof pub, Regent Street)
- Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
- Racecourse Ground, home of Wrexham F.C.
- St. Giles Church - One of the Seven Wonders of Wales and burial place of Elihu Yale
- Techniquest Glyndŵr - Science discovery centre
- Wrexham County Museum
Wrexham's economy has been transformed in the past twenty years from one dominated by heavy and traditional industry into a major high tech manufacturing, technology and services hub. Wrexham Industrial Estate is the UK's second-largest industrial park and among the largest in Europe. The remainder of the industrial parks are located around the A483 corridor to the west of the town. Companies such as Sharp, Brother, Tetra-Pak, J. C. Bamford, Cadbury and Kellogg's have major manufacturing, research or office bases in and around the town. International pharmaceutical and chemical companies are also well represented including Flexsys and Wockhardt. Service and smaller high technology set-ups are generally found closer to the centre at Wrexham Technology Park and within the town centre itself.
Wrexham has held on to a substantial manufacturing base after facing stiff competition from growing eastern European and Asian economies. Approximately 25 percent of jobs in Wrexham are in the manufacturing sector, with a growing number in service, financial and technology industries.
In 2007, the town was ranked fifth in the UK for business start-up success, higher than most larger UK towns and cities. Wrexham county borough as a whole has an economic activity rate of 79.5 percent, which is above both the Wales and Great Britain averages.
In the last five years high land prices have led to large apartment blocks being built in and around the town. Scarcity of town centre land has led to numerous housing estates being built in the surrounding villages on the outskirts, notably in Brymbo, Gwersyllt and Rhostyllen.
In April 2008, the IPPR identified Wrexham as having the largest influx of Eastern European economic migrants in Wales. Between 2004 and 2007 a total of 3,430 people from these countries had registered for work in Wrexham.
Wrexham hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1888, 1912, 1933 and 1977, as well as an unofficial National Eisteddfod event in 1876. The National Eisteddfod returns to the area in 2011, when Wales' leading festival will be held on the land of Lower Berse Farm from 30 July - 6 August. Preparations are well underway and a number of local committees have been set up and meet regularly.
Wrexham has a number of theatres, including the Grove Park Theatre on Vicarage Hill, the Riverside Studio Theatre at Wrexham Musical Theatre Society on Salop Road, and the Yale Studio theatre close to Llwyn Isaf. Local theatre group, Tip Top Productions  also present the annual Christmas Pantomime at The Stiwt Theatre in nearby Rhosllanerchrugog. The main Arts centre is at Wrexham County Library, with others at Glyndŵr University in Plas Coch and Yale College. There is a multi-screen Odeon cinema in the Eagles Meadow development. The nearby town of Llangollen holds the International Musical Eisteddfod every July.
Every March the town hosts the Wrexham Science Festival. Over 9000 visitors attended events in 2007, making the event one of the biggest of its kind.
Wrexham is also home to a branch of Techniquest, known as Techniquest Glyndŵr. The science discovery centre is situated within Glyndŵr University's Plas Coch campus.
Wrexham has built a vibrant music scene over the last few years. A raft of live music venues has developed around the core of the town including the largest venue Central Station, Milliners, The Commercial and the Seven Stars. Further out of the centre The Centenary Club, the William Aston Hall and The Student Guild at Glyndwr University also provide regular live music shows. The scene is dominated by up-and-coming local bands and the town has become known as a hotbed of talent in the rock, indie and alternative genres.
The local music scene has its own dedicated website 'wrexhammusic.co.uk' which features news, forums and details of upcoming shows. The town's music scene appears regularly on national radio, in 2007 it featured on BBC Radio One's Steve Lamacq show, and regularly features on the Welsh music portion of the station.
Most international artists perform in the larger venues of Central Station or the William Aston Hall. Central Station, is also a club with a capacity of approximately 650, attracting touring bands from across the country. Since its opening in 2000 the venue has played host to hundreds of acts, including The Magic Numbers, The Kooks, Duffy, The Charlatans, the Scratch Perverts, Ash, The View, The Wildhearts, Mansun, Shed Seven, The Wonder Stuff, The Damned, Skindred, Supersuckers, Moscow, Bloc Party, Hundred Reasons, Grandmaster Flash, Electric Six, Trashlight Vision, The Fall, Budgie, The Blackout, Kids in Glass Houses, Rooster, Elliot Minor, Blaze Bayley, Go: Audio, The Hot Melts, Kill Hannah and Robert Plant.
