Wrexham


Wrexham

infobox UK place
country = Wales
welsh_name=Wrecsam
constituency_welsh_assembly=Wrexham, Clwyd South
latitude=53.03
longitude=-2.98
official_name= Wrexham
unitary_wales= Wrexham
population= 63,084 (2001)
lieutenancy_wales= Clwyd
constituency_westminster= Wrexham, Clwyd South
post_town= WREXHAM
postcode_district = LL11-14
postcode_area= LL
dial_code= 01978
os_grid_reference= SJ335505
static_

static_image_caption=St Giles' Church, Wrexham
website=
london_distance=

Wrexham ( _cy. Wrecsam) is a town and principal area in Wales. It is the largest town in North Wales and lies to the east of the region. It is situated between the Welsh mountains and the lower Dee valley, close to the border with Cheshire, England. It is the principalClarifyme|date=March 2008 commercial, retail, educational and cultural centre in North Wales Fact|date=September 2008, and is regarded by many as the unofficial capital of North Wales. [Encyclopedia of Wrexham, Williams A. ] [http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/english/heritage/big_town_story/] [http://www.newi.ac.uk/en/Campusesthecommunity/WrexhamNEWales/Wrexham/]

Wrexham is the administrative centre of the wider County Borough of Wrexham, a local government area which encompasses other settlements.

At the time of the United Kingdom Census 2001, the Wrexham Urban Area, as defined by the Office for National Statistics, had a population of 63,084 [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/census2001/ks_ua_ew_part1.pdf#1/ ONS Statistics for Urban Areas 2001] ] . The wider Wrexham county borough, which covers 50,500 hectares, has a population of over 130,000. Wrexham is also the most populous and largest conurbation in Wales away from the south coast.

History

Evidence of human activity in the Wrexham area have been found as far back as 8000 years ago. However the first known settlement was known as Wristleham Castle, which was a motte and bailey located in what is now known as Erddig Park, in 1161. Edward I is on record as having briefly stayed at Wrexham during his expedition to suppress the revolt of Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294. The town became part of the county of Denbighshire when it was created in 1536. Wrexham was divided into two distinct townships, "Wrexham Regis" (which was under the control of the King) and "Wrexham Abbot" (generally the older parts of the town, which originally belonged to Valle Crucis Abbey at nearby Llangollen).

In the 18th century Wrexham was known for its leather industry. There were skinners and tanners in the town. The horns from cattle were used to make things like combs and buttons. There was also a nail making industry in Wrexham.

In the mid-18th century Wrexham was no more than a small market town with a population of perhaps 2,000. However in the late 18th century Wrexham grew rapidly as it became one of the pioneers of the industrial revolution.

In the late 18th century Wrexham was transformed by the coming of the industrial revolution. It began when the famous entrepreneur John Wilkinson (1728-1808) known as 'Iron Mad Wilkinson' opened Bersham Ironworks in 1762. In 1793 he opened a smelting plant at Brymbo.

Wrexham gained its first newspaper in 1848. The Market Hall was built in 1848, and in 1863 a volunteer fire brigade was founded.

It was home to a large number of breweries and tanning became one of Wrexham's main industries, due to its history as a market town. In the mid 19th century Wrexham was granted borough status.

Modern history

In the latter half of the twentieth century, Wrexham began a period of depression: the many coal mines closed first, followed by the brickworks and other industries, and finally Brymbo Steelworks in September 1990. Wrexham faced an economic crisis. Many residents were anxious to sell their homes and move to areas with better employment prospects, however buyers were uninterested in an area where there was little prospect of employment. Many people were caught in a negative equity trap. Wrexham was suffering from the same problems as much of industrialised Britain and saw little investment in the 1970s.

Between 1962 and 1992 there was a hardened nuclear bunker, built at Borras for No 17 Group Royal Observer Corps North Wales, who provided the field force in Western Area of the United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation and would have sounded the four minute warning alarm in the event of war and warned the population of Wrexham in the event of approaching radioactive fallout. [cite web |url=http://www.subbrit.org.uk/rsg/roc/group_hq.html |title=UKWMO Group Controls|publisher=Subbrit.org.uk|accessdate=2008-03-17] The building was manned by up to 120 volunteers who trained on a weekly basis and wore a Royal Air Force style uniform. After the break up of the communist bloc in 1989, the Royal Observer Corps was disbanded between September 1991 and December 1995. However, the nuclear bunker still stands at Borras Park. Between the ROC vacating the premises in September 1991 and its new use as a recording studio around 1993, the building was under preparation for use as the Home Office North Wales Regional Government Headquarters (RGHQ) although it is unlikely it was ever actually activated as such, given the short timescale.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) intervened to improve Wrexham's situation: it funded a major dual carriageway, the A483, bypassing Wrexham town centre and connecting it with nearby Chester and Shrewsbury, which in turn had connections with other big cities such as Manchester and Liverpool. It also funded shops and reclaimed areas environmentally damaged by the coal industry. The town centre was regenerated and attracted a growing number of high street chains. However, the biggest breakthrough was the Wrexham Industrial Estate, previously used in the Second World War became home to many manufacturing and technology businesses. There are currently over 250 businesses on the Wrexham Industrial Estate and in the surrounding area. A dual carriageway from the main A483 was extended halfway to the Estate in 2003, and is expected to reach it by 2011.

In June 2003, the Caia Park estate in Wrexham was hit by the Caia Park Riots. Tension between Iraqi Kurds and locals centred on one of the estates' pubs escalated and resulted in petrol bombs and other missiles being hurled at police trying to restore order. 51 local residents received prison sentences. There has been no repeat of the events of 2003.

