GeoTopoi

Places and photographs

Celtic Gateway Bridge, Holyhead

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Celtic Gateway Bridge

Celtic Gateway Bridge

Date

12 October 2014
Location

Holyhead

SH 24734 82469; 53.31006°N, 4.63213°W

Information

A ten-year regeneration strategy for the town of Holyhead was launched in 2003. A central element of this was improving access between the town centre and the ferry terminal and railway station, with the hopes of enticing more of the 2.4 million passengers using the port each year into the town and thereby improving its economy. Taking centre stage in the plans was the £7.5m Celtic Gateway project. This involved creating a walkway between the port’s railway station and the High Street and was funded by the EU Objective One programme, the Welsh Assembly Government and the erstwhile Welsh Development Agency. The pedestrian link comprises two bridges: a causeway bridge over the Inner Harbour and the adjoining Celtic Gateway Bridge crossing Victoria Road and the West Dock railway lines. The latter bridge was envisaged as an iconic landmark giving ferry visitors from Ireland a dramatic first impression of the town.

Work on the 128m-long, 4m-wide causeway bridge, which was designed and built by Dartford-based multinational construction company Laing O’Rourke, commenced in February 2004. Construction of the Celtic Gateway bridge, which was designed by engineering consultants Gifford (now part of the Denmark-based international consulting group Ramboll), fabricated by Cimolai SpA in Italy, and assembled by Laing O’Rourke, started in November 2005 and was completed in October 2006.

The Celtic Gateway Bridge was built in lean duplex stainless steel and its 70m main-span is supported by two 15-tonne welded inclined-plane tubular arches 1m in diameter and 8m high. Three months after its opening there were complaints over unsightly brown stains forming on the bridge. It turned out that the contractors had incorrectly used iron bolts instead of stainless steel fittings and these were corroding with the rust staining the concrete.

Further Reading

Bridges to lead town regeneration (BBC News, 18 Oct 2006);
Bolts rusting on £5m ‘gleaming icon’ bridge (Daily Post, 24 Jan 2007)

 

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Written by Graham Stephen

October 26, 2014 at 9:12 am

The Dome

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Sports Dome, Canolfan Brailsford

Sports Dome, Canolfan Brailsford

Date

4 October 2014
Location

Canolfan Brailsford Sports Centre, Bangor

SH 57147 71947; 53.22529°N, 4.14132°W

Information

Bangor University’s Ffriddoedd accommodation site dates back to the 1940s, with more modern halls of residence being added in the 1990s and again in 2009. In 1998 a £1.65m sports centre, known as Maes Glas, was also built at the complex. A £2.5m renovation of this university sports facility, which is also open to the public, started in 2013 and was completed in July 2014. The centre was renamed the Canolfan Brailsford Sports Centre, in honour of Deiniolen-bred David Brailsford, former performance director of British Cycling, under whose coaching the British team won 12 medals at the London 2012 Olympics. The centre’s sports dome, which was opened in 2013 by Sebastian Coe, houses indoor netball and tennis courts.

Further Reading

Canolfan Brailsford Sports Centre (Bangor University)

 

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Written by Graham Stephen

October 23, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Now and then IV: Tanrhiw Road, Tregarth

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Tanrhiw Road, Tregarth

Tanrhiw Road, Tregarth

Date

21 September 2014
Location

Tregarth

SH 60380 68039; 53.19104°N, 4.09121°W

Information

During the Great Strike of 1900-1903 at his slate quarry in Bethesda, the 2nd Baron Penrhyn built a row of houses in the nearby village of Tregarth as accommodation for strike-breaking quarrymen. Locally known as Stryd y Gynffon (Traitors’ Row), Tanrhiw Road was laid out next to the railway station on the Bethesda branch of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), which had opened in 1884. Passenger traffic on this branch line ceased in 1951 and the track was completely closed in 1963, with the station being demolished in the 1980s. A community centre and recreation ground now occupy the site of the former railway and station.

 

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Written by Graham Stephen

October 19, 2014 at 7:45 am

Now and then III: Shiloh Chapel, Tregarth

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Shiloh Chapel, Tregarth

Shiloh Chapel, Tregarth

Date

20 September 2014
Location

Tregarth

SH 60123 67976; 53.19040°N, 4.09503°W

Information

With there having been a Methodist presence in the local area since the 18th century, Shiloh Welsh Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Tregarth was first built in 1829 and then rebuilt in 1896. The adjacent manse, which is now a B & B, was built in 1857. The chapel is a Grade II listed building and is still in use.