The William Aston Hall at Glyndwr University is a 900-seat venue which has recently undergone extensive refurbishment, and is now designed to accommodate a range of events from conferences and exhibitions to theatrical performances and pop/rock concerts. Acts who have performed there in the past include Super Furry Animals, Feeder Love, Ray Davies, Freddie Starr, Weetus and Sweet.
Wrexham's daily newspapers include the North Wales Daily Post and Wrexham Evening Leader, the weekly free Wrexham Chronicle, and the weekly broadsheet Wrexham Leader, often known as the "Big Leader". The Wrexham Music Magazine is published monthly, and concentrates on the town's large music scene.
Four radio stations are based in the town - commercial stations Heart North West and Wales (serving most of North Wales, Cheshire and the Wirral) & Heart Cymru (serving Gwynedd and Anglesey) broadcast from studios on Mold Road in Gwersyllt, community station Calon FM is based within Glyndwr University on Mold Road near the town centre and Wrexham FM provides online programming. BBC Cymru Wales also has a studio and newsroom for their radio and television services.
The main shopping streets in Wrexham are Bank Street, Henblas Street, High Street, King Street, Regent Street, Overton Arcade, Hope Street and Queen Street.
A cluster of retail parks are situated around the inner ring road at the Central and Border retail parks. Plas Coch and Berse retail parks are on the outskirts close to the A483. Central and Island Green retail parks are in the town centre close to Wrexham Central railway station.
In 1999, Wrexham town centre added over 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2) of retail shopping space when the Henblas Square and Island Green developments were completed. In October 2008 a 400,000 square feet (40,000 m2) development was opened at Eagles Meadow. This increases Wrexham's shopping catchment to half a million shoppers.Stores present at the site include Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, H&M, Next, River Island, TenPin and Odeon. The new development is connected to Yorke Street / High Street by an "iconic" bridge.
Traditional markets - there are three covered markets (Butter, Butchers and Peoples Markets) plus north Wales' largest open-air market based in the town centre each Monday (including Bank Holidays).
Wrexham boasts the most used Shopmobility Service in north Wales, which is free. Much of the Wrexham Town Centre is pedestrianised.
There are short stay car parks adjacent to the town centre. Long-stay parking is available at St. Marks (NCP) at the northern end of Regent Street or the larger surface park (WCBC).
Parks and open spacesEdit
Wrexham has two main town parks, these being Bellevue Park and Acton Park, and open parkland at Erddig. With the rapid development of the town in the 19th century, the need for a formal park for the growing population was identified. However it was not until 1906 that the location for the new park was agreed upon. The 'Parciau' or Bellevue Park as it became known, was built alongside the old cemetery on Ruabon Road. The park was designed to commemorate the Jubilee year of the Incorporation of Wrexham.
During the 1970s Bellevue Park was neglected and many of the amenities were in a poor state of repair. A major project was undertaken to refurbish the park back to its original splendour. This was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Urban Parks Project, Welsh Development Agency, and the European Regional Development Fund. The park reopened in June 2000. It now boasts children's play areas, a bowling green which is home to the Parciau Bowling Club, tennis and basketball courts, an original Edwardian bandstand set in an amphitheatre, and a jogging route for walkers and joggers. The park itself has many walkways through mature tree-lined avenues as well as affording some magnificent views of the Parish Church. The park is well lit and has a number of CCTV cameras installed to deter antisocial behaviour.
Bellevue Park has once again regained its popularity with the people of Wrexham. Throughout the summer months social events take place, such as music concerts for all tastes and 'Fun days' for children.
Acton Park was originally the landscaped grounds of Acton Hall. It was originally laid out in 1785 by James Wyatt on the instructions of the owner Sir Foster Cunliffe. Over the years the Estate passed through several owners. In 1947 Wrexham Council was given the Hall and Park by the then owner Alderman William Aston. A section of Acton Park was sold for housing development in the 1970s. The surviving area now covers approximately 55 acres (223,000 m2).
