Former Aberfalls Margarine Factory, Abergwyngregyn

Aber Falls Margarine Factory

Former Aberfalls Margarine Factory

Date

17 January 2016

Location

Abergwyngregyn
SH 65258 73156; 53.23827°N, 4.02041°W

Information

The station, which closed in the 1960s and is now in residential use, on the then Chester and Holyhead Railway (now the North Wales Coast line) at Abergwyngregyn opened in 1848. A siding from the main line served a factory, which appeared in the 1889 edition of the Ordnance Survey map*, close to the station. This factory was originally owned by the Penrhyn Estate and produced writing slates. It was powered by a water wheel fed from a weir on the Afon Aber, which flows alongside the premises. Raw material was transported to the factory by road from Penrhyn Quarry and the finished product was shipped via its rail link. The factory was taken over by the Pure Margarine Company Ltd and was then known as the Aberfalls Margarine Factory (although the site lies some 3.5 km downstream from the actual falls). The factory was at some stage also used as a woollen mill. Its most recent use was as a wholesale beer, wines and spirits warehouse, originally owned by De Vere Group subsidiary Tavern Group Ltd, but sold together with 11 other depots in 2001 to Classic Drinks Ltd, a subsidiary of Halewood International Holdings . The half-hectare plot with its warehouse and office block is currently on the market for £280,000.

(*The 1889 Ordnance Survey map denotes it as a Writing Slate Manufactory, the 1937 one as a Bottling Depot and the 1945 one as a Margarine Factory.)

Further Reading

Margarine Works (abergwyngregyn.co.uk)

SEE MORE →

Pontio I

Pontio, Bangor

Pontio, Bangor

Date

2 January 2016

Location

Deiniol Road, Bangor
SH 57929 72174; 53.22753°N, 4.12972°W

Information

The Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre opened with its full programme of events in December 2015. The 10,600 square-metre complex is built on six levels on the sloping site from the Memorial Arch in Deiniol Road up to the University’s Main Arts Building in Upper Bangor. The centre features a 450-seat theatre (Theatr Bryn Terfel), a 120-seat Studio Theatre and a 200-seat cinema, together with bars and a restaurant. Also housed in the complex are teaching and student facilities including the new Students’ Union and a 450-seat lecture theatre.

In 1975 Bangor University, then the University College of North Wales, opened the 344-seat Theatr Gwynedd, which served the city for over 30 years. In 2007 the University announced its intention of replacing Theatr Gwynedd with a new arts venue and in 2008, despite local opposition, the theatre was closed. The project to construct a successor was, however, fraught with difficulties and delays and it was to be another seven years before the new Pontio complex finally opened.

In 2010 Theatr Gwynedd and the old Students’ Union building were demolished to make way and the design work for the new centre was started. The cost was to be £35 million, construction was to begin in summer 2010, and the centre was to open by winter 2012. £15 million of funding was secured from the Welsh Assembly Government and £12.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund, with additional funding coming from the Art Council of Wales and the University itself.

The project was officially launched in January 2011, with the completion date then moving back to spring 2013. There was a row with the Welsh Language Board over the project and later that year Pontio’s Chief Executive unexpectedly resigned.

In March 2012 construction was expected to commence in the summer, with costs then rising to £40 million. The foundation stone was, however, not laid until January 2013 with completion then re-scheduled for 2014 and costs further rising to £44 million.

The gala opening performance of October 2014 was cancelled at short notice and it was announced that the opening would be delayed until February 2015. It was, however, to be a year before the first public events were held at the venue, with building issues, including construction mistakes and extensive water damage, being blamed for the late completion of the centre, whose final cost was over £49 million.

Further Reading

Pontio

SEE MORE →

The Kelpies

The Kelpies

The Kelpies

Date

24 December 2015

Location

Helix Park, Falkirk
NS 90621 82170; 56.01990°N, 3.75630°W

Information

The Kelpies are a pair of 30-metre-high, 300-tonne steel horse-head sculptures standing at the entrance to the Forth and Clyde Canal in Helix Park, Falkirk next to the M9 motorway.

The work was designed by Glasgow-based sculptor Andy Scott (b 1964), who specialises in public art, and it opened to the public in April 2014. The name, which refers to the Scottish folkloric malevolent shape-shifting water spirit often taking the appearance of a horse, was chosen by Scottish Canals at the outset of the project in 2005. Scott, however, developed the theme as a tribute to the heavy draft animals that played such a prominent role in the industrial history of the area. He modelled his 1:10 scale, hand-welded maquettes for the sculptures on two Clydesdale horses, Duke and Baron, who made a guest appearance at the official ‘topping out’ ceremony at the end of construction in November 2013.

The three-metre-high maquettes were laser scanned in order to fabricate the corresponding full-scale steel components. These were manufactured by Yorkshire-based SH Structures Ltd, who also erected the sculptures on site in 90 days. The sculptures stand by the new ‘Kelpies Hub’ turning basin and extension to the canal linking it to the North Sea, both of which opened for boating at the same time as the sculptures opened to the public. The Kelpies cost £5 million and were funded by the National Lottery, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals.

The £1.8 million visitor centre was designed by Dundee architects Nicol Russell Studios and opened to the public in October 2015.

On 1 April 2015 The Scotsman newspaper ran an April Fool’s story stating that £2 million of remedial work, which would involved closing the attraction for up to a year, would be necessary to repair rust damage to the foundations of the sculptures. The problem was first discovered, so the story claimed, when American tourist Flora Pilo (an anagram of April Fool!) noticed the horses’ heads sinking downwards in a ten-minute time-lapse video she had recorded on a visit to the site.

Further Reading

The Kelpies (The Helix)

SEE MORE →

Cockpen Churchyard

Cockpen Churchyard

Cockpen Churchyard

Date

25 December 2015

Location

Cockpen, Bonnyrigg
NT 31906 64223; 55.86633°N, 3.08963°W

Information

Cockpen Parish Church, situated to the south of the town of Bonnyrigg, was designed in 1816 by Scottish architect Richard Crichton (c 1771-1817), who had trained under John and Robert Adam and was a burgess of the city of Edinburgh. Following his death, however, the church was built between 1817 and 1820 by his former apprentices the brothers Richard and Robert Dickson, who took over his practice and completed a number of other unfinished projects.

In 1975 the nearby parish of Carrington, whose church building was later converted for commercial use, was merged with Cockpen. Cockpen Church is owned by The Church of Scotland and is still in use, although the position of Minister is currently vacant. The church is a Category A listed building.

Further Reading

Cockpen and Carrington Parish Church (Wikipedia)

SEE MORE →

Edinburgh’s Christmas 2015

Edinburgh's Christmas 2015, Princes Street Gardens

Edinburgh’s Christmas 2015, Princes Street Gardens

Date

26 December 2015

Location

Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
NT 25411 73849; 55.95184°N, 3.19604°W

St Andrew’s Square, Edinburgh
NT 25571 74115; 55.95425°N, 3.19355°W

Information

Edinburgh’s Christmas is a programme of events and activities taking place in a number of sites in the city centre from 20 November 2015 until 4 January 2016. St Andrew’s Square hosts the Scottish Market, an ice rink and a show venue The Spiegeltent. Located in East Princes Street Gardens are various funfair attractions – including a Ferris wheel, helter skelter and ice rink – together with a traditional European Christmas market.

Further Reading

Edinburgh’s Christmas

SEE MORE →