Wednesday, 13 January 2010

A birds eye view of Llangefni in the 1950s

click image to enlarge

The Druid has come across this 1950s photo of Llangefni taken from the air. This was back in a time when Llangefni was still a very wealthy Market Town with:

  • 2 Livestock Auction Houses (one is visible on the bottom left of the photo, and the other is just above the centre on the right hand side)
  • 8 pubs (The Red Lion, The Cross Keys, The Bull Hotel, The Market, The Ship, The Good Lion, The Foundry Vaults, and the Railway)
  • A cinema (visible above the Auction House in the bottom left) 
  • An electricity generating plant (top centre)
  • 2 Elementary Schools (Ysgol Penrallt and Ysgol British)
  • 1 High School ("County School")
  • 4 Butchers
  • 4 Banks
  • 3 Iron Mongers
  • 2 Tailors
  • 2 Blacksmiths
  • 3 Newsagents / booksellers
  • 2 Undertakers

And all of this in a town which must have had only half of its current population. Neither of the Auction Houses exist anymore, four of the pubs served their last pints years ago, the cinema is long gone and the rest of the businesses decimated. Indeed a large portion of the stores now are boarded up or replaced with endless Charity Shops.

As Llangefni was built on the wealth of the surrounding farms and the regular livestock markets held there, its decline is directly connected to the decline of agriculture on the island. The admirable Dylan Jones-Evans has posted on the plight of agriculture in North Wales, noting:

  • the economic contribution of agriculture in North Wales has declined by 67 per cent during the period 1997-2007 as compared to an overall UK decline of 7 per cent
  • whilst agriculture accounted for 2.5 per cent of the North Wales economy in 1997, this had fallen to 0.6 per cent by 2007. Indeed, agriculture was producing £175 million for the North Wales economy in 1997 but this had plummeted to £57 million a decade later. Unbelievably, this decline accounts for 8 per cent of the total reduction in overall UK agricultural output during this period.
  • worst of all, if the relative contribution of agriculture to the North Wales economy had been the same in 2007 as it had been in 1997, then the sector would have been generating an additional £187 million in output that year.
Its a very sad picture - and the effects of this rural malaise are writ large in today's Llangefni.

What will an ariel photo of Llangefni taken in 50 years time show? Will there be anything left?

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