Acton Park features a bowling green, tennis courts, a children's play area, Japanese-style garden and a large lake which has attracted diverse wildlife. The general layout of the park has remained unchanged since it was laid out in the 18th century and now boasts many mature trees.
Llwyn Isaf, situated alongside Wrexham Guildhall, is a popular green area within the town centre. The green was originally the landscaped grounds of a mansion house known as Llwyn Isaf. It now lies at the centre of Wrexham's civic centre just off Queens Square. The Welsh Children in Need concert was held at this location in 2005.
Erddig Park is situated two miles (3 km) south of the town centre where the town meets the Clywedog Valley. The park is owned and managed by the National Trust, and is home to Erddig Hall and its formal gardens. The Park is also home to a number of notable historic features. These include a hydraulic ram known as the 'Cup and Saucer' which is used to pump water from the park to Erddig Hall, and the remains of Wristleham motte and bailey which is thought to be the beginnings of Wrexham as a town in the 12th century.
Football and Rugby League/UnionEdit
The town has a professional football team, Wrexham F.C., which compete in the English Football Conference despite being based in Wales. Currently managed by Dean Saunders, the club has a rich 130-year history and is perhaps most notable for an FA Cup upset over Arsenal F.C. in 1992. They lifted the Vans Trophy at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in May 2005, but had entered administration several months earlier and the 10-point penalty for this had caused their relegation to the basement division of the Football League. Despite the attempt to knock down the club's historic Racecourse Ground and replace it with a shopping development in 2005-06, the club's future is now assured, thanks to a consortium of local businessmen led by a local car dealer Neville Dickens and partner Geoff Moss (Geoff Moss later bought Neville Dickens Shares in the Club). However, the club's on-the-field fortunates didn't improve at they were relegated to the Football Conference in 2008, and are mid table in this particular league.
The stadium is also home to European Super League club Crusaders Rugby League since the 2010 season after their departure from southern Wales.. A consortium led by Wrexham FC chairman Geoff Moss to take over the franchise led to the relocation. In addition to some top class Australian players the club hope to develop local north Walian talent filling a void in opportunity to compete at top level in other sports in north Wales. They are coached by Brian Noble a Rugby League legend.
In their first season, they made the high profile signing of Wales RU international, Gareth Thomas.
In 2010, the Crusaders accomplished entering into the finals series of the engage Super League for the first time in their short history.
The ground has in the past also served as the secondary home of the Llanelli Scarlets, one of the four Welsh professional rugby union sides that compete in the Magners-sponsored Celtic League. They would play, on average, two games per season there, though since the problems experienced by Wrexham FC during its period in administration, and uncertainty over the future of the ground, there were no Llanelli Scarlets games played there in season 2005–6 nor were any games scheduled for the 2006–7 Magners League season. The Wales rugby union team have also played there on occasion.
Wrexham is also home to rugby union team Wrexham RFC, a team affiliated to the Welsh Rugby Union. In 1931 nine northern Welsh clubs met at Wrexham to form the North Wales Rugby Union, Wrexham RFC were one of the founders.
- Athletics: Queensway International Athletics stadium in Caia Park is Wrexham's second stadium after the Racecourse and has hosted the Welsh Open Athletics event in recent years. The stadium is also home to North Wales' largest athletics club, Wrexham Amateur Athletics Club.
- Basketball: The recently formed NEWI Nets are north Wales' highest-ranked basketball team and currently compete in English Division 2. They play at NEWI's Plas Coch sports arena.
- Hockey: Plas Coch is home to the North Wales Regional Hockey Stadium, with seating for 200 spectators and floodlighting. The stadium was due to host the 2007 Celtic Cup in July that year.
- Leisure: Wrexham has 7 leisure centres: these are Chirk, Clywedog, Darland, Gwyn Evans(Gwersyllt), Plas Madoc, Queensway, and Waterworld, they offer activities such as Swimming, aerobics, climbing walls through to Yoga.
