Mawr, a small parish near Wrexham, has a long rich history. The parish
consists of the villages of Penybryn, Acrefair, Cefn, Newbridge and
Rhosymedre and is now part of Wrexham County Borough Council.
Locals recall the days when Cefn Mawr was a teaming centre of activity, a
huge range of local shops, pubs, Churches and Chapels catered for the needs
of the predominantly working classes who toiled in the local mines,
quarries, brickworks, chemical works and fields.
The belching smoke and smell of the chemical works is still ‘fondly’
remembered. Talk to many of the older folk in Cefn Mawr and they will
remember with equal gusto the wonderful community sprit that existed in
those days, the trip to the local shops to spend what little they had, the
wonderful nights out in local pubs, the local cinemas and the fiercely
religious people attending church or the Salvation Army.
Up to 1930 few cars could be seen on the streets of Cefn Mawr. Early morning
sounds consisted of the ‘tapping’ of the ‘tapper-up’ man as he raised people
for their work. In those days missing getting up meant missing a day’s work
and a days pay. The sound of clogs could be heard clearly on the street as
people made their way to work which meant for many often walking miles in
all weathers. Few could afford the luxury of a bicycle. Car’s were an
unimaginable dream. .
The hissing, glaring naphtha powered streetlamps were lit and extinguished
by the ‘lamp-lighter’ who rode the streets on his bicycle. On Saturday
evenings Crane Street and Well Street came to life. Traders from as far away
as the Midlands sold their wares to the thronging crowds, no doubt taking
advantage of those ‘under the influence’! It is amazing to consider what
could be purchased from these travelling salesmen: Lino, crockery, pots,
pans, bed chambers, whatever.
The crowded streets became even more so when the local cinema based in the
‘Old Hall’ discharged the first-house at 8.00pm. The queues to get in the
local cinemas stretched across Cefn. The queue for the ‘superior’ ‘Palace’
extended down Hill Street to Garside’s Chapel, whilst the queue for the ‘Old
Hall’ (George Edwards Hall) stretched past the Hollybush, Watkin’s corner
and The Tripe Shop!
Many of Cefn Mawr’s streets began life as tramways. Behind the main street
running through Cefn Mawr ran the tramway, which carried stone from the
quarries in Rhosymedre for the building of the Aqueduct in Trevor. In parts
the route of this tramway can still be seen with a bit of imagination. The
‘Crane Corner’ was so named after the crane based on the spot which was used
to transfer trucks from Railway Road to the tramway, which ran along King
Street. Indeed this corner of Cefn was always busy from when the Aqueduct
was completed in 1805.
The local Plas Kynaston
Hall was the ancestral home of the Kynaston family who together with the
Lloyds of Plas Madoc owned all the land in the parish. In the 1680’s the
family were stanch Presbyterians and the old house was licensed to hold
religious meetings. The Hall continued to be used as a private dwelling up
to 1930’s when Professor Share Jones, one of the most eminent veterinary
surgeons on the country lived there. It still stands today and is used a
local Council offices.