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Travel writer suggests Wrexham would be better off if it was further from English border

09 Jan 2022 3 minute read
Picture by the Welsh Government

A travel writer has suggested that Wrexham would be better off if it was further from the border with England.

Chris Moss made the suggestion about the town, which has gained worldwide attention since Wrexham AFC was taken over by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in an article for The Guardian on “unheralded areas”.

He said that Wrexham, which is six miles from the English border, “might have been better off if it could shirk off the old yoke and shift farther into Cymru.”

The writer also claimed that “Wrexham confounds English notions about Wales” of a “fantasy island of Merlin and Arthurian myth, the unpeopled Green Desert”.

In the article for the London-based liberal news organisation, he included the town as one of “6 great British places not in the guidebooks”.

It features alongside Warrington, Blackburn and Darwen, Surbiton, Birkenhead and Elephant & Castle (London).

Moss said: “There’s no such thing as a crap town, only crap travellers!

On Wrexham, he said: “Wrexham confounds English notions about Wales – the fantasy island of Merlin and Arthurian myth, the unpeopled Green Desert, and laughingly tying one’s tongue over Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

“It’s six miles from the English border – and there is a sense that it might have been better off if it could shirk off the old yoke and shift farther into Cymru.

“The most purist form of tourism is to travel in search of nothing, whether that’s a colourful version of empty spaces (Patagonia, Death Valley, the central Asian steppe) or a ghost of what has been. Wrexham, from the latter viewpoint, is quite remarkable, a veritable Paris of what is lost.

‘Highlights’ 

He added: “Highlights of the missed include the former police station, a Brutalist masterpiece that was razed in November 2020; the mock Tudor vegetable market, demolished to make way for a BHS, now also extinct; Manchester, Birmingham and Yorkshire Squares, where trading in textiles, hardware and leather from those respective regions took place.

“The General Market (formerly the Butter Market, for dairy produce), built in 1879 in the famous Ruabon brick of this area, is the last edifice to evoke the glory days of Wrexham as a commercial hub. With plans to demolish the old Rhosddu vicarage and 18th-century Moreton pub – despite local protests – the ‘capital of north Wales’ seems anxious to keep emphasising the ‘wreck’ in Wrexham. As they say in the guidebooks, go before it’s gone.


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Cath Hill
Cath Hill
10 months ago

Wrecsam is a victim of the people that live there, who are in turn victims of capitalism and the utter collapse of working prospects and the lack of even half a good education system. It doesn’t help that the WCBC is rotten with corruption to the core going back at least four decades, with counsellors routinely getting fat of brown envelopes, property exploitation (including exploitation of public housing stock, until the abolish of right to buy, gaming the housing lists in more affluent areas so that members of counsellors families were offered council properties in somewhere like Marchweil, that were… Read more »

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
10 months ago
Reply to  Cath Hill

WCBC wouldn’t happen to be made up of Tory councillors woud it?

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Over half are independents, followed by Labour, Tories, and Plaid. Only the Plaid counsellors seem to have any interest in improving the quality of life in the town. Cath Hill is correct in her assessment of past Wrexham counsellers. She could have added their willingness to have the town’s Victorian architectural heritage bulldozed (referred to in the article itself). They have a history of corruption.

Jonathan Edwards
10 months ago
Reply to  Cath Hill

You make it sound a lot like Carmarthen or Llanelli. Until the last few months, I’d never been there but then I went a number of times, for work. Lot of positives. Party lines seem fuzzy in Wrecsam, as quite a few local politicians actually seem to put their town first – eg Marek. Love it that they revived Wrexham FC, and the lager which I support by buying it online. What makes them different to so much of Wales is that they actually make things – think Airbus. Good luck Wrexham

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

I bet Chester Football Club are wishing they weren’t so close to the border too…

Penderyn
Penderyn
10 months ago

Wrecsam was also one of the main centres of tanning leather in Britain. British leather decided to destroy the industry here by moving it to Northampton in 70s costing 28000 job losses. Gutted the place. Northampton clung on for another two decades before it was outdone by a mixture of higher quality Italian leather industry competition and cheap imports elsewhere.

Source: I was a tanner

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