- Tennis: Wrexham is home to the North Wales Regional Tennis Centre, which plays host to a number of international competitions each year including the 'Challenger' Series. The centre is a pay and play facility and is open 7 days a week to all members of the public. The centre is also home to the WLTA (Wrexham Lawn Tennis Association).
- Golf Wrexham has 4 golf courses: Moss Valley Golf Club, Plassey Golf Club, Wrexham Golf Club and Clays Farm Golf Club
Wrexham's former police station on Regent Street, originally the barracks for the Royal Denbighshire Militia, is now home to Wrexham County Borough Museum. The Museum has two galleries devoted to the history of the town and its surrounding communities. There is also a programme of temporary exhibitions, including an exhibition featuring the Mold Cape, the first time the Bronze Age treasure had returned to north Wales from the British Museum since its discovery in 1833. Just to the west of the town, Bersham Heritage Centre and Ironworks tell the story of John Wilkinson, the 'Iron Mad' pioneer of the Industrial Revolution. At the top end of the Clywedog Valley, about ten minutes' drive from Wrexham, Minera Lead Mines are the remains of the profitable lead industry that dates back to prehistoric times.
To the east of Wrexham, there are the remains of Holt Castle. The castle and the nearby late medieval bridge were the scene of constant skirmishes during the Civil War in the 17th century. The River Dee in this area is deep and wide. The bridge at Holt was the first crossing point south of the city of Chester and hence was of major strategic importance.
Just 2 miles (3 km) south of Wrexham town centre, Erddig, the National Trust property, was home to the Yorke family until 1973. Its last resident, Philip Yorke, handed over a house in need of restoration as years of subsidence caused by the workings of Bersham Colliery had caused a lot of damage. The house was voted one of the two most popular stately homes in the UK by a National Trust/Channel 5 publication. However, the house was not popular with Bersham miners as it stood on a pillar of coal and they had to work round it.
One thing Wrexham has always been famous for is beer. In the mid to late 19th century Wrexham had over 35 breweries, and grew a proud tradition of brewing both ale and lager. In 1882 German immigrants set up Britain's first lager brewery under the name of Wrexham Lager. In 2000 the Wrexham Lager Brewery was the last one to close. A number of the original brewery buildings remain, most notably Wrexham Lager on Central Road (offices), Soames Brewery on Yorke Street (Nags Head) and Border Brewery on Tuttle Street (converted apartments).
Wrexham's mining heritage is nearly all gone. Most former mines have been converted into industrial and business parks - one such development at Bersham Colliery has the last surviving head gear in the north Wales coalfield. Just off the A483, on the edge of Wrexham, the Gresford Disaster Memorial stands witness to the 261 miners, two rescuemen and one surface worker killed by a series of explosions in the Gresford colliery in 1934.
Wrexham has historically been home to a major barracks known locally as the hightown barracks, which was headquarters to the Royal Welch Fusiliers until it merged with the Royal Welsh as 1st Battalion in 2006 and relocated to nearby Chester. The Fusiliers also had a large drill hall on Poyser Street on the opposite side of town.
An airbase, RAF Wrexham, was used to defend the industrial centres of Liverpool and Merseyside, as well as Wrexham's Royal Ordnance Factory, ROF Wrexham from air attack during World War II, and the airfield itself had been used for training purposes since 1917. There were a few incidents in its many years of operation, and care is being taken in construction of a new road around the site to not disturb any aircraft remains. The airbase was closed in the years after the war, and the land has since been used as a quarry for the Tarmac company. While the terms of the lease mandate the land must be returned to its previous state once finished with, it is anticipated this is a pre-airfield state.
Between 1962 and 1992 there was a hardened nuclear bunker, built at Borras for No 17 Group Royal Observer Corps North Wales, who provided the field force in Western Area of the United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation and would have sounded the four minute warning alarm in the event of war and warned the population of Wrexham in the event of approaching radioactive fallout. The building was manned by up to 120 volunteers who trained on a weekly basis and wore a Royal Air Force-style uniform. After the break up of the communist bloc in 1989, the Corps was disbanded between September 1991 and December 1995. However, the nuclear bunker still stands at Borras Park. Between the ROC vacating the premises in September 1991 and its new use as a recording studio around 1993, the building was under preparation for use as the Home Office North Wales Regional Government Headquarters (RGHQ) although it is unlikely it was ever actually activated as such, given the short time-scale.
