Bishop's House, Sontley Road, Grade II Listed

 

The Bishop's House was built in 1865 to the designs of local architect JR Gummow.  It was originally named Plas Tirion and got it's current name when it came to be used as the home of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Wrexham.

 

 

Nos 63-71, Acton Gate, Grade II Listed

 

Nos 63-71 Acton Gate constitute one detached and two pairs of semi-detached houses, in the arts and crafts style, from the original Garden Village development of 1913.


The precursor to the estate’s development was the opening of the nearby Gresford Colliery in 1911.  At the time, it was anticipated that the workforce would, over time, expand to more than 3,000 workers and thus an estate of new houses would be needed.  It was decided to establish a Garden Village, the first of it’s kind in Wales.  Nos 63-71 are the largest houses on the estate and were built to house the mine’s managers and their families.


The Garden Village movement had its roots in the late 19th century when attempts were made to help improve the poor living conditions of the working class of the time.  Poor quality, high-density slums were replaced with well planned estates of high quality, spacious homes, many of which were in the arts and crafts style.


The arts and crafts style was developed to help preserve traditional building crafts that had been slowly dying out since the advent of mass production and recreate the traditional rural style found before the industrial revolution.  Traditional design and building materials gave the houses a cottage-like appearance and many were set in large gardens.


The estates were the predecessor to modern day council housing.  Private money was used to build the houses rather than money from the state.  A good example of such a development is Port Sunlight on the Wirral, its construction financed entirely by Lord Leverhulme, the owner of Lever Brothers soap factory (now Unilever).  In Wrexham’s case, potential tenants bought shares in a limited company, called Wrexham Tenants Ltd, set up to build the new estate of houses.  The money raised from the sale of the shares, together with a government loan, provided enough money to commence the building of the new homes.  It was intended that rents would be used to pay off the government loan and once the loan had been paid off, dividends would be paid to the shareholders.  The original plan was for 1,000 houses; however, after 250 had been built, the money ran out and the first world war had begun.  After the war, council house building had begun and the development was never completed.  Private developers built new houses in the inter-war and post war eras on land originally ear-marked for the Garden Village development.  In the 1950s, the original garden village houses were sold off.  What was originally meant to be a working class area had now become one which was a highly-desirable and pricey middle class area of the town.

 

 

Nos 10-12, Weston Drive, Grade II Listed

 

This house was originally known as Stansty Lodge and was once the centre of a large estate with its roots in the 17th century.  According to AN Palmer, the present building was built between 1835 and 1844.  It's lodge house, built at about the same time, is still standing and is also grade II listed.  The house was extended and partially remodeled to take on its current appearance around 1900 and in 1950 it was divided in to two properties.  At about this same time, it's grounds were used to build the houses on Weston Drive and Clarendon Avenue.

 

 

Willow Bridge, Salop Road, Grade II Listed

 

The Willow Bridge was built in 1877 by Peter Walker to carry Salop Road over the river Gwenfro.  Peter Walker was the owner of the Willow Brewery after which the bridge was named.  The Willow Brewery was situated on the corner of the present day St Giles Way and Tuttle Street, to the rear of what is now the Matalan store.  The nearby culvert arch and railings are also listed.

 

 

The Cottage, Maesydre Road, Grade II Listed

 

A detached cottage built in 1908, listed as a very good example of neo-vernacular architecture of it’s era.

 

Vernacular architecture is a style of building unique to a particular area.  A multitude of styles will have evolved throughout the country over time to meet the needs of the local population.  Advantage will have been taken of the locally available skills and materials and local traditions will have been followed to develop a unique architectural style.  These local styles will have begun to die out following the advent of the industrial revolution and mass production.  Neo-vernacular architecture of the 19th century was an attempt to preserve or re-create these local styles.

 

 

Nos 93 & 95, Dean Road, Grade II Listed

 

A pair of semi-detached cottages built in 1875 by the owners of the Acton Park estate.  They are listed as a good example of neo-vernacular style estate architecture.

 

 

Nos 5-11, Fairy Road, Grade II Listed

 

Nos 5 & 7, a pair of semi-detached houses from 1881; no 9, from 1880, and no 11, from 1876, are listed as good examples of Victorian arts and crafts style houses.



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