Soames Family and Brewery

by Nigel Whitby.

Arthur Soames, born 1816, stoke Newington, London, England, who married Anna Amelia Gilstrap, born 1823, Newark, Nottinghamshire, England. Their marriage took place on May 27th, 1852 in Newark. They lived in Waltham Old Hall near Grimsby then later in Newark. They had five children; one was named Fredric William Soames, who was born June 2nd, 1857 in Blackheath, Kent.

The Soames family first came to Wrexham in 1879, Arthur Soames was from a landed gentry’s family background and had an interest in breweries. Arthur bought a small brewery called Nags Head Brewery from Mr H K Aspinall that was facing bankruptcy in 1879, this had started up in around 1834 in Tuttle Street, Wrexham. Arthur gave it to his sons Arthur Gilstrap and Frederic William to run and Mr H K Aspinall was employed as a senior manager to help, after a while Fredric took over full control of the brewery. Fredric was educated at Winchester school and learnt the brewery trade with Tetley’s in Leeds and in the mid 1880’s he was living at the family farm, Plas-yn-Fron, Esclusham, Wrexham.

On 29th April 1885, Fredric married Julia Mary West, born 1858, Loughnstown, Dublin, and they went on to have six children. In the census of 1891, it showed Fredric and Julia Mary Soames living in Llwyn Onn hall, Abenbury, Wrexham, they lived there for several years.

Fredric William Soames as Mayor 1891

Fredric William Soames. (Fredric is the Great Uncle of Sir Nicolas Soames whose Grandfather is Sir Winston Churchill) From the start Fredric was a dynamic businessman who quickly over 10 years expanded the now renamed brewery, F W Soames & Co into the largest brewery in Wrexham town. From just six outlets when Nags Head brewery, F W Soames & Co brewery grew to over 120 throughout Mid and North Wales, Fredric continuously buying and selling inns, hotels and land during his long career. The brewery itself was improved and extended with a redbrick Brewhouse capable of working 50 quarters of malt in one operation, office block and cellarage for 5000 casks in 1894 and now the brewery was both sides of Tuttle Street.

Mr Soames employed several hundred people in Wrexham, most through his company who enjoyed yearly outings organised and payed for by F W Soames & Co. They would be held at local venues such as The Talbot Inn, at Mr and Mrs Soames home residence and sometimes further afield as far as Liverpool on a day trip outing.

When Mr and Mrs Soames married in 1885, they celebrated the occasion by organising an event at the Nags Head for employees to attend for an evening meal. The now locally famous 130ft chimney that was built in 1894 behind The Nags Head, had wrought iron reinforcing bands and dated terracotta panels with the logo ‘S’ (Soames brewery) the chimney is highly ornamented, this might have been a tribute to his Father who died that year on the 28th April, 1894 at Llwyn Onn Hall, Abenbury. Anna Amelia Soames, died in 1900, Arthur and Anna Soames are buried in the family grave at All Saints Church, Gresford. In the early 1990’s the former AM and MP, Dr John Marek, thankfully acquired the chimney to save it from demolition, and today is Grade II listed. Early 20th century approx. around 1920, the last Brewhouse extension was built by F W Soames & Co on the front of the brewery.

Mr Soames was an advocate for modernisation and some of the premises that F W Soames & co acquired were demolished and rebuilt in Wrexham to larger and more modern designs of that time period. Most noticeably that still stands proudly between Hope Street and Queen Street is The Talbot Inn that F W Soames & Co acquired on 17th March 1888 for £4250, the old pub was demolished, and was rebuilt into a much larger building and became an hotel with extra shop premises along Queen Street in 1905. A well-known local Architect who designed the plans for the Talbot building was Mr. M J Gummow, who also designed many other beautiful buildings around Wrexham. Mr Gummow designed the Poyser Street Drill Hall building in 1902, the opening ceremony of the Drill Hall took place on the 6th April 1903 by Field Marshall. Fredrick Sleigh Roberts. and Mayor. F W Soames.