Wrexham as a whole has since seen a vast influx (10-15,000) of Polish and Portuguese migrant workers. There are two Polish shops in Wrexham Town Centre and a Portuguese cafe in Hightown

Regeneration

Recent years have seen a large amount of redevelopment in Wrexham's town centre. The creation and re-development of civic and public areas such as Queens Square, Belle Vue Park and Llwyn Isaf have improved the area dramatically. New shopping areas have been created at Henblas Square and Island Green and major development is currently taking place at Eagles Meadow — a fairly large area of land between St. Giles and the inner ring road. The development when completed will increase Wrexham's retail area by over convert|400000|sqft|m2|-4|abbr=on and house a large range of high quality retail outlets, bars, restaurants, cinema, bowling alley and new apartments. It will include public areas and an iconic bridge to connect the development with the old High Street. The housing boom is also being felt in Wrexham.

The central area has seen a number conversions and new build apartment complexes. Apartments have been built on a large area off Mold Road (close to the football ground) and are planned for Salop Road (close to Eagles Meadow), and close to the Island Green shopping complex. Outside of the town centre new build estates are being developed in Brymbo (former steelworks site).

Wrexham Western Gateway site (Ruthin Road) and Mold Road. Plans are due to be unveiled (Summer 2007) of the next stage in the development of Wrexham Technology Park as one of the country's first sustainable business centres - the development is expected to increase the size of the Park by more than a third before 2012.

Plans have been unveiled for a £17m waste processing centre for Wrexham which will help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill sites. It is believed the centre will be built on Wrexham's industrial estate and run by the Spanish-owned Waste Recycling Group. Plans for a recycling centre in Wrexham have been approved, but the permission granted to Waste Recycling Group is subject to several conditions including measures to off-set the effects on wildlife.

Wrexham is undergoing a substantial period of population growth. House prices have risen to some of the highest levels in Wales as demand has risen both locally, from over the English border and from international migrants.

An estimated 15,000 eastern Europeans have settled in Wrexham since 2004, mainly around the central areas of the town around Hightown, Smithfield and Queens Park. The demand from housing has led to the development of whole new neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the town. These include over 500 homes at the former Brymbo Steelworks site, a ribbon of development on Mold Road leading out of the town (which includes four development companies) and Ruthin Road (Wrexham Western Gateway). There are yet further plans, one of which is the controversial development of National Trust land at Erddig for over 250 homes. The town centre has also experienced large-scale apartment developments which continue to be developed.

In the third quarter of 2007, house prices were still rising by 6.4% (9.9% annually) with the average price at £178,518. Sales were around 220 for this period and projected as 880 for the year. The average house price is 8% higher than both Newport and Swansea, and 6% less than Cardiff [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/in_depth/uk_house_prices/las/html/las.stm?q BBC NEWS | In Depth | UK House Prices | Local authority ] ] .

Governance

Wrexham County Borough Council elects a mayor who serves for one year. The current mayor of Wrexham is Councillor Roberts. Wrexham Council's website, is one of the leading council websites in the country. People who live under the jurisdiction of Wrexham County Borough Council are able to pay taxes, debts and other fees through the website. They can also access many other services, such as reporting crimes, submitting planning applications and applying for permits.

The Wrexham constituency elects members to the UK Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. The constituency includes both the town and some of its outlying villages such as Gwersyllt, Llay, Marford and Rossett.

The UK Parliament constituency of Wrexham has long been a safe seat for the Labour Party. The current Member of Parliament is Ian Lucas, and the Assembly Member for the National Assembly for Wales constituency of Wrexham is Lesley Griffiths.

City status

Wrexham is the largest settlement in north Wales, and has applied for city status several times, most recently in 2002, as part of the celebrations for the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II. Other Welsh applicants were Aberystwyth, Machynlleth, Newtown, Newport, and St Asaph. The local authority cited the following claims as to why Wrexham should be granted city status:
*The town is the largest urban area north, it is home to one of only three Roman Catholic cathedrals in Wales
*It is the centre for education, culture, retail, industry and business in North Wales
*It has the largest catchment (in terms of area) of any other major Welsh settlement
*The town has a long and proud history of industry, including coal mining, steelmaking, brewing and tanning.
*It has recently transformed from a historic market town and industrial hub into a forward thinking business and manufacturing centre (including one of the largest industrial estates in Europe)
*The population of the conurbation surrounding the town is over 100,000 people

In the end, the Welsh award was given to Newport in South Wales, however the borough still holds out hope of gaining the status in the near future.

Wrexham is a regional centre for the whole of North and Mid Wales and recent studies suggets inreasing support for the idea as Wrexham goes through a period of growth. A recent survey [http://www.eveningleader.co.uk/speakout/DEBATE-Wrexham-should-be-a.3405034.jp DEBATE: Wrexham should be a city say readers] ] carried out by local newspaper, the Wrexham Evening Leader, in October 2007 showed that 76 percent polled supported the idea of Wrexham becoming a city. Just 22.5 percent said it should remain a town, while 1.5 percent were undecided.

Geography

Unusually for a large town, Wrexham is not built up alongside a major river. Instead it is situated on a relatively flat plateau between the lower Dee Valley and eastern most mountains of Wales. This situation enabled it to grow as a market town as a cross roads between England and Wales and later as an industrial hub - due to its rich natural reserves of iron ore and coal. It does however have three relatively minor rivers running through parts of the town. These are the rivers Clywedog, Gwenfro and Alyn. Wrexham is also famed for the quality of its underground water reserves, which gave rise to its previous dominance as a major brewing centre.

