The Coal Mines Act of 1911 made it the duty of all coal owners to make adequate provision for rescue work in mines, and for the maintenance of rescue apparatus. In response, this complex of buildings was built in 1913 by the North Wales Coal Owners Association to house the Mines Rescue Service for the North Wales coalfields.
The station consisted of the superintendant’s house (pictured above), equipment stores, a training gallery, humidity chamber, showers and an aviary for canaries. In the humidity chamber and training gallery, conditions could be replicated to equal most conditions that may have been encountered underground. Canaries were used to help detect the lethal gases found in the mines. All mines were connected to the station by telephone and a motorised vehicle was provided for a fast response.
Men trained at the centre were involved in the rescue work following the Gresford pit disaster of 1934 in which 266 men died following an underground explosion. Wrexham’s last coal mine (Bersham) closed in 1986 and this made the station redundant. The buildings passed in to the hands of the fire service for a while before being sold to a local property developer.
In 2010 CADW gave the buildings listed status. Unfortunately, during the consultation process, just weeks before the buildings finally got their listed status, the demolition workers moved in. Most of the training gallery was destroyed before the police intervened and brought the demolition work to a halt. The remaining buildings have now been made safe and the development plans have been withdrawn. Fortunately much remains of what is a very important part of Wrexham’s history.