Talbot Building is one of the most photographed buildings used to promote Wrexham and especially when politicians or local councillors want to promote Wrexham town centre or themselves.
It’s obvious the Tudor revival style of the facade is a favourite of Mr Soames and the materials used and build structure would be like that of Bryn Estyn Hall built in the previous year. There are not many buildings that have the Tudor look around Wrexham area, as the few that existed, most have now been demolished.

The beautiful Talbot building as it stands today.

Initial agreement, 1 of 3 pages, between Revd John Ollerhead, 48 Hope Street and Mr F W Soames regarding the far larger rebuild of The Talbot Hotel with guarantee of works necessary on 48, Hope Street. Dated 13th August 1904.

The Old Three Tuns, Brook Street, this was acquired by F W Soames &Co on 17th September 1894 for £1525, the old pub had to be demolished, as a new substantial stone retaining wall and town well had to be built. This was for the new Central railway Station that was built above for the Ellesmere to Wrexham Railway line that opened in late 1895, so The Three Tuns was rebuilt in 1896 by F W Soames & Co.

Front gable ornamental design on The Three Tuns, and you can see the Soames logo, a bridled horse’s head at the top of the facade.

The sale particulars of The Three Tuns and other properties for auction on 17th September 1894, acquired by F W Soames & Co.

The Talbot Inn Hotel stayed open until 1966, now today are shops, and The Three Tuns after closing in 1984 reopened in 2000 and is now called The Wrexham Railway Club. Both buildings are Grade II listed after the 1994-95 national survey by Cadw. The census of 1901 showed that the Soames family lived in Plas Power Hall, Bersham, Wrexham.

Mr Soames was elected to Wrexham Town Council and represented the South Ward from 1890-95 and served as Mayor in 1891-1892 but did not seek re-election to Mayor after his term in office. In the coronation year 1901 of King Edward VII, the council honoured Mr Soames by electing him Mayor from outside the council (which is unusual from outside Council Members) and also in the following year through respect and unanimous request from his colleagues in the Council. Although I would imagine Mr Soames was elected Mayor as being a leading prominent person in Wrexham town, he would have been the right person to represent the town when George, Prince of Wales and his family visited Wrexham in May 1903 on their tour of Wales. Mr Soames was the first mayor to hold office three times since the position was introduced in 1857 to Wrexham and has the longest gap between his Mayoralty roles of 10 years. For several years after Mr Soames represented Marchwiel on the Denbighshire County council.

The poor of Wrexham found him a sympathiser as he opened and maintained several soup kitchens at his own expense, the first being at the Old Swan Inn yard, Abbot Street from 1892. Electric power came to Wrexham in c1890’s, and always a progressive Councillor, Mr Soames was a pioneering advocate of electric lighting for the town.
Mr Soames was chairman of the Brewers association of North Wales, chairman of Edisbury North Wales Mineral water and a partner with his brother Harold, who owned a brewery in chesterfield. Along with his other brother Arthur Gilstrap they owned other extensive malting houses at Grimsby and Spalding in Lincolnshire. Arthur Gilstrap Soames in 1909 bought Sheffield Park that is today considered to be one of the most beautiful parks in the UK. The gardens of Sheffield Park are now owned by the National Trust, open to the public for all to enjoy, and the old Hall, Grade II listed was bought by a property developer and turned into apartments.

Mr and Mrs Soames had a vested interest in their local village Rhosnessney (Today Rhosnesni) and were keen Church people reading lessons at Plas Power, private chapel, and Rhosnessney Mission Church. They donated handsomely towards the fund for Wrexham National Schools, and Mr Soames being one of the governors on the Wrexham Infirmary committee, itself received large donations also towards the running of the hospital mainly from the Soames Charity cup. 1911 census, the Soames family lived at Bryn Estyn Hall, Rhosnessney, in the township of Bieston they had built in 1904 after the old Hall, built in the 1780’s was demolished.
The uncle of, Olave, St.Clair Soames, Mr Soames was a keen supporter of the 1st Rhosnessney Troop Boy Scouts of which he financially helped and was the president from 1918, allowing them to use rooms in his companies business until numbers became too great. 1925, Mrs Whyte gifted land in Rhosnessney and Mr Soames paid for the construction of the scout hut that still stands today.

