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)

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Garreg Fawr / Ystrad (Silurian) Iron Mines

Garreg Fawr / Ystrad Iron Mines

Garreg Fawr / Ystrad Iron Mines

Date

12 July 2014
Location

Betws Garmon

SH 54415 57925; 53.09859°N, 4.17583°W

Information

Visible from a distance as a diagonal gash in the mountainside above Betws Garmon, the workings for iron on the western flank of Moel Eilio form a series of opencuts and adits. These were operated as two separate concerns, divided by an opposing diagonal created by a parish boundary wall. The lower was known as the Ystrad or Silurian mine, the upper as Garreg Fawr.

Up until 1900, Ystrad mine consisted only of small opencast workings and was developed on a larger scale from 1909 by the Bettws Garmon Iron Ore and Smelting Company. A tramway connected the mine to the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway (NWNGR) – the forerunner of the Welsh Highland Railway (WHR). The company soon changed its name to the Phosphoric Iron Ore Company. In financial straits, it was taken over (on paper) in 1913 by a new entity, the Silurian Iron Ore Company, the former company’s assets, but not its liabilities, being transferred to the new company. The mine closed in 1919.

Garreg Fawr mine originated as an unsuccessful trial for copper ore. Iron ore was instead mined there for a period in the 1840s and the site was worked in conjunction with the nearby slate quarry in the 1860s by the Garreg Fawr Slate and Mineral Company. The mine was thereafter operated sporadically under a number of different proprietors until being acquired in 1907 by Wolverhampton-based Alfred Hickman Ltd. Major developments were undertaken at this time, including the construction of a 4.7 km long aerial ropeway. This conveyed buckets of ore up over the shoulder of the hill, via the col Bwlch y groes, and then down to Llanberis. The ropeway terminus, on the banks of Llyn Padarn, joined a siding of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). The mine closed in 1913 and enjoyed a brief burst of activity during World War I when access to foreign sources of iron was under threat.

Further Reading

Ystrad/ Garreg Fawr Iron Mines (Treasure Maps);
Dr Gwynfor Pierce-Jones, “Iron Ore Mines of Betws and Waunfawr”, Welsh Highland Heritage No 39, March 2008

 

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