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The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust News - old stories

Vale Vintage Ports . . . . and mustard?

CPAT photo, CS96/16/20 Twenty five members of the Vale Vintage Machinery Society welcomed Nigel Jones of CPAT to their meeting at the Denbigh Rugby Club on the 19th May to talk about our recent survey work on Ports and Harbours along the north east Wales coast. The survey, which was part of a pan-Wales project funded by Cadw, looked at the range of coastal landscapes from the Dee estuary to Rhos-on-Sea. Although much of north east Wales coastal strip has changed radically in the modern era, it still retains a surprisingly wide variety of and historical and archaeological remains ranging from submerged early prehistoric forests to modern industrial complexes and, of course, any number of ports and harbours including the remnants of this splendid timber jetty (complete with wreck) near Shotton Steelworks.

The site of the Rhydymwyn Valley works Following closely on Nigel's heels, some 20 society members were delighted to welcome CPAT's Jeff Spencer to their meeting on the 16th June. Jeff fascinated them with the history of the Valley Works chemical weapons factory at Rhydymwyn, a sometimes controversial subject including Britain's wartime manufacture and stockpiling of mustard gas and, surprisingly to many, the country's early work on the atomic bomb - which few people expect to have had its genesis in Flintshire! Jeff also outlined current efforts to manage the remains of this important historical resource under a newly produced heritage management plan. The general opinion of the audience was that they ‘never knew such things were going on so close by’, hopefully the presentation helped lift the veil of secrecy and suspicion that has previously shrouded the site! To find out more about Rhydymwyn's contribution to Wales' secret history follow this link.

Chris Martin, May 2008

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