The Parish Church of St.GilesEdit
St. Giles is the Parish Church of Wrexham and is considered to be the greatest medieval church in Wales. It includes a colourful ceiling of flying musical angels, two early eagle lecterns, a window by the artist Edward Burne-Jones and the Royal Welch Fusiliers chapel. In the graveyard is the tomb of Elihu Yale who was the benefactor of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, United States and after whom Yale College Wrexham is named. As a tribute to Yale and his resting place, a scaled down replica of the church tower, known as 'Wrexham Tower' was constructed at Yale University. The tower appears in an 18th century rhyme, as one of the Seven Wonders of Wales.
St. Mary's CathedralEdit
The Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Sorrows (St. Mary's), in Regent Street, is the main Church of the Diocese of Wrexham, which extends over all of North Wales. Built in 1857 at the height of the Gothic Revival, the Cathedral was home to the Bishop of Menevia from 1898 until 1987, whose diocese covered all of Wales. However in 1987 the Catholic province of Wales was reconstructed, since which time the Cathedral has been home to the Bishop of Wrexham (now 2nd Bishop of Wrexham). The cathedral is also home to the relic of Saint Richard Gwyn, Wrexham's patron saint. He was a Catholic martyr in the 16th century and was hung, drawn and quartered at Wrexham's Beast Market. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970.
Wrexham also has a number of non-denominational chapels and churches around the town, including a corps of The Salvation Army. The main Methodist Church is Wrexham Methodist church, built in 1971 on the site of the former Brynyfynnon Chapel on Regent Street. Up until the 1970s the town had several Welsh non-denominational chapels and the attendance of these was far in excess of that of the Anglican Church in the town.
Wrexham Mosque is located in Glyndŵr University's campus. The community is currently seeking a site for a larger Mosque to be built.
In the past, Wrexham had a church with a spire much taller than the St Giles steeple. This church was dedicated and named after St Mark, but this was demolished as the building's foundations were in danger of collapse. A multi-storey car park named "St Mark's" was erected on the site.
Most recently, a new-style church has been meeting in the grounds of Glyndŵr University.
Named after the 14th Century scholar and last Welsh Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndŵr, Glyndŵr University was formed when the North East Wales Institute (NEWI) was granted full university status in 2008. It consists of Plas Coch campus in the western part of the town and the North Wales School of Art and Design located on Regent Street. The institution was originally founded in 1887 as the Wrexham School of Science and Art.
Glyndŵr remains an accredited institution of the University of Wales and offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The Vice Chancellor is Professor Michael Scott. Glyndŵr has approximately 8,000 full time students and over 350 from outside the UK.
Yale College of WrexhamEdit
Yale College / Coleg Iâl is the main provider of adult education in Wrexham, Yale College is one of the largest colleges in Wales. As a tertiary college it also provides a wide range of higher education courses at its two campuses at Grove Park in the town centre and Bersham Road in south west Wrexham.
It is named after Elihu Yale, best known for being the prime benefactor of Yale University. It was founded in 1950 as a state school on a site at Crispin Lane. In 1973, as part of the conversion of local schools to the comprehensive system, it was renamed as Yale Sixth Form College and the pupils re-located to other schools. The Crispin Lane site was incorporated into NEWI (now Glyndwr University) after the development of the Grove Park Campus.
Wrexham has a number of primary and secondary schools. It has just one Welsh-speaking secondary school, Ysgol Morgan Llwyd. Recently, three of the largest secondary schools, St David's School, Ysgol Bryn Offa and The Groves High School were merged to create two larger "super schools", Rhosnesni High School and Ysgol Clywedog. Wrexham has also become home to the first shared-faith school in Wales in the form of St Joseph's.