1st Rhosnesni Scout hut as it was a few years ago before refurbishment.

Olave and Robert Baden-Powell and their 3 children.

Lieutenant-General Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouts Association (1910) and Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, GBE, Chief Guide/ Girl scouts, they married in1912, were regular visitors to her uncle and auntie at the Soames family home, Bryn Estyn Hall.

Mrs Jill Armitage, author of The Derbyshire Childhood of Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, 1994, when interviewing her youngest daughter Hon. Mrs Betty Clay, she recalls visiting her Aunt Julia Soames who lived in a house called Bryn Estyn in North Wales when she was a young girl. In her biography, Olave mentions that she was secretly engaged to her cousin William Noel Soames (Died in the Great War) for one week when she was 21 and this would be around 1910, and Lady Baden-Powell at some time owned a cocker spaniel dog called Estyn.

The gardens and grounds at Bryn Estyn Hall were well known throughout Wrexham and surrounding countryside for their beauty, and Mr and Mrs Soames entertained many charitable societies, foremost amongst them being the National Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (N.S.P.C.C) they were life supporters and donated very generously to for many years.

In the world of sport Mr Soames was very prominent and rendered a great service to Wrexham football, as life president of Wrexham AFC from 1892 and the owner of the Racecourse, Turf Hotel that he bought for £7,200 in 1898. The Racecourse is the oldest international football ground in the world which is still in use today. The earliest surviving film footage, British Pathe’ , of an international football match was filmed at the Racecourse when Wales played Ireland on 2nd April 1906, it shows the players leaving the old Mold road changing rooms next to the Turf Hotel.

March 11th 1912, British Pathe’, England v Wales at Wrexham Racecourse, is the first film showing the covered stand along Mold road that was courtesy of F W Soames & co. Mr Soames watched most of the games, especially the annual Welsh Cup and Soames Charity cup (he created in 1892) from the balcony of the Turf Hotel of which hundreds of pounds were raised for local charities (equivalent to tens of thousands in today’s money) that he himself donated to generously. Wrexham AFC hold the record of Welsh cup wins of 23 to date, 12 of them being won under Mr F W Soames presidency.

Wrexham football club meeting in 1899, the main subject of discussion was on increasing gate receipts, as the ground was holding more international games, and they agreed that spectators would feel more comfortable under a covered stand. Mr Soames was asked by the club members if he could provide the funds towards the building of the cover stand, of which he obliged, and it was erected along the Mold road side next to the old changing rooms of the Turf hotel c1900.

The Mold road stand and changing rooms after nearly a century were demolished and made way for what was originally named Pryce Griffiths stand in 1999.

One of the first aerial photographs, below, of Wrexham Racecourse taken in the 1940’s, showing The Turf and the first covered stand along Mold Road, built c1900 and funded by F W Soames & co, showing other covered stands later slowly being built around the ground. Today the Racecourse looks totally different, not even Mr Soames would begrudge the change, as he was a progressive moderniser who would wish its continued success.

Mr and Mrs Soames custom was to entertain the players and officials at the end of each season at their home (majority of them being at Bryn Estyn Hall estate from 1905 to 1925) and hand over to Mr Soames safe keeping any silverware that Wrexham had won in the season.

Welsh Cup. Kept at Mr and Mrs Soames Home 12 times While Mr Soames was president over 30 years.

Bryn Estyn 1905

Bryn Estyn 1924

1898 Plan showing Turf Hotel and 15 acres approx. this includes Wrexham Racecourse ground, and the Conveyance first page of 7 of transfer of ownership from the Wynn family to F W Soames.

There were many other sports Mr Soames enjoyed, including golf and was a keen horseman, and he was regarded as being one of the finest local amateur billiard players of his time. He enjoyed playing chess and was a life president of the Wrexham Chess Club.
Mr F W Soames and Mrs Julia Mary Soames had six children, first born and only daughter, Edith Mary Soames, born 1886 in Wrexham, Wales, Edith was privately educated at home, went on to marry Captain William Miles Kington, Royal Welsh Fusiliers in 1908 at St Giles Parish church Wrexham . Capt. Kington was awarded the Distinguished Service Order medal (DSO) in 1902 for services beyond the call of duty. The Great War, Capt. Kington was killed in action at Ypres, Belgium in 1914 after being hit by a shell, he was 38.

