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Heart of the Community

The steelworks was at the heart of the local community. The fortunes of the two were closely linked. 

As a non-conformist and Victorian industrialist William Darby took an interest in the welfare of his workforce. He established the Brymbo Institute and Reading Room. It was not as successful as he hoped, as few steelworkers were teetotallers (The Darbys were great supporters of the temperance movement and so banned the sale of alcohol from their premises and land. Teetotallers do not drink alcohol).

Brymbo Silver Band © Wrexham Archives, postcard collection

The steelworkers later took over the Institute and managed it themselves. The institute supported cricket, rifle, tennis and bowls clubs, financed the silver band and supplied newspapers and magazines for the reading room.

The works magazine offered a selection of news, humour, stories of general interest, and educational articles on science, engineering, steelmaking and the history of the works. © Bersham Heritage Centre Collection

During the twentieth century its successor, the Brymbo Sports & Social Club, became the social centre for Brymbo steelworkers and their families. Everything happened there or in the grounds outside: inter-departmental sports competitions, regular discos and dances, union meetings and award presentations, not forgetting the carnival and the annual crowning of the Steel Queen!

The steelworks brought more than jobs, it gave the village a unique identity and a pride too.

The steelworkers were active in the community – raising money for local charities and organising an annual Children’s Christmas party. © Bersham Heritage Centre Collection

The steelworkers were active in the community – raising money for local charities and organising an annual Children’s Christmas party. © Bersham Heritage Centre Collection

Brymbo High Street, featuring the local co-op, early 20th century © Wrexham Archives, postcard collection

Where did Brymbo steelworkers live?

Where did Brymbo steelworkers live?

Brymbo Village – 152
Brymbo district villages – 396
Wrexham – 252
Coedpoeth & district – 160
Wrexham West industrial villages – 74
Wrexham rural villages – 50
Flintshire & Denbighshire – 40
Cheshire & beyond – 10
Total – 1,134