Originally a market town with surrounding small villages, Wrexham is now coalesced with a number of urban villages and forms North Wales' largest conurbation of around 100,000 people. The Office for National Statistics defines a Wrexham Urban Area which consists of Wrexham Town and some coalesced suburbs (Pop. 63,084 in 2001).

Wrexham urban area


* Acton - Incorporating Acton Park
* Borras
* Bryn Offa
* Brynteg, Caego, New Broughton, Southsea - The Broughton Community
* Caia Park
* Erddig
* Garden Village
* Gwersyllt
* Hightown
* Industrial Estate (Bowling Bank)
* Kings Mill
* Pandy/The Gresford Heath Estate
* Plas Coch - or (Lower Stansty)
* Rhosddu
* Rhosnesni
* Rhosrobin
* Rhostyllen
* Summerhill
* Spring Lodge
* Town Centre
* Upper Stansty

Demographics

In April 2008, the IPPR identified Wrexham with the largest influx of Eastern European economic migrants in Wales. Between 2004 and 2007 a total of 3430 people from these countries had registered for work in Wrexham.

Economy

Wrexham's economy has been transformed in the past twenty years, from one dominated by heavy and traditional industry into a major high tech manufacturing, technology and services hub. Wrexham Industrial Estate to the east of the town is the UK's second-largest industrial park, and among the largest in Europe. The remainder of the industrial parks are located around the A483 corridor to the west of the town. Companies such as Sharp, Brother, Tetra-Pak, J. C. Bamford, Cadbury and Kelloggs have major manufacturing, research or office bases in and around the town. International pharmaceutical and chemical companies are also well represented including Flexsys and Wockhardt. Service and smaller high technology set-ups are generally found closer to the centre at Wrexham Technology Park and within the town centre itself.

Wrexham has done well to hold on to a substantial manufacturing base, after facing stiff competition from growing eastern European and Asian economies. Around 25% of jobs in Wrexham are in the manufacturing sector, with a growing number in service, financial and technology industries.

In 2007 the town was ranked 5th in the UK for business start-up success, higher than most larger UK towns and cities [ [http://www.wrexhamtoday.com/news2.asp?newsid=275 Latest Wrexham News - Wrexham entrepeneurs lead the way ] ] . Wrexham county borough as a whole has an economic activity rate of 79.5%, which is above both the Wales and Great Britain averages.

In November 2006 unemployment in Wrexham stood at 1.9%. This is below the averages for Wales at 2.3% and the UK at 2.5%.

Wrexham's dominant manufacturing sector and low rate of unemployment has attracted many migrant workers from eastern Europe, mainly Poland. It is estimated around 10-15,000 Poles have migrated to the town over the past five years.

In the last five years high land prices have led to large apartment blocks being built in and around the town. Scarcity of town centre land has led to numerous housing estates being built in the surrounding villages on the outskirts, notably in Brymbo, Gwersyllt and Rhostyllen.

hopping

The main shopping streets in Wrexham are: Abbot Street, Bank Street, Henblas Street, Hight Street, King Street, Regent Street, Overton Arcade, Hope Street and Queen Street.

A cluster of retail parks are situated around the inner ring road at the Central and Border retail parks. Plas Coch and Berse retail parks are situated on the outskirts close to the A483. Central and Island Green retail parks are situated in the town centre close to Wrexham Central railway station.

In 1999, almost at a stroke, Wrexham town centre added over convert|250000|sqft|m2|-3 of retail shopping space when the Henblas Square and Island Green developments were completed. In 2008 a convert|400000|sqft|m2|-4 development will be completed at Eagles Meadow. This will increase Wrexham's shopping catchment to half a million shoppers. Stores committed to the development include Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, H&M, Next, River Island, TenPin and Odeon. The new development will be connected to Yorke Street / High Street by an iconic bridge.

Traditional markets - there are three covered markets (Butter, Butchers and Peoples Markets) plus North Wales' largest open air market based in the town centre each Monday (including Bank Holidays).

Wrexham boasts the most used Shopmobility Service in North Wales, which is free. Much of the Wrexham Town Centre is pedestrianised.

There are short stay car parks adjacent to the town centre. Long-stay parking is available at St. Marks (NCP) at the northern end of Regent Street or the larger surface park (WCBC)

Culture

Arts

Wrexham hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1888, 1912, 1933 and 1977, as well as an unofficial National Eisteddfod event in 1876. Wrexham has a number of theatres, including the Grove Park Theatre on Vicarage Hill, the Riverside Studio Theatre at Wrexham Musical Theatre Society on Salop Road and the Yale Studio theatre close to Llwyn Isaf. Local theatre group,Tip Top Productions [http://www.TipTopProductions.co.uk] also present the annual Christmas Pantomime at The Stiwt Theatre in nearby Rhosllanerchrugog. The main Arts centre is at Wrexham County Library, with others at Glyndŵr University in Plas Coch and Yale College. There is a multi-screen Odeon cinema in the Plas Coch retail park just outside the town centre, with another planned at the new Eagles Meadow development — due to open 2008. The nearby town of Llangollen holds the International Musical Eisteddfod every July.

Science

Every March the town hosts the Wrexham Science Festival. Over 9000 visitors attended events in 2007, making the event one of the biggest of its kind.

Wrexham is also home to a branch of Techniquest, known as Techniquest@newi. The science discovery centre is situated within NEWI's Plas Coch campus.


