WORK has begun to help preserve some of Wrexham’s most important industrial heritage.
Vegetation and loose materials have been cleared from some of the main structures at the former iron and steelworks in Brymbo, including the charging wall and the old number one furnace, both dating from the 1790s.
The work follows a study of the condition of buildings in the Brymbo Heritage Area. It was commissioned by Wrexham Council, Cadw and Brymbo Developments in the wake of extensive damage caused by March’s heavy snow and years of natural decay.
The company Orbis Asset Integrity has given the time and expertise of six of its team to provide tree surgery and building maintenance on site for free.
The team accessed the ancient structures by rope rather than scaffolding, getting straight to the heart of problems that threaten to cause even more damage.
Brymbo Heritage Group is overseeing the conservation and development of the site.
Chairman Colin Davies, said: “Left untouched the small trees and shrubs that have steadily grown out of the vertical walls would have provided gathering points for the snow, allowing the weight of the snow to turn the tree roots into powerful levers capable of damaging whole sections of stone and brick work. We are delighted Orbis has lent a hand, or two.
“It’s a sign of more positive things to come.
“There’s more work needed to save several other buildings, including two where the roofs collapsed last winter, and we’re making progress to secure some funding to pay for work to make them safe."
Orbis managing director Paul Jackson said: “The task of clearing the vegetation is easy enough, but getting to it, well that's the real trick. As experts in rope access we were only too happy to help.”
The heritage group is also hoping to develop a master plan for the area to consider how the buildings associated with Brymbo’s industrial past can be combined with its ancient fossil forest to provide a tourist, education, and business growth centre in the future.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded the group £97,500 to help develop the community's ideas for the site.
The group has now appointed Wrexham Council's former community regeneration manager Gary Brown to lead this aspect.
Mr Brown said: “There’s a huge story to be told in Brymbo, from the way coal was formed here at the time of the dinosaurs and the factors that helped make the site so ideal for iron making, through to the way the closure of the steelworks still affects village life today.
“The lottery wants to help ensure these stories are preserved and told for future generations, and there's plenty of scope for people to get involved.”
Brymbo Heritage Group will have a stand as part of the Brymbo Christmas fair on Sunday at the Enterprise Centre on Blast Road. Mr Davies said he was keen for people to share with the group their views.