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Brewers & Boozers Tour

Willow Brewery

The brewery was the other side of the river from where you are standing.

In 1860 Peter Walker bought the brewery from Robert Evans. Walker had learned his trade as a brewer at the Cambrian Brewery back in the 1830s and he was ambitious. He rapidly expanded the Willow Brewery over a 7000 square yard site with 140 foot tower. A sign of the times was that Peter Walker became mayor for two years running 1866-7 and 1867-8 and supplied the town with a ceremonial mace. He also got into a long running rivalry with another brewer, Thomas Rowlands.

In 1882 Peter Walker decided to move his brewing empire to Burton-on-Trent. Some say as he was slighted at not being picked as mayor a third time. More likely it was the better business opportunities in the Staffordshire town. The only link to Wales was a Welsh goat on the weather vane at his Burton brewery as he died soon after at his home in Coed-y-glyn in April 1882. He left £1000 to help build the National School on Madeira Hill, a sum of money roughly equivalent to £800,000 in today's money.

Walker's Wrexham business closed down in September 1883. The Borough Council bought the site and it became home to the famous Tuttle Street Baths and a host of other activities. Gutted by fire in the 1970s, the site was cleared soon after.

Retrace your steps along St Giles' Way till you reach the Pelican crossing again. Then turn right and walk along Tuttle Street towards a large brick building to the right of St Giles' Church. This was Soames' Brewery.