=Music= Wrexham has built a vibrant music scene over the last few years. A raft of live music venues has developed around the core of the town including the largest venue Central Station, The Old Swan (Abbott Street), Sgt Peppers, Milliners and the Seven Stars. Further out of the centre The Cent, Newi's William Aston Hall and the Goulbourne also provide regular live music shows. The scene is dominanted by up and coming local bands and the town has become known as a hotbed of talent, more specifically in the rock, indie and alternative genres.

The industry also has its own monthly music magazine 'WrexhamMusic' [ [http://www.wrexhammusic..co.uk/ WrexhamMusic website] ] which features news, reviews and details of up coming shows. The town's music scene appears regularly on national radio, in 2007 it featured on BBC Radio One's Steve Lamacq show, and regularly features on the Welsh music portion of the station.

Most international artists perform in the larger venues of Central Station or the William Aston Hall. "Central Station", a club with a capacity of approximately 650, attracting touring bands from across the country. Since its opening in 2000 the venue has played host to hundreds of acts, including The Charlatans, the Scratch Perverts, Ash, The View, The Wildhearts, Mansun, Shed Seven, The Wonder Stuff, The Damned, Skindred, Supersuckers, Moscow, Bloc Party, Hundred Reasons, Grandmaster Flash, Electric Six, Trashlight Vision, The Fall, Budgie, The Blackout, Kids in Glass Houses, Rooster, Elliot Minor, Blaze Bayley, The Kooks, Duffy, The Magic Numbers and Robert Plant [ [http://www.centralstationvenue.com/ Central Station website] ] .

The William Aston Hall at NEWI is a 900-seat venue which has recently undergone extensive refurbishment, and is now designed to accommodate a range of events from conferences and exhibitions to theatrical performances and pop/rock concerts. Acts who have performed there in the past include Super Furry Animals, Love, Ray Davies, Funeral for a Friend, Freddie Starr and Sweet. [ [http://www.newisu.com/ NEWI Student's Union website] ] .

Media

Wrexham's daily newspapers include the North Wales Daily Post and Wrexham Evening Leader, the weekly free Wrexham Chronicle, and the weekly broadsheet Wrexham Leader, often known as the "Big Leader". The Wrexham Music Magazine is published monthly, and concentrates on the town's large music scene.

A number of radio stations are based in the town. On FM these include Marcher Sound (FM & Online), Calon FM (FM & Online), Wrexham and Chester Gold (AM/MW) and Wrexham FM (Online only). Both Marcher Sound and Gold broadcast from their studios on Mold Road, Gwersyllt, in addition a number of stations serving towns in North West England and North Wales. Calon FM is broadcast from Glyndŵr University also on Mold Road.

A 'Media' quarter has developed within the town's Civic Centre where television stations BBC Wales, ITV Wales and S4C have studios or bureaux for their regional news services.

Green space

"Wales in Bloom 2007 - City Merit Award"

Wrexham has two main town parks, these being Bellevue Park and Acton Park, and open parkland at Erddig. With the rapid development of the town in the 19th century, the need for a formal park for the growing population was identified. However it was not until 1906 that the location for the new park was agreed upon. The 'Parciau' or Bellevue Park as it became known, was build alongside the old cemetery on Ruabon Road. The park was designed to commemorate the Jubilee year of the Incorporation of Wrexham.

Parks

"Bellevue Park - Green Flag Award"

Belle Vue Park - During the 1970s Bellevue Park was neglected and many of the amenities were in a poor state of repair. A major project was undertaken to refurbish the Park back to its original splendour. This was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Urban Parks Project, Welsh Development Agency, and the European Regional Development Fund. The park reopened in June 2000. It now boasts children's play areas, a bowling green which is home to the Parciau Bowling Club, tennis and basketball courts, an original Edwardian bandstand set in an amphitheatre, and a jogging route for walkers and joggers. The park itself has many walkways through mature tree-lined avenues as well as affording some magnificent views of the Parish Church. The park is well lit and has a number of CCTV cameras installed to deter antisocial behaviour.

Bellevue Park has once again regained its popularity with the people of Wrexham. Throughout the summer months a broad spectrum of social events take place, such as music concerts for all tastes and 'Fun days' for children.

Acton Park was originally the landscaped grounds of Acton Hall. It was originally laid out in 1785 by James Wyatt on the instructions of the owner Sir Foster Cunliffe. Over the years the Estate passed through several owners. In 1947 Wrexham Council was given the Hall and Park by the then owner Alderman William Aston. A section of Acton Park was sold for Housing development in the 1970s. The surviving area now covers approximately 55 acres.

Acton Park features a bowling green, tennis courts, a children's play area, Japanese-style garden and a large lake which has attracted diverse wildlife. The general layout of the park has remained unchanged since it was laid out in the 18th century and now boasts many mature trees.

Llwyn Isaf, which is situated alongside Wrexham Guildhall is a popular green area within the town centre. The green was originally the landscaped grounds of a mansion house known as Llwyn Isaf. It now lies at the centre of Wrexham's civic centre just off Queens Square. The Welsh Children in Need concert was held at this location in 2005.

Open parkland

Erddig Park is situated two miles (3 km) south of the town centre where the town meets the Clywedog Valley. The Park is owned and managed by the National Trust, and is home to Erddig Hall and its formal gardens. The Park is also home to a number of notable historic features. These include a hydraulic ram known as the 'Cup and Saucer' which is used to pump water from the park to Erddig Hall, and the remains of Wristleham motte and bailey which is thought to be the beginnings of Wrexham as a town in the 12th century.

