Dragon tower businessman offers to house historic artefact

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

THE businessman behind the proposed 200ft high “Waking The Dragon” tower said he would be “delighted” to use it to house one of North Wales’ most precious artefacts.

The 3,400-year-old Gold Cape, which dates back to the Bronze Age, was discovered by workmen digging for stone at Bryn yr Ellyllon in 1833.

It is currently kept at the British Museum in London but Plaid Cymru parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd has said it should come back to Wales.

Council chiefs in Mold have rejected the idea, mainly on the grounds of the high level of security the priceless object would require.

But art dealer Simon Wingett, of Erbistockm aims to use the tower, which would be built on land just off the A5 at Halton roundabout, near Chirk, to showcase Welsh culture.

He said: “I think that because the cape is so important to Wales –and North Wales in particular – it should be brought back here.

“I think the Dragon Tower would be a fabulous place to keep it. However, I don’t think the British Museum would let go of it readily.

“The cape is Welsh and should be in Wales and I am more than happy to back that.”

After its restoration the cape was found to be too small to fit the body of a grown king or warrior as previously thought and is most likely to have belonged to a slim woman or a child.

It has recently been featured in the BBC series, The History Of The World In 100 Objects.

In a parliamentary debate Mr Llwyd argued the precious find was part of the Welsh “collective memory” and should come back home.

But Mold community leaders said they did not want the cape back on a permanent basis.

Town councillor Andrea Mearns argued Mold simply did not have the facilities to house the precious object.

She added: “It has to have 24-hour security so if it ever did come back to Mold, say at Clwyd Theatr Cymru, then it would have to have that.”

Mr Wingett said: “I think we could easily overcome the problem of providing security for the cape.

“We are already planning to have 24-hour security because the nature of what we are going to do there, so there’s nothing that can’t be sorted out in that department.

“I can say that he cape would have pride of place with us.”

Mr Wingett aims to raise £6million to create his landmark structure, which is topped by a 75ft Welsh dragon, as a way of raising £1million a year for cancer charities in memory of his late father who died from the disease.

He also envisages using the centre to promote the Welsh language and culture.

He has earmarked a site just off the Halton roundabout on the A483, close to the McDonald’s restaurant.

A planning application is due to be considered in June.

The scheme won the backing of Welsh Secretary Peter Hain on his official visit to Chirk last Friday.

See full story in the Leader

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