The Info List - Dolgarrog

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DOLGARROG is a village and community in Conwy County Borough , in Wales
, situated between Llanrwst and Conwy
, very close to the Conwy River . The village is well known for its industrial history since the 18th century and the Eigiau dam disaster, which occurred in 1925. The population was 414 at the 2001 Census, increasing to 446 at the 2011 Census.

The village is served by Dolgarrog railway station , a halt on the other side of the river Conwy

Surf Snowdonia , the worlds first commercial artificial surfing lake is located in Dolgarrog.


* 1 History

* 1.1 The legend of Y Garrog * 1.2 The Black Death
Black Death
* 1.3 The Gunpowder Plot
Gunpowder Plot

* 2 Industry

* 2.1 The Aluminium

* 3 \'Garden City\' * 4 Dam disaster * 5 Garden Art * 6 The Lord Newborough * 7 References * 8 External links



Believed to have been established around 1200 AD, Dolgarrog
is said to have got its name from a flying dragon called Y Garrog. This mythical beast preyed on livestock and Dolgarrog
(The Garrog's meadow) was the favourite meadow on which it swooped down from the heights above to carry off sheep. So serious were the losses that the farmers went on a dragon hunt armed with bows, arrows and spears.

One farmer, Nico Ifan, refused to go, claiming a dream had forewarned him the Garrog would cause his death. His fellow farmers laid a poisoned sheep's carcass on the heights above Eglwysbach across the river. The unsuspecting Garrog seized the bait, was caught and beaten to death.

Nico Ifan then came along to gloat over the dead dragon and cursed and kicked the corpse, whereupon the poisoned barbed wing of the Garrog pierced his leg thus fulfilling the death warning in his dream.


In the 1350s the Black Death
Black Death
took a heavy toll in the lower Conwy Valley, particularly among the bond tenants regulated by the King's officers from Aberconwy , Edward I 's new English borough. Their visits and contacts in effect spread the disease. Some townships of villeins , or crown tenants, such as Dolgarrog, were swept away. People left their lands or hid, unable to pay the taxes on their holdings.


A man privy to Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes
' Gunpowder Plot
Gunpowder Plot
is said to have lived in the house Ardda'r Myneich (Monks Hill), whose ruins lie in the fields above the road between Porthlwyd and Dolgarrog
bridges. Dr Thomas Williams (1550–1622), rector of St Peter's Church, Llanbedr-y-Cennin , was charged with having papist sympathies. He had warned Sir John Wynn of Gwydir to stay away from the Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
on that fateful day.


Dolgarrog's industrialisation began in the 18th century with a flour mill on Porthlwyd river to crush corn for local farmers. There was also a woollen mill at Dolgarrog
bridge and the Abbey mill.

The successful Porthlwyd mill was expanded by John Lloyd, son of founder Richard Lloyd. As well as grinding flour, he bought machines to make paper and flock for bedding. Paper
from Porthlwyd supplied local printers, including John Jones, printer of Trefriw
and later Llanrwst .

In 1885 the villagers wanted to start a school at Porthlwyd. The old village of Dolgarrog
appealed to Mr Robins, the then proprietor of the paper-mill. He let them turn a large empty room at the mill into a flourishing Sunday School
Sunday School
, known locally as Ystafell y drws goch ("the room with the red door") to make sure the children did not wander into the mill workings.

The Dolgarrog
sawmill of John Williams also flourished. It exported hundreds of tons of wooden railway sleepers for the new railways between 1845 and 1865. When the first sod was cut for the Conway and Llanrwst Railway track on 25 August 1860, on Lord Newborough 's land at Abbey, Dolgarrog, it was John Williams who supplied the sleepers.


The aluminium works (or "smelter") was originally planned in 1895. Water from reservoirs in the Snowdonia
Mountains would provide the hydro-electricity needed to run the mill.

In 1907, aluminium production began in the factory and in 1916 a rolling mill was added. In 1924, the hydro-electric plant was built next to the aluminium works to assist in the running of the mill.

During the Second World War
Second World War
the aluminium works were under the control of the Ministry of Aircraft Production and provided parts for aircraft. It is rumoured that the Luftwaffe
tried to destroy the works, but the bomber that was sent was shot down, and crash-landed in the mountains above the village.

Under the management of Henry Joseph Jack, the Aluminium
Corporation of Dolgarrog
acquired a controlling interest in the NORTH WALES POWER & TRACTION COMPANY in 1918. This company had been established by Act of Parliament in 1904, taking over powers awarded to the Portmadoc, Beddgelert & South Snowdon Railway to build a hydro-electric power station in Nant Gwynant for railway purposes, as well as a 2 ft gauge electric railway serving the places named in the 1901 Portmadoc, Beddgelert one of its assets was the 2 ft gauge horse-worked Croesor