- Acton Park Infant School
- Acton Park Junior School
- All Saints School
- Alexandra CP School
- Barker's Lane CP
- Black Lane CP
- Borras Park Infant School
- Borras Park Junior School
- Brynteg CP
- Bwlchgwyn CP
- Gwenfro Infant School
- Gwenfro Junior School
- Gwersyllt Community Primary School
- Hafod y Wern Infant School
- Hafod y Wern Juniors CP
- Rhosddu CP
- Tanyfron CP
- The Rofft CP School
- St Anne's Catholic Primary
- St Giles Primary School
- St Mary's Catholic Primary
- St Mary's Church School (church in Wales)
- St Peter's Church School (church in Wales)
- Victoria CP School
- Wat's Dyke CP
- Ysgol Bodhyfryd CP
- Ysgol Bryn Tabor CP
- Ysgol Deiniol
- Ysgol Y Garth
- Ysgol Plas Coch CP
- Ysgol Penrhyn CP
- Ysgol Penygelli
- Ysgol Heulfan
- Ysgol Y Grango
- Ysgol Bryn Alyn
- St Christopher's
- Darland High School
- St Joseph's Catholic and Anglican High School
- Rhosnesni High School
- Ysgol Clywedog
- Ysgol Rhiwabon
- Ysgol Morgan Llwyd
- The Maelor School
The first twinning was established on 17 March 1970 between the former Kreis Iserlohn and Wrexham Rural District. Its early success ensured that, after local government reorganisation in both countries in the mid-seventies, the twinning was taken over by the new Councils of Märkischer Kreis and Wrexham Maelor Borough Council and, in 1996, by Wrexham County Borough Council.
In 2001 Märkischer Kreis entered a twinning arrangement with Racibórz (Ratibor), a county in Poland, which was formerly part of Silesia, Germany. In September 2002, a delegation from Racibórz visited Wrexham and began initial discussions about possible co-operation which led, eventually, to the signing of Articles of Twinning between Wrexham and Racibórz in March 2004. The Wrexham area has strong historical links with Poland. Following World War II, many service personnel from the Free Polish armed forces who had been injured received treatment at Penley Polish Hospital. Many of their descendants remain in the area to this day.
Wrexham has two railway stations, Wrexham General and Wrexham Central. Until the early 1980s what is now platform 4 of Wrexham General, serving the Wrexham Central - Bidston service, was a separate station, Wrexham Exchange. Rail use is currently expanding rapidly in Wrexham; General has seen a 12% rise in passenger numbers between 2004 and 2007, Central seeing an increase of 18%.
- Wrexham General
Wrexham General was opened in 1846, rebuilt in 1912 and again in 1997. It has six platforms (four through, two terminal) and provides direct rail services to Bangor, Birmingham, Crewe, Milton Keynes, Rugby, Cardiff, Chester, Holyhead, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Banbury and London.
Wrexham General is also the base for the train operating company Wrexham & Shropshire (the operating name of the Wrexham, Shropshire and Marylebone Railway Company). The company provides passenger train services from Wrexham via Shropshire to London Marylebone on an open-access basis. Services started in 2008 with an agreement for a seven year period. Wrexham & Shropshire began running services on 28 April 2008.
All local services that operate from Wrexham Central also run through General.
- Wrexham Central
Wrexham Central, which is located on the Island Green retail park, has one platform but splits into two tracks on the outskirts of the town. It provides direct rail services to Bidston (where there are connections to Liverpool and West Kirby), Buckley, Caergwrle, Cefn-y-Bedd, Gwersyllt, Hawarden, Hawarden Bridge, Heswall, Hope, Neston, Penyffordd, Shotton and Upton (Wirral). Until the 1998 construction of the Island Green retail park, Wrexham Central station was located 50 metres further along the track.
Plans are afoot to electrify the Borderlands line which runs through General and Central to Deeside and the Wirral. This would increase capacity and accelerate speeds on the line.
- Local stations
There are a further three local stations in the Borough at Chirk, Ruabon and Gwersyllt, with plans to re-open at least another two over the next few years at Rossett and Johnstown. Plans also include a 'Park and Rail' service from one of these locations into Wrexham Central, to ease current traffic congestion and pressure on town centre car parks.