The family have never known were their relative was buried until recently when his grave was discovered in Tyne Cot cemetery, Zonnebeke, Belgium, as his headstone did not have his name on it, just the words, Captain in Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Below is a picture of Capt. Kington’s family members including his great grandson and great granddaughter with the Royal Welsh Regiment, attending a re-dedication service, 105 years after his death at the grave were his name was finally added to a new headstone in June 2019.

They had one son, William Beresford Nairn Kington in 1909, William fought in WW2 and gained the rank of Captain in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, he became director of Border Breweries, vice president of Wrexham AFC, then president from 1967 until he died in 1982. Capt. W N Kington is buried in the family grave at All Saints, church, Gresford. Edith Mary Soames died in 1962, and Edith died never knowing were her husband was buried, as well as her son William for his father.

Arthur Henry Leslie Soames, born 1887 in Wrexham, Wales, Arthur was educated at Eton College and then went on to serve with the 3rd King’s Own Hussars in South Africa, and then Arthur learnt to fly in Nov 1912 at Vickers Flying School Brooklands, in a Vickers Monoplane. In WWI Arthur took part in the very first British deployment of aircraft to the theatre of war, as part of the Expeditionary Force in 1914. Arthur was flight commander of No.4 Squadron and piloted a B.E.2a biplane to Boulogne which is one of many missions he did during the war.

B.E.2a biplane first flown on 1st Feb 1912. 3500 total production.

At Buckingham Palace in May 1915, King George V presented the Military Cross to Arthur in recognition of his valour during aerial reconnaissance missions over enemy territory. Arthur also received the Legion d’Honneur which is the highest ranked award from the French government. Earlier that year he was appointed First Commanding Officer of the Armament Experimental Flight (AEF) at the Central Flying School in Upavon, Wiltshire. The AEF’s task was to assess new technology and techniques for military aviation, then in its infancy.

July 1915 Arthur and his colleagues were testing an experimental high explosive bomb and its fuse. They retreated at least 80 yards away and Arthur stood behind a tree for protection. He was unfortunately struck by a fragment of the bomb and died soon afterwards, during an inquest the jury returned a verdict of accidental death whilst on duty. Commanding Officer Arthur Henry Leslie Soames was buried, with full military honours at the family grave at All Saints, church, Gresford, and then in Feb 1916 a bronze tablet in his memory was erected in St Giles, Parish church in Wrexham. King George V wrote personally to Arthur’s commanding Officer demanding the circumstances of his death. The reason most probably is the King had not just awarded Arthur a highly ranked medal the month before, but the fact he knew the Soames family from when he visited Wrexham in 1903 when Arthur was just 16. The King had given permission for RFC’s badge and the Military Cross to be depicted on the tablet. Arthur is also commemorated on the airmen’s war memorial at Lupton’s Tower, Eton College.

William Noel Soames, born 1889 in Wrexham, Wales, and William was educated at Cheam School, Cheltenham College, and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Before the war he was a brewer’s manager at Soames brewery, and then in 1912 he joined the Cheshire Yeomanry and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1914 and served with B Squadron.
The Squadron was sent to Alexandria, Egypt in March 1916, to fight against the Senussi religious sects that were persuaded by the Turkish to attack the British. The heat was averaging 110F (43C) with scorching winds the Squadron sent out reconnaissance patrols, on camel back, on a regular basis 4-5 days at a time.

Lieutenant Soames despite not feeling well for several days insisted on taking his turn with the next patrol but returned within Three days barely recognisable and was admitted to Mania Hospital. After two days William died, it was believed to be heart failure and rigours of the climate, many more men died this way through exhaustion. Lieutenant William Noel Soames was buried, with full military honours at Coptic Cemetery, Mania, Egypt. 1919 the alter table and frontal ornaments were given by Mr and Mrs Soames to St Giles parish church in Wrexham in memory of their son William.

