In the early days, there were very few specialists in the village. Occupations other than farming and mining grew rapidly in the mid-19th century. By 1871 there was a joiner or carpenter, a shoemaker, a dressmaker, a seamstress, a tea dealer (sic!), two shopkeepers, a teacher, a bricklayer and a plasterer. There were also two publicans who were also miners. In the mid-20th century, there were two shopkeepers (a butcher and a general store) and a post office. The last shop closed in 1990’s.
In the 19th century young women worked in service as soon as they were old enough; some as far afield as Cheshire and Lancashire. In the 20th century more villagers worked in Prestatyn or Rhyl and other places on the coast, walking down the hill and then using the buses as necessary.
There was no professional midwife in the mid-19th century and people relied on local women who learned their skills on the job. Gwaenysgor had the services of Ann Williams, the widow of a farmer, who by her eightieth birthday in 1890 had delivered 1300 babies. There is no evidence as to exactly when she started acting as a midwife but with that number of births, even taking account of the fact that she worked in neighbouring parishes too, it is likely that she was doing this job by the 1860s if not before.
We don’t know what her success rate was but it is clear from the eulogy written for a presentation made to her on her eightieth birthday that she was held in high regard by the villagers.
From: On Common Ground by Roger Hadley, p. 13.
It is thought that the Romans mined lead in the area, probably at the Talargoch Mine in Meliden. By the middle of the 19th century, many of the men in the village listed their occupations as farmer/miner. Small-holders in particular worked in the mines to supplement their income from farming. In addition to the large Talargoch mine, which employed 500 including boys as young as 7 in the mid-19th century, there were several other smaller mines in the area.
The Talargoch mine closed in 1891. The fields are full of disused shafts, which are marked on the larger scale Ordnance Survey Maps. In the late 19th and 20th centuries miners went from the village to work in the coalmines at Point of Ayr, walking down the hill to Prestatyn in the mornings and back in the evenings.
Now most villagers drive to work outside the village daily as far away as Manchester. However, there has also been an increase of those who work at home courtesy of technical communications developments.
Past and Present
Many local houses were originally shops and businesses. This is Siop Ucha today as a private house, and is shown on the left, with a crowd of people in front of it watching a carnival, in the 1940’s when it was the local grocers and provision shop.
It was the Village corner shop and post office until the early 1990’s. It was the last shop to close in the village.
Bryn Glen was one of three Public Houses and also a bed and breakfast until the 1960’s called ‘The Saracen’s Head’ and is listed in census returns from 1851.
Have any of you got a photograph of Bryn Glen when it was a Public House? If so it would be lovely to be able to copy it onto the site.
Arweinfa used to be the local carpenters premises.
The boy with the donkey is Horatio Price, the grandson of John Price from Telia Farm. Below it is pictured
today as a private house.
Contact Jean: 01745 886864 with any information.