A recent focus on road transport by the council has improved bus travel in the Wrexham area, with most buses being low-floor and with slightly elevated bus stops to allow easier access. A new bus terminal, the largest in north Wales, has been built in Wrexham, featuring indoor shops and "ambient music", along with a staffed information booth. The bus station serves local, regional and long-distance bus services. It is served by various bus companies, including Arriva Buses Wales, GHA Coaches and Townlynx. Long-distance coaches are available to Edinburgh and London.
The "Wrexham shuttle" provides a link between Wrexham and the nearby industrial estate; there is a similar one in operation in the Deeside area.
Wrexham is served by the National Express coach network, it picks up from the Wrexham bus station.
Wrexham is one of the first areas in the United Kingdom to adopt the use of the distinctive yellow American Bluebird school buses. 10 currently operate in the Wrexham area, transporting pupils to and from the schools and colleges.
The town centre is orbited by a ring road. The northern and eastern parts of the road are dualled between Rhosddu Road roundabout and Eagles Meadow. The ring road and Mold Road/Regent Street are the main sources of congestion in the town. Park and Ride facilities have been introduced on a weekend basis, however future plans to extend the service are to be discussed.
The A483 is Wrexham's principal route. It skirts the western edge of the town, dividing it from the urban villages to the west. The road has connections with major roads (A55(M53), A5(M54)).
The A5156 leads to the A534 and on to the Wrexham Industrial Estate.
Wrexham has many major plans for the future. The WDA (Welsh Development Agency) (now disbanded), had earmarked Wrexham as a potential transport hub. The UK capital of culture for 2008, Liverpool, has also donated £100,000 to a study of electrification of the Wrexham to Bidston railway line, and a possible rail link to the North Wales coast line. This would open new rail links to the east, and the urban area of Liverpool.
With house prices rising rapidly in this area, the council has made many plans for massive suburban housing estates to be built. One, near Ysgol Clywedog, will include a small shopping centre and another primary school.
- Jack Mary Ann - a local folk hero who lived in the Top Boat House area of Broughton
- Hannah Blore- Byte Class; Women's World Champion, 2005, 2008
- David Bower - a deaf actor who is best known for his role as David, the younger brother of Charles, in the comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral.
- George Borowski - guitarist and singer-songwriter, who has gained an indirect claim to immortality as Guitar George, a guitar player in the Dire Straits hit Sultans of Swing
- Brent Cockbain - current (naturalised) Welsh rugby international, lives in Wrexham area and married to a girl from Gresford
- Karen Davies - a professional golfer who has played on the LPGA Tour since 1990
- Charles Harold Dodd (1884–1973) - eminent New Testament scholar and influential Protestant theologian
- Percy William Dodd (1889–1931) - classics lecturer at the University of Leeds and captain in the West Yorkshire Regiment during the Great War
- Arthur Herbert Dodd (1891–1975) - Welsh historian and professor of history at University College, Bangor
- Rosemarie Frankland - beauty pageant contestant who won the 1961 Miss United Kingdom and Miss World.
- Bruce Grobbelaar - (born 1957), football player who lived in the area during his time as a goalkeeper at Liverpool FC
- Amy Guy current gladiator 'SIREN' on the TV show of the same name.Member of British Team in horse riding. Miss Wales 2004 Miss World Sport 2004. Miss United Kingdom 2005.
- Saint Richard Gwyn - (1535–1584) - Catholic Martyr and Patron Saint of Wrexham
- Edwin Hughes - ("Balaclava Ned") (1830–1927), the last survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava in the Crimea
- Mark Hughes - former footballer and former manager of Manchester City
- Tom James - Olympic Gold Medallist Rower.
- George Jeffreys - (1645–1689) 'The Hanging Judge' of Acton Hall in Acton
- Darren Jeffries - Hollyoaks actor
- David Jones - Former Manchester United and Derby County footballer. Presently plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers.
- Joey Jones - football player who played for Liverpool, Chelsea and Wrexham
- Paul Jones - retired Welsh international footballer.
- Rob Jones - footballer who played for Liverpool FC
- K-Klass - dance music group
- Jason Koumas - footballer with Wigan Athletic
- David Lord - (1913–1944), Irish born holder of the Victoria Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross.