Julian Alfred Soames, born 1893 in Wrexham, Wales, and Julian was educated at Cheam School, Cheltenham Collage, joined the 5th Dragoon Guards in 1914 and worked his way up to being Captain Whilst in the field, and incredibly he was shot three times in two separate battles. Julian was in the battle of the Mons, and in the battle of Marne he was shot twice with one bullet passing straight through his skull. Having a short period of respite in hospital, Julian returned to the fray telling a comrade that he was fine apart from occasional headaches. In his last campaign at the Somme 1916, he was reported to be missing in action presumed dead to his family at home.

The battle of the Somme started in July and finished in November 1916 and is one of the most horrific slaughters of men for gaining just five miles of enemy territory. The British casualties’ alone number roughly 420,000 in only four months of fighting and are considered to be one of the great atrocities of the First World War.

With relief the Soames family were informed that Julian had been captured and he was released early 1918, most probably because he was a wounded prisoner as unfortunately he had been shot in the leg that had to be amputated, and so he returned to his family home Bryn Estyn to rest. What Julian suffered and also what horrific scenes he had witnessed must have been mentally stressful, but thankfully he met Miss Marion Scott and they married in 1921 and after a few years they moved to Dinard , Brittany, France, they had one daughter. 1930 after suffering such major injuries from the Great War, he died peacefully at his home in France. Julian was brought back to Wales to be buried, with full military honours at St Dunawd’s Church, Bangor Is y coed.

The last two brothers also survived the war, along with the many hundreds of other men returning to Wrexham area after witnessing such horrific scenes of death and destruction, what effect did it have on them all? Major Fredrick Evelyn Soames, born 1891 in Wrexham, Wales and known as Evelyn went on to become manager of Soames Brewery after WWI, then a director when Border brewery, and President of Wrexham AFC, until he died in 1967.

Captain Cecil Tudor Soames, born 1895 in Wrexham, Wales, moved to Kenya, East Africa where he ran a coffee farm until he died there in 1938, cause unknown.

Mr and Mrs Soames suffered great personal loss during WWI along with many other families living around Wrexham, yet this did not deter them from their duties and support for many charities long after the Great War.
On 8th March 1926 after a short spell of ill health, Mr Fredric William Soames Esq, passed away peacefully in the home that he and Mrs Soames had built in 1904, their legacy Bryn Estyn Hall.

Many newspapers headlines (some national) described when writing Mr Soames obituary, passing of a Public-spirited Citizen, Mr Soames was held in high esteem by the people of Wrexham, one of the best known men in Wrexham town, Wrexham will be a poorer place with the passing of Mr F W Soames esq.

One of many obituaries written in local and national newspapers.

At the funeral, employees of Soames brewery acted as coffin bearers and walked into Gresford Church with the 1st Rhosnessney Scouts forming a guard of honour, in respect to their president.
Others present were, Lord Kenyon (Lord Lieutenant of the County), Major Lloyd Mostyn.( Royal Welsh Fusiliers) Inspector J. W. Stone ( N.S.P.C.C) Mr D. Harding Griffiths (Welsh F.A.) All of the Wrexham AFC team and management, Bryn Estyn staff and other representatives for charity organisations that the Soames family supported.

The Soames family without doubt were very prominent in Wrexham from the late 19th century through to mid-20th century, F W Soames & Co especially with its rebuilding of beautiful buildings around Wrexham, including Bryn Estyn Hall. Mr Fredric William Soames can only be described as a philanthropist for all he did for Wrexham town and the people, who needed help through his many charities that he supported and created.

Mr and Mrs Soames must have enjoyed the ambiance of Wrexham Town and countryside and adopted it as their home town, as they lived around the town for by far the majority of their adult lives until their deaths, their children born and lived around Wrexham, Wales.

Bryn Estyn Hall. Picture taken in 2013, The Hall is now called Erlas House.

Mrs Soames and her son Fredric Evelyn Soames received a probate of £113,268 from Mr Soames estate. In 1928 Mrs Soames put Bryn Estyn up for sale, for half the original cost to build and most of its household appointments and rare and genuine antiques were sold in a separate auction

Mrs Soames then moved to Gladwyn, Gresford, (today a residential home) possibly to be nearer her husband’s grave, still supporting many charities including the RSPCA and Nursing Association.
Mrs Julia Mary Soames died on 24th March 1940. Mrs Soames probate was £14938. Mr and Mrs

Soames are buried in the family grave at All Saints Church, Gresford, Nr Wrexham.