Heritage

Wrexham's former police station on Regent Street, originally the barracks for the Royal Denbighshire Militia, is now home to Wrexham County Borough Museum. The Museum has two galleries devoted to the history of the town and its surrounding communities. There is also a programme of temporary exhibitions, including an exhibition featuring the Mold Cape, the first time the Bronze Age treasure had returned to North Wales from the British Museum since its discovery in 1833. Just to the west of the town, Bersham Heritage Centre and Ironworks tell the story of John Wilkinson, the 'Iron Mad' pioneer of the Industrial Revolution. At the top end of the Clywedog Valley, about ten minutes' drive from Wrexham, Minera Lead Mines are the remains of the profitable lead industry that dates back to prehistoric times.

To the east of Wrexham, there are the remains of Holt Castle. The castle and the nearby late medieval bridge were the scene of constant skirmishes during the Civil War in the 17th century. The River Dee in this area is deep and wide. The bridge at Holt was the first crossing point south of the city of Chester and hence was of major strategic importance.

Just convert|2|mi|km|0 south of Wrexham town centre, Erddig, the National Trust property, was home to the Yorke family until 1973. Its last resident, Philip Yorke, handed over a house in need of restoration as years of subsidence caused by the workings of Bersham Colliery had caused a lot of damage. The house was voted one of the two most popular stately homes in the UK by a National Trust/Channel 5 publication. However, the house was not popular with Bersham miners as it stood on a pillar of coal and they had to work round it.

One thing Wrexham has always been famous for is beer. In the mid to late 19th century Wrexham had over 35 breweries, and grew a proud tradition of brewing both ale and lager. In 1882 German immigrants set up Britain's first Lager brewery under the name of Wrexham Lager. In 2000 the Wrexham Lager Brewery was the last one to close. A number of the original brewery buildings remain. Most notably Wrexham Lager on Central Road (offices), Soames Brewery on Yorke Street (Nags Head) and Border Brewery on Tuttle Street (converted apartments).

Wrexham's mining heritage is nearly all gone. Most former mines have been converted into industrial and business parks - one such development at Bersham Colliery has the last surviving headgear in the North Wales coalfield. Just off the A483, on the edge of Wrexham, the Gresford Disaster Memorial stands witness to the 261 miners, two rescuemen and one surface worker killed by a series of explosions in the Gresford Colliery in 1934.

Religion

The Parish Church of St.Giles

St. Giles is the Parish Church of Wrexham and is considered to be the greatest medieval church in Wales [ [http://www.openchurchnetwork.co.uk/churches.asp?cid=23|Open Church Network] ] . It includes a colourful ceiling of flying musical angels, two early eagle lecterns, a window by the artist Edward Burne-Jones and the Royal Welch Fusiliers chapel. In the graveyard is the tomb of Elihu Yale who was the benefactor of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, United States and after whom Yale College Wrexham is named. As a tribute to Yale and his resting place, a scaled down replica of the church tower, known as 'Wrexham Tower' was constructed at Yale University. The tower appears in an 18th century rhyme, as one of the Seven Wonders of Wales.

St. Mary's Cathedral

The Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Sorrows (St. Mary's), in Regent Street, is the main Church of the Diocese of Wrexham, which extends over all of North Wales. Built in 1857 at the height of the Gothic Revival, the Cathedral was home to the Bishop of Menevia from 1898 until 1987, whose diocese covered all of Wales. However in 1987 the Catholic province of Wales was reconstructed, since which time the Cathedral has been home to the Bishop of Wrexham (now 2nd Bishop of Wrexham). The cathedral is also home to the relic of Saint Richard Gwyn, Wrexham's patron saint. He was a Catholic martyr in the 16th century and was hung drawn and quartered at Wrexham's Beast Market. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

Other

Wrexham also has a number of non-denominational chapels and churches scattered about the town, including a Corps of The Salvation Army. The main Methodist Church is Wrexham Methodist church, built in 1971 on the site of the former Brynyfynnon Chapel on Regent Street. Up until the 1970s the town was full of Welsh non-denominational chapels and the attendance of these was far in excess of that of the Anglican Church in the town.

Wrexham Mosque is located in NEWI's Plas Coch campus. The community is currently seeking a site for a larger Mosque to be built [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_east/7454664.stm|BBC News - Wrexham Mosque] ] .

In the past, Wrexham had a church with a spire much taller than the St Giles steeple. This church was dedicated and named after St Mark, but this was demolished as the building's foundations were in danger of collapse. A multi-storey car park named "St Marks" was erected on the site.

Most recently, a new style church has been meeting in the grounds of NEWI. In July 08 several congregations affiliated to New Frontiers will converge on the NEWI site as part of "Together @ Borderlands 08" [ [http://www.newfrontiers-borderlands.org.uk/] Borderlands website]

Sport

Football and rugby

For most of its history, Wrexham was the site of the headquarters of the Football Association of Wales.

The town has a professional football team, Wrexham F.C., which competes in the English Football Conference despite being based in Wales. Currently managed by Brian Little, the club has a rich 130 year history and is perhaps most notable for an FA Cup upset over Arsenal F.C. in 1992, together with a number of European Cup Winners Cup runs in the 1970s-80s and early 90s, playing teams such as FC Porto (whom they beat), Anderlecht, Manchester United and AS Roma. They enjoyed a succession of FA Cup runs knocking teams such as Arsenal, Birmingham City, Ipswich Town, Middlesbrough and West Ham out. They lifted the Vans Trophy at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in front of 40,000 fans in May 2005, but had entered administration several months earlier and the 10-point penalty for this had caused their relegation to the basement division of the Football League. Despite the attempt to knock down the club's historic Racecourse Ground and replace it with a shopping development in 2005-06, the club's future is now assured, thanks to a consortium of local businessmen led by a local car dealer Neville Dickens and partner Geoff Moss. The town end of the ground is due for redevelopment in 2008, which will see a new stand and a number of high quality apartments built.