 

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Written by Graham Stephen

October 16, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Now and then II: High Street, Bethesda

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High Street, Bethesda Now and Then

High Street, Bethesda – Now and Then

Date

26 September 2014
Location

Bethesda

SH 62146 66846; 53.18079°N, 4.06429°W

 

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Written by Graham Stephen

October 14, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Now and then I: Penrhyn Quarry

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Penrhyn Quarry from Pantdreiniog, Bethesda

Penrhyn Quarry from Pantdreiniog, Bethesda – Now and Then

Date

13 September 2014
Location

Pantdreiniog, Bethesda

SH 62359 66882; 53.18116°N, 4.06111°W

Information

Pantdreiniog slate quarry in Bethesda opened c 1825 with local proprietors. Its ownership subsequently changed a number of times and in the 1890s it was sold to a Cardiff company by Liverpool builder John Williams, who had worked it for close to 40 years. In 1903 it was acquired by a London company created with the purpose of providing work for striking quarrymen from Penrhyn Quarry. Little evidence is visible today of the workings at this quarry, most of the site now being landscaped open ground at the back of the High Street.

 

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Written by Graham Stephen

October 11, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Great Strike Memorial, Bethesda

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Great Strike Memorial in the garden of the Welsh Presbyterian Jerusalem Chapel, Bethesda

Great Strike Memorial in the garden of the Welsh Presbyterian Jerusalem Chapel, Bethesda

Date

27 September 2014
Location

Bethesda

SH 62443 66693; 53.17948°N, 4.05979°W

Information

This slate slab was placed in the garden of Jerusalem Chapel (Welsh Presbyterian Church) in Bethesda in 2000, the centenary of the start of the Great Strike, which commenced on 22 November 1900 and lasted for three years. The monument was erected by the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU), with which the Quarrymen’s Union had merged in the 1950s, and which, in turn, later became part of the Unite union.

At the end of the 19th century, Penrhyn Quarry, owned by George Sholto Gordon Douglas-Pennant (1836 – 1907), 2nd Baron Penrhyn of Llandygai, was the largest slate quarry in the world and had a workforce of 2,800 men. When George Sholto assumed control of the quarry he set about reforming its management to maximise his profits and started by disbanding the elected quarrymen’s committee that had played a role in the administration of the quarry under his father’s ownership. Conditions at the quarry were dangerous and extremely harsh, and the rewards for the quarrymen meagre. Following a number of disputes, the North Wales Quarrymen’s Union was formed in 1874 and an 11-month strike in 1896 was unsuccessful in securing a minimum wage. In 1900, union activities at the quarry were banned which sparked a series of events that culminated in what was to become the longest industrial dispute in British history. All the workers withdrew their labour and the quarry was closed until June 1901 when only 242 men returned to work, joined by a number of new recruits. Despite the dire hardships, the strikers held out for three years before returning to the quarry after the General Federation of Trade Unions stopped paying strike pay to the men. During this period many had left the area in search of work elsewhere and the divisive effects of the conflict were to be felt by the community for generations to come.

What I Saw At Bethesda

The reformist newspaper The Daily News, which had been founded in 1846 by Charles Dickens, sent its Special Correspondent Charles Sheridan Jones (1876 – 1925) to Bethesda in order to cover the story of the strike. His articles for the paper provided first-hand accounts of the plight of the quarrymen and also the effects the dispute was having on the local community. A collection of these articles was published in 1903 in the book What I Saw At Bethesda. Jones also played a part in distributing money from the relief fund organised by the newspaper. To mark the centenary of the end of the strike, the book was republished in 2003 by Gomer Press with an interesting biographical introduction by J Elwyn Hughes. Hughes also illustrated the original text with contemporary images from the local area.

Further Reading

The Great Strike at Penrhyn Quarry, 1900-03 (Unite);
The Penrhyn Quarry Great Strike, 1900-1903 (Snowdonia National Park);
Jones, Charles Sheridan, What I Saw At Bethesda, R Brimley Johnson, London, 1903. (Republished with an introduction by J Elwyn Hughes, Gomer Press, Llandysul, 2003.);
Other posts about Penrhyn Quarry

 

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Written by Graham Stephen

October 9, 2014 at 7:08 pm

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