1929 the great depression started, which affected all major economies in the world. F W Soames & Co had to eventually merge with two other breweries, Island Green Brewery and Oswestry firm of Dorset Owen in 1931, and the new brewery was called Border Breweries Ltd as others went under. All production moved to the old Soames Brewery in Wrexham, Island Green brewery was used for a stores depot and Dorset Owen building was demolished.

The Island Green brewery buildings were used until the 1970’s, then left derelict until they were given Grade II listing in 1981 for some of the brewery and Malthouses and eventually turned into 34 town apartments in the late 1990’s.

In the mid 1930’s, Border Brewery became quite successful and added another large square 5 story section to the front of the building and its outlets grew to over 170, which still included the ownership of Wrexham Racecourse ground and the Turf Hotel. The Racecourse is the only football ground in the UK ever to be owned entirely by a brewery, this spans over 8 decades, with many times Wrexham AFC suffering financial troubles. F W Soames & Co and Border Brewery waived the rent owed to them on many occasions, and sometimes giving the football club money, and help raise it as well.

This gave it so much stability thanks to Mr F W Soames and later Border Brewery, with Major Fredrick Evelyn Soames as one of the senior Directors and President of the Wrexham club until he died in 1967.
Captain. William Nairn Kington (Mr and Mrs Soames grandson) became president of Wrexham AFC after Major F E Soames died, and kept the tradition of helping and supporting the football club whilst he was senior director of Border brewery until he died in 1982.

Border in the early 1980’s suffered sales problems and with increased competition was eventually taken over by Marston’s in 1984. Sadly, within six months Marston’s shut the operation down and sold on all the 170 outlets including Wrexham Racecourse ground, and its 150-year production of fine ales came to an end.

2003 A survey was carried out by Castlering Archaeology for the partial demolition and conversion of the buildings known as Tuttle Street Brewery into luxury apartments, by now literally just walls and a roof, as the interior was totally derelict and rapidly deteriorating.
J-Ross Developments Ltd acquired the building and along with planning consent and a WDA town improvement grant, realised that the most modern part of the building due for demolition was actually an important part of the building to save and convert.

2005 The five storeys Brewhouse extension built in the mid 1930’s when it was Border Brewery (this was due for demolition) and the original extensions that F. W. Soames & co built in 1894, 1920, that are grade II listed were converted into 16, 1 to 3 bedroomed luxury apartments. The entire project cost £2.6 million to complete with the apartments selling from £110,000 to £275,000.

Drawing plan of the front facade of the Tuttle Street brewery below, shaded part due for demolition, but any developer or architect can see its potential for redevelopment as they would in any substantial building of this size.

First page of 23 of the conveyance for the merger of ownership of F W Soames & Company to Border Breweries Wrexham Limited.

A simple plan 2nd page of conveyance showing details of F W Soames & Co Brewery with the Wrexham to Ellesmere railway line going through the middle of the brewery.

Below, an aerial photograph taken in 1924 showing Wrexham town that had probably not changed much in the previous 50 to 60 years. The only major change would have been the Wrexham to Ellesmere railway line that was built in 1892-1895, this went straight through the middle of the town including F W Soames & Co brewery.

I would estimate that 50% of buildings seen in this picture have since been demolished. At the time several buildings had to be demolished in the town to make way for the new rail line and compensation was offered. The railway company claimed that only one small building would be affected going through Soames brewery. Mr Soames strongly disputed this as there were 3 buildings affected and the line went straight through the middle of his brewery, thus he had to take the rail company to court. Mr Soames won his case, but the consequence was the rail line build was delayed and several opposition councillors took advantage of this and accused Mr Soames also being greedy for money.

Mr Soames was a businessman and he was in his right to claim a larger compensation package as it was clear his business premises were greatly affected by the railway line and many of Wrexham’s councillors agreed with this. At this time Mr Soames was in his first role as Mayor and at the end of his term he did not seek re-election for this position, as most of the councillors hoped he would.