The ground has in the past also served as the secondary home of the Llanelli Scarlets, one of the four Welsh professional rugby union sides that compete in the Magners sponsored Celtic League. They would play, on average, two games per season there, though since the problems experienced by Wrexham FC during its period in administration, and uncertainty over the future of the ground, there were no Llanelli Scarlets games played there in season 2005–6 nor are any games scheduled for the 2006–7 Magners League season. The Welsh international rugby team also play here on occasion.

Wrexham is also home to rugby union team Wrexham RFC, a team affiliated to the Welsh Rugby Union. In 1931 nine northern Welsh clubs met at Wrexham to form the North Wales Rugby Union, Wrexham RFC were one of the founders. ["Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881-1981", David Smith, Gareth Williams (1980) pg 271 ISBN 0708307663]

Other sports

* Athletics: Queensway International Athletics stadium in Caia Park is Wrexham's second stadium after the Racecourse and has hosted the Welsh Open Athletics event in recent years. The stadium is also home to North Wales' largest athletics club, Wrexham Amateur Athletics Club.

* Basketball: The recently formed NEWI Nets are North Wales' highest-ranked basketball team and currently compete in English Division 2. They play at NEWI's Plas Coch sports arena.

* Hockey: Plas Coch is home to the North Wales Regional Hockey Stadium, a water-based international FIH accredited facility with seating for 200 spectators and floodlighting. The stadium is due to host the 2007 Celtic Cup in July this year.

* Horse riding: Bangor-on-Dee racecourse is 10 minutes south of Wrexham

* Leisure: Wrexham has 7 leisure centres these are; Chirk, Clywedog, Darland, Gwyn Evans(Gwersyllt), Plas Madoc, Queensway, and Waterworld, they offer activities such as Swimming, aerobics, climbing walls through to Yoga.

* Tennis: Wrexham is home to the North Wales Regional Tennis Centre, which plays host to a number of international competitions each year including the 'Challenger' Series. The centre is also home to the Wrexham Lawn Tennis Association.

* Golf wrexham has 4 golf courses, Moss Valley Golf Club, Plassey Golf Club, Wrexham Golf Club and Clays Farm Golf Club

Landmarks

A number of tourist attractions can be found in the town or within a short drive from the centre. Among the most popular are:

* Bangor-on-Dee racecourse
* Clywedog Valley - The power behind the industrial revolution in Wrexham, a number of good heritage attractions (Minera Leadmines, Nant Mill and Bersham Ironworks) in a peaceful valley with good walks(BBC's 20 hidden gems in 2007 [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6481109.stm#7/ BBC: Your 20 Hidden Tourist Gems] ] )
* Erddig Hall - National Trust property and park land (Voted the UK's best historical house and 8th most popular historic site - 2007)
* Historic town centre buildings (i.e Horse & Jockey pub, thatched roof pub, Regent Street)
* Racecourse Ground, home of Wrexham F.C.
* St. Giles Church - One of the Seven Wonders of Wales and burial place of Elihu Yale
* Techniquest@NEWI - Science discovery centre
* Wrexham County Museum

Education

Glyndŵr University

Wrexham is home to the newest university in the UK, Glyndŵr University. Named after the 14th Century scholar and last Welsh Prince of Wales Owain Glyndwr the university was formed when the North East Wales Institute (NEWI) was granted full university status in 2008. It consists of Plas Coch campus in the western part of the town and the North Wales School of Art and Design located on Regent Street. The institution was originally founded in 1887 as the Wrexham School of Science and Art. The university is home to over 8,000 undergraduate students and has one of the largest international student bodies in the UK.

Yale College of Wrexham

The main provider of post-16 education in Wrexham, Yale College is one of the largest colleges in Wales. As a tertiary college it also provides a wide range of higher education courses at its two campuses at Grove Park in the town centre and Bersham Road in South West Wrexham.

Schools

Wrexham has a number of primary and secondary schools. It has just one Welsh-speaking secondary school, that being Ysgol Morgan Llwyd. Recently, three of the largest secondary schools, St David's School, Ysgol Bryn Offa and The Groves High School were merged to create two larger "super Schools", Rhosnesni High School and Ysgol Clywedog. Wrexham has also become home to the first shared-faith school in Wales in the form of St Joseph's. Yale College is the main post-16 education facility. "Primary"
*Acton Park Infant School
*Acton Park Junior School
*All Saints School
*Alexandra CP School
*Barker's Lane CP
*Borras Park Infant School
*Borras Park Junior School
*Gwenfro Infant School
*Gwenfro Junior School
*Hafod y Wern Infant School
*Hafod y Wern Juniors CP
*Rhosddu CP
*The Rofft CP School
*St Anne's Catholic Primary
*St Giles Primary School
*St Mary's Catholic Primary
*St Mary's church school (church in wales)
*Victoria Infant School
*Victoria Junior School
*Wat's Dyke CP
*Ysgol Bodhyfryd CP
*Ysgol Deiniol
*Ysgol Y Garth
*Ysgol Plas Coch CP
*Ysgol Penygelli

"Secondary"

*Ysgol Bryn Alyn
*St Christopher's
*Darland High School
*St Joseph's Catholic and Anglican High School
*Rhosnesni High School
*Ysgol Clywedog
*Ysgol Rhiwabon
*Ysgol Morgan Llwyd
*Maelor School Penley

Twinning

* Iserlohn (Märkischer Kreis), Germany
* Racibórz, Poland

The town of Wrexham is twinned with the German district of Märkischer Kreis and the Polish town of Racibórz.