- Andy Moore - Neath/Swansea Rugby Club & Wales International.
- Jonathon O'Dougherty - British National Ice Dance champion
- John Godfrey Parry-Thomas - (1884–1927), engineer and racing driver.
- Leigh Richmond Roose - Welsh international footballer who played for Stoke City, Sunderland and Celtic amongst others.
- Robbie Savage - current Derby County footballer and Wales international.
- Andrew Scott (guitarist) - guitarist with 70's glam rock band The Sweet
- Dennis Taylor - ex snooker World Champion, currently living in Llay
- Ricky Tomlinson - (born 1939), actor mainly known for his role in The Royle Family.
- Tim Vincent - former Blue Peter presenter, now Access Hollywood reporter.
- Robert Waithman - (1764–1833), born in Wrexham, became Lord Mayor of London in 1823
- John 'Iron-Mad' Wilkinson - (1728–1808) Son of Isaac, known for Bersham Ironworks in the town and producing canons for the American civil war
- Mike Williams - Founder and Editor of Kruger Magazine. Record of the Day Awards 2009 Editor of the Year.
- Llŷr Williams - Welsh pianist, received the Outstanding Young Artist Award from MIDEM Classique and the International Artist Managers' Association.
- Elihu Yale - (1649–1721), businessman and benefactor of Yale University.
- Richard Nixon - 37th President of the United States was a descendant of the local gentry family, the Puleston's. Richard Nixon is descended from the 15th Century gentleman John Puleston. The Puleston manor stood on what is now Caia Park.
- Russel Crowe - Hollywood actor, star of Gladiator, is the grandson of a Wrexham grocer. The business, now closed, was called Crowe Fruit, and used to operate out of Lambpit Street, Wrexham - now the site of Wrexham Council offices.
- ^ ONS Statistics for Urban Areas 2001
- ^ Eagles Meadow website
- ^ "BBC News, UK House prices, Local authority". BBC News. 2010-03-16. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/in_depth/uk_house_prices/las/html/las.stm?q.
- ^ BBC: Your 20 Hidden Tourist Gems
- ^ Latest Wrexham News - Wrexham entrepreneurs lead the way
- ^ WrexhamMusic website
- ^ Central Station website
- ^ NEWI Student's Union website
- ^ http://www.superleague.co.uk/article.php?id=16080
- ^ Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881-1981, David Smith, Gareth Williams (1980) pg 271 ISBN 0708307663
- ^ Wrexham Industrial Estate Environmental statement North
- ^ Borras Quarry Landscape assessment, 2002 Retrieved June 20, 2010
- ^ "UKWMO Group Controls". Subbrit.org.uk. http://www.subbrit.org.uk/rsg/roc/group_hq.html. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
- ^ Church Network
- ^ News - Wrexham Mosque
- ^ http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2008/06/28/booming-time-for-the-trains-in-wrexham-55578-21165396%7CDaily Post - Wrexham sharp increased in rail usage
- ^ "ORR announces decision on additional services between London and Wrexham" (Press release). Office of Rail Regulation. 2007-09-03. http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.8899. Retrieved 2007-09-03.
- ^ "New direct rail service launches this April". Wrexham & Shropshire. http://www.wrexhamandshropshire.co.uk/item.php?id=22&type=1. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
- ^ Clinnick, Richard (May 7–20, 2008). "40 years on – Wrexham and Shropshire takes to the rails". Rail 591: 6–7.
- Wrexham County Borough Council
- wrexhammusic.co.uk - online hub for music in Wrexham
- Wrexham Arts - a online hub for arts, culture and entertainment in Wrexham
- North Wales wrestling school
- British Wrestling
- Local History — Wrexham (BBC)
- Wrexham Today - Wrexham portal
- 360 Degree Panoramic View of Queens Square (BBC) (Java required)
- Yellow buses fleet in Wrexham
- Evening Leader
- 12th Man - Wrexham FC Supporters site
- Francis Frith Historic Photos of Wrexham (mainly from 1895)
- The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust
- Wrexham Musical Theatre Trust
- Calon FM - Wrexham Community Radio
- Ysgol Clywedog
- Rhosnesni High School
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