The real reason was Mr Soames felt a little aggrieved with the councillors that accused him of being greedy, as he had taken the role of Mayoralty with the utmost respect. Mr Soames though publicly said the reason why he did not seek re-election was simply to do with business needs, and he could not fit in the time required to do the position of Mayor as well. The Soames family were in the past very popular and held with high regard by the people of Wrexham, they helped many poor and needy people through the many charity organisations they supported.

With the support of Wrexham football that had no real financial worries for many decades, they’re barely mentioned in history that has now been totally forgotten. Soon the hall they lived in like many other fine buildings will be demolished and forgotten as well, this seems to be a trend in Wrexham that has carried on now for many years with no end in sight…

The Hat Inn was rebuilt in the early 20th Century and was owned by F W Soames & Co when ownership was passed over to Border Breweries Ltd, there is no solid evidence that F W Soames rebuilt it but you would presume it was the case. Today it is Schwarz Opticians.

Travellers Rest, Hightown, recorded by Wrexham History as being rebuilt in 1921 and a Soames house then Border but there is no evidence to support this? Although there would be only a few people capable financially in doing this at that time in Wrexham.

Talbot Inn, 1898, Hope Street. A Soames tied house. Rebuilt in 1905

This is a section of a 1913 Tithe map showing the Racecourse with the first covered stand next to the Turf Hotel.

Poyser Street, Drill Hall, built in 1902 with its plans drawn by Mr M J Gummow, Architect

Nags Head, Soames 130ft chimney and Tuttle Street Brewery as they are today.

All the photographs below are a few examples of buildings that have escaped the Wrecking Ball and have been renovated and reused for 21st century use that have helped keep heritage alive, also importantly keep waste down and lower Co2 emissions. Below a substantial building repurposed and converted into apartments, being built in 1913 (Edwardian period) for housing Waifs and strays then after WWII became a home for older children that was supported and run by the church of England until around 1980. The building inside is quite quirky with most rooms with uneven high-pitched ceilings and obtuse angled wall dimensions, this was converted into apartments in 2008. Land at the back of the building had extra apartment blocks built on, 15 in total, they sold for £130,000 to £150,000 each. The building is GradeII listed by Cadw in 1994 surveyed when it was being used as offices.

St Giles House, Rhosnesni Lane, Wrexham.

These large semi-detached pair of houses built over a century ago and not listed, were converted into a Hotel and called Belmont Hotel on Belmont Road, Wrexham. Recently a developer acquired the old hotel and converted them into a block of 6 apartments called Belmont House, asking price of £140,000 each.

Plas-y-coed, Bangor, built in 1878 and Grade II listed, a little further afield but a good example of a substantial building totally wrecked, but still being repurposed into 12 apartments with 16 houses built on its 15-acre grounds.

This building was literally collapsing in on itself with no roof and rotting from inside out yet was still saved!!

Part of the old Hightown Barracks were converted into 1 and 2 bed apartments in 2011, they were built in 1877 and the Royal Welsh Fusiliers had their depot in the barracks until recent times.

Gothic Revival Chapel, unused for many years, converted into a family home and as you can see the exterior cleaned up lovely including the roof and now looks as though it has just been built.
A great example of how buildings well over a century old can be brought back to life to any purpose and are a great contrast to modern buildings that surround them, also keeps heritage alive.

Maes y Dderwen care home, Grosvenor Road, Wrexham. These are not listed buildings. 4 large Victorian late 19th Century properties repurposed into 60 affordable apartments for the elderly aged 60 and over, opened 2019 after being derelict for several years. Stonework cleaned and heritage colours used bringing new life into old buildings that if demolished and rebuilt would have had a huge impact on the environment and the ever increasing carbon footprint…

Cherry Hill day nursery in Borras. Opened around 2000, built in 1936 as a private house and run as a children’s home from 1970 until 1998. This building is connected to the North Wales Child Abuse scandal, it is a relatively ordinary looking building with upvc windows but is Grade II listed? Cadw national survey 1994-95.

Researched and compiled by Nigel Whitby. May 2020

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