The first Twinning was established on 17 March 1970 between the former Kreis Iserlohn and Wrexham Rural District. Its early success ensured that, after local government reorganisation in both countries in the mid-seventies, the Twinning was taken over by the new Councils of Märkischer Kreis and Wrexham Maelor Borough Council and, in 1996, by Wrexham County Borough Council.

In 2001 Märkischer Kreis entered a Twinning arrangement with Racibórz (Ratibor), a county in Poland, which was formerly part of Silesia, Germany. In September 2002, a delegation from Racibórz visited Wrexham and began initial discussions about possible co-operation which led, eventually, to the signing of Articles of Twinning between Wrexham and Racibórz in March 2004. The Wrexham area has strong historical links with Poland. Following World War II, many service personnel from the Free Polish armed forces who had been injured received treatment at Penley Polish Hospital. Many of their descendants remain in the area to this day.

Transport

Rail

Wrexham has two railway stations. Wrexham General & Wrexham Central. Until the early 1980s what is now platform 4 of Wrexham General, serving the Wrexham Central - Bidston service, was a separate station, Wrexham Exchange. Rail patronage is currently expanding rapidly in Wrexham, General has seen a 12% rise in passenger numbers between 2004 and 2007, Central seeing an increase of 18% [http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2008/06/28/booming-time-for-the-trains-in-wrexham-55578-21165396|Daily Post - Wrexham sharp increased in rail usage] .

Wrexham General

Wrexham General was opened in 1846 (rebuilt in 1912 and again in 1997) it has 6 platforms (4 through, 2 terminal) and provides direct rail services to Bangor, Birmingham, Cardiff, Chester, Holyhead, Liverpool, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Banbury and London. The station is also the base for Wrexham and Shropshire, an open access operator who provide 5 daily servcies to London. All local services that operate from Wrexham Central also run through General. There are plans to open a new direct service between Wrexham General and London Euston, to be run by Virgin trains, in December 2008. Wrexham Central

Wrexham Central which is located on the Island Green retail park has 1 platform, but splits into 2 tracks on the outskirts of the town. It provides direct rail services Gwersyllt, Cefn-y-Bedd, Caergwrle, Hope,
Penyffordd, Buckley, Hawarden, Shotton, Hawarden Bridge, Neston, Heswall, Upton (Wirral), Bidston (where there are connections to Liverpool and West Kirby). Until the 1998 construction of the Island Green retail park, Wrexham Central station was located 50 metres further along the track.

Plans are afoot to electrify the Borderlands line with runs through General and Central to Deeside and the Wirral. This would increase capacity and accelerate speeds on the line.

Local Stations

There are further three local stations in the Borough at Chirk, Ruabon and Gwersyllt, with plans to re-open at least another two over the next few years at Rossett and Johnstown. Plans also include a 'Park and Rail' service from one of these locations into Wrexham Central, to ease current traffic congestion and pressure on town centre car parks.

Bus and coach

A recent focus on road transport by the council has improved bus travel in the Wrexham area, with most buses being low-floor and slightly elevated bus stops to allow people easier access to buses. A new bus terminal, the largest in north Wales, has been built in Wrexham, featuring indoor shops and ambient music, along with a staffed information booth. The bus station serves local, regional and long-distance bus services. It is served by various bus companies, including Arriva Wales/Cymru, GHA, and Bryn Melyn. Long distance coaches are available to Edinburgh and London.

The "Wrexham shuttle" provides a link between Wrexham and the nearby industrial estate, there is a similar one in operation in the Deeside area.

Wrexham is served by the National Express coach network, it picks up from the Wrexham bus station.

Wrexham is one of the first areas in the United Kingdom to adopt the use of the distinctive yellow American Bluebird school buses. 10 currently operate in the Wrexham area, transporting pupils to and from the schools and colleges.

Roads

The town centre is orbited by a ring road. The northern and eastern parts of the road are dualled between Rhosddu Road roundabout and Eagles Meadow. The ring road and Mold Road/Regent Street are the main sources of congestion in the town. Park and Ride facilities have been introduced on a weekend basis, however future plans to extend the service are to be discussed.

The A483 is Wrexham's principal route. It skirts the western edge of the town, dividing it from the urban villages to the west. The road has connections with major roads (A55, M53, A5(M54)).

The A5156 leads to the A534 and on to the Wrexham Industrial Estate.

The A541 is the main route into Wrexham from Mold and the town's western urban area.

Future development

Wrexham has many major plans for the future. The WDA (Welsh Development Agency) (now disbanded), had earmarked Wrexham as a potential transport hub. The UK capital of culture for 2008, Liverpool, has also donated £100,000 to a study of electrification of the Wrexham to Bidston railway line, and a possible rail link to the North Wales coast line. This will open new rail links to the east, and the urban area of Liverpool.

With house prices rising rapidly in this area, the council has made many plans for massive suburban housing estates to be built. One, near Ysgol Clywedog, will include a small shopping centre and another primary school.

In late January 2006, a new company called the Wrexham, Shropshire and Marylebone Railway (WSMR), was formed. In September 2007, the Office of Rail Regulation granted the company, trading as Wrexham & Shropshire permission to operate services from Wrexham to London via Shrewsbury, Telford and the West Midlands from early 2008. This will restore direct services to London from Wrexham and Shropshire. The company's operations will be based in Wrexham, creating 50 jobs at an operating depot in the town.

Public services

Wrexham Maelor Hospital ("Ysbyty Maelor Wrecsam" in Welsh) is the areas' major acute district hospital with 700 beds, and one of the three core hospitals in North Wales. It is situated in the south of the town, on Croesnewydd Road. In 1985 major expansion took place on the site modernising many of the existing departments. It is also the headquarters of the North East Wales NHS Trust, for which it is the principal health service provider. Other NHS hospitals within the borough are Chirk Community and Penley Polish Hospital.

Yale Hospital ("Ysbyty Ial" in Welsh) situated close to the Maelor Hospital on Wrexham Technology Park is Wrexham's largest private hospital with over 25 beds. Formerly "BUPA Yale Hospital", it is now owned and operated by Classic Hospitals.

Wrexham is served by North Wales Police; their Eastern Division H.Q in the centre of the town.

The local fire station is situated on Bradley Road close to the Island Green and central retail parks.

Notable people

A number of notable people have been born or lived in Wrexham over the years. Among them are:

*Jack Mary Ann - a local folk hero who lived in the Top Boat House area of Broughton
*David Bower - a deaf actor who is best known for his role as David, the younger brother of Charles, in the comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral.
*George Borowski - guitarist and singer-songwriter, who has gained an indirect claim to immortality as Guitar George, a guitar player in the Dire Straits hit Sultans of Swing
*Karen Davies - a professional golfer who has played on the LPGA Tour since 1990
*Rosemarie Frankland - Was a beauty pageant contestant who won the 1961 Miss United Kingdom and Miss World.
*Bruce Grobbelaar - (born 1957), football player who lived in the area during his time as a goalkeeper at Liverpool FC
*Saint Richard Gwyn - (1535-1584) - Catholic Martyr and Patron Saint of Wrexham
*Edwin Hughes - ("Balaclava Ned") (1830-1927), the last survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava in the Crimea
*Mark Hughes - former footballer and manager
*Tom James - Olympic Gold Medalist Rower.
*George Jeffreys - (1645-1689) 'The Hanging Judge' of Acton Hall in Acton
*Darren Jeffries - Hollyoaks actor
*David Jones - Former Manchester United and Derby County footballer. Presently plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers.
*Paul Jones - retired Welsh international footballer.
*Rob Jones - footballer who played for Liverpool FC
*K-Klass - dance music group
*Jason Koumas - footballer with Wigan Athletic
*David Lord - (1913-1944), Irish born holder of the Victoria Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross.
*Andy Moore - Neath/Swansea Rugby Club & Wales International.
* John Godfrey Parry-Thomas - (1884-1927), engineer and racing driver.
*Leigh Richmond Roose - Welsh international footballer who played for Stoke City, Sunderland and Celtic amongst others.
*Robbie Savage - current Derby County footballer and Wales international.
*Andrew Scott (guitarist) - guitarist with 70's glam rock band The Sweet
*Ricky Tomlinson - (born 1939), actor mainly known for his role in "The Royle Family".
*Tim Vincent - former "Blue Peter" presenter, now "Access Hollywood" reporter.
* Robert Waithman - (1764-1833), born in Wrexham, became Lord Mayor of London in 1823
* John 'Iron-Mad' Wilkinson - (1728-1808) Son of Isaac, known for Bersham Ironworks in the town and producing canons for the American civil war
*Mike Williams - Founder and Editor of Kruger Magazine, www.krugermagazine.com and The Kruger Sinlges Club.
*Llŷr Williams - Welsh pianist, received the Outstanding Young Artist Award from MIDEM Classique and the International Artist Managers' Association.
* Elihu Yale - (1649-1721), businessman and benefactor of Yale University.

"Current residents include:"

*Brent Cockbain - current (naturalised) Welsh rugby international, lives in Wrexham area and married to a girl from Gresford
*Joey Jones - football player who played for Liverpool, Chelsea and Wrexham
*Dennis Taylor - ex snooker World Champion, currently living in Llay

References

External links

* [http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/ Wrexham County Borough Council]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/northeast/sites/wrexham/ Local History — Wrexham (BBC)]
* [http://www.wrexhamtoday.co.uk/ Wrexham Today] - Wrexham portal
* [http://www.wrexhammusic.co.uk/ Wrexham Music] — A guide to the music scene in Wrexham
* [http://www.wrexhambusinessdirectory.co.uk/ Wrexham Business Directory] - Wrexham Business Directory
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/northeast/panoramics/pages/queens_st.shtml 360 Degree Panoramic View of Queens Square (BBC)] (Java required)
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/2372437.stm Yellow buses fleet in Wrexham]
* [http://www.eveningleader.co.uk Evening Leader]
* [http://www.virtualwrexham.co.uk/ Virtual Wrexham]
* [http://www.wrecsam.com/ wrecsam.com]
* [http://www.wrexhambusinessblog.co.uk Wrexham Business Blog]
* [http://www.wrexhamblog.com Wrexham Blog]
* [http://www.wrexhamtwitter.com Wrexham on Twitter]
* [http://www.the12thman.org/ 12th Man] - Wrexham FC Supporters site
* [http://www.frithphotos.com/archive/wales/clwyd/wrexham/photos/ Francis Frith Historic Photos of Wrexham] (mainly from 1895)
* [http://www.cpat.org.uk/ The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust]
* [http://www.wmts.co.uk Wrexham Musical Theatre Trust]
* [http://www.calonfm.com/ Calon FM - Wrexham Community Radio]
* [http://www.clywedog.org/ Ysgol Clywedog]
* [http://www.rhosnesni-high.wrexham.sch.uk/ Rhosnesni High School]


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