Photographer's Note

This small port in Amlwch was once one of the most important ports in the world. It was the world's biggest exporter of metal and a base for great ship-building in the 1800s.

Before the mining of Parys Mountain (out of shot to the left in the image), Amlwch was a quiet hamlet.

The emergence of Amlwch as an important player on the international industrial stage grew from the discovery of vast reserves of copper on Parys Mountain. Parys Mountain is one of only three sites in Wales which have evidence of copper mining during the Bronze and Roman Ages. The re-discovery of copper was made by local miner, Rowland Puw, who was given a bottle of whisky and a lifetime's free rent on a local cottage for his work. Others, however, profited far more from the mining and export of the metal which was in great demand as Europe began its industrial revolution.

The Amlwch mines, under the direction of Anglesey lawyer and entrepreneur Thomas Williams, better known to the miners as Twm Chwarau Teg (Fair Play Tom), became the world's most important producers of copper. Not only was it in huge demand by the emerging industries of the early years of the Industrial Revolution, the mining companies also produced sheathing for Nelson's 'Men of War' as well as minting their own coinage.

Such were the numbers of ships using Amlwch as a port at that time that delays were inevitable, and an Act of Parliament was passed in 1793 which allowed for the port's deepening, widening and regulation. Business that had previously been conducted on the western side was transferred to a raw broad quay, quarried out of the rock on the eastern side, where some of the buildings still stand (one of which is in the centre of the image).

Following the exhaustion of the mines, the port became a well known centre for ship-building. The yard belonging Captain William Thomas, a local man who ran away to sea when he was 12 years of age, turned out vessels renowned for their superior workmanship, speed and beauty. Vestiges of these yards remain, in the form of a sail loft, workshop chimneys, and a dry dock quarried out of the living rock. Other buildings such as the watch house with its little lighthouse, several copper bins, as well as a lime kiln, are much as they were in the 1800s. However, a number of warehouses, a water powered sawmill and a pub are now little more than ruins.


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Additional Photos by Michael Wright (mjw364) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 543 W: 6 N: 1492] (7516)
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