THE CHANGING FACE OF WREXHAM Click on the pictures to see a larger version Anyone who has not visited Wrexham for a year or two will be amazed at the transformation taking place. These photographs taken on Sunday 10 January 1999 and 19 December 1999 illustrate just some of the major changes. It would have been difficult to imagine back in 1997 that so much developent could take place before the turn of the century.
Jan 99 Dec 99 The diverted River Gwenfro
Jan 99 Dec 99 The St Giles Link Road, Dec 99 The St Giles Link Road between Brook Street and Salop Road was completed during 1999. Apart from the improved traffic flow, the good news is that the development includes extensive landscaping- the River Gwenfro has been made into a feature and looks clean enough for trout! Anyone who knows Wrexham would find this difficult to believe; it has been little better than an open sewer for as long as anyone can remember and has been the subject of many a local joke. Fishing in the Gwenfro would have been unlikely to produce anything better than a dead rat (poisoned by the effluent) or an Asda shopping trolley. Wrexham now has a river (or at least a brook) to enjoy. I look forward to the summer when we expect to see families enjoying a picnic whilst sunning themselves on the banks of the Gwenfro. I'll add the pictures as soon as possible. Watch this space! Dec 99 Also included in the landscaping is this imaginative stainless steel sculpture / retaining wall. It has received mixed comment from locals but I'm sure it will be accepted as quite attractive provided it really is stainless! The Old Three Tuns Inn on Brook Street, newly renovated as the Wrexham Rail Club Jan 99
The Island Green Development Following Brook Street past the Old Three Tuns and up to Pentrefelin the next major development comes into view. The Island Green area in the valley between Pentrefelin and the town centre has long been derelict but now the old Island Green Brewery buildings including two oast houses have been restored as a residential development. Again, an area long out of view is now an attractive part of town. Jan 99 Dec 99 The old Island Green brewery with its twin oast houses and tower from the rear of the Mitre Inn..... ....and from the Island Green shopping complex. Note the River Gwenfro running alongside the building. Jan 99
The Island Green Shopping Complex
Dec 99 Included in the development is a large car park and a new shopping complex which stretches from Watery Road to the St Marks multi-storey car park and right across the original Central Station site. Jan 99 from Watery Road roundabout Dec 99 To allow this development to take place, the Central Station has been relocated back along the line to just past the Bradley Road bridge. This originally led to many complaints from users of the service due the difficult access and the increased distance from the town centre. This was understandable, but now the development is complete this will not really the case as it now stands within the new shopping complex and the town centre has effectively moved towards the Island Green area. This line has long been under threat of closure, and it is hoped that the new developments will breathe new life into the service. Jan 99 The new Central Station from Bradley Road bridge Dec 99 The new Central Station entrance and Argos store, with St Marks multi-storey car park in the background
WREXHAM LAGER It is a sad irony that, despite the bright future that all these developments should bring the town, the Wrexham Lager Brewery on the opposite side of Bradley Road from the Central Station is almost certainly in its last year of operation. Now owned by Carlsberg Tetley, this once independent brewery with a long and fascinating history seems certain to close immediately after the millennium celebrations subside and the demand for beer returns to normal levels. This was the first lager brewery in Britain. Opened in 1882, it once supplied lager to the passenger liners operating out of Liverpool and exported lager all over the World. Lager was consumed in Wrexham for generations before it became popular throughout the country in the seventies. I can remember travelling away from Wrexham in the late sixties and having to stop landlords putting lime in my lager. In those days, apart from in Wrexham, lager was a ladies' drink sold in half pints and always with lime! The Brewery Jan 99
Queen Street Jan 99 The Vegetable Market was demolished some years ago in a move that was unpopular with the people of Wrexham. This airy Victorian building housed a lively market and its high glass panelled roof gave it an outdoor feel whilst offering complete protection from the weather. The fact that the site was left derelict for years following the demolition, with various prospective developers pulling out, led to protracted debates both in the council chambers and in the local press. Finally, however, the development is now complete, further enhancing the town centre. New stores include British Homes Stores and J.T. Hughes. A picture will be added as soon as possible.
Wrexham Water World Jan 99 Another building which was under threat of demolition has been completely renovated. This eye-catching swimming baths with its futuristic parabolic roof was originally constructed in the sixties and maintenance costs have been a drain on the rate payer ever since. The reinforced concrete construction has suffered from numerous problems due to the design, the effect of the damp and chlorine in the air on the inside and weathering on the outside. It is to be hoped that the modern materials and finishes used in the renovation will be more durable. On a more positive note, the facilities are now excellent and have proved highly popular particularly with the young. The diving pool has been replaced with a helter-skelter style water slide, there are now two small pools for children and a swimming pool. One of the criticisms of the original layout was that viewing facilities were poor. This has been rectified with a large terraced seating area being provided along one side of the main pool. There is also a gym, sun beds and a cafe.
Yale College Jan 99 The old War Memorial Hospital has at last been renovated and extended to form a new Yale College. Again, there was fierce debate in the council chambers and the local press about the best use for the site. It almost became another shopping complex, but eventually the college won the argument and there can be few in the town who would not agree that it was the right decision. The complete front block of the original building remains and forming a suitable frontage and the vast extension behind has been tastefully designed to have a thoroughly modern appearance whilst blending well with the original brickwork. The addition of this facility is sure to enable the college to achieve university status in due course.
Wrexham General Station Jan 99
High Street Dec 99 The High Street pedestrianisation scheme is now all but complete. Vehicles have limited access down a narrow single carriageway, but as you can see, the pedestrian area has been greatly extended and new Victorian style lamp standards and other furniture has been added. Further developments in 2000 plus more photographs of Wrexham Back to Home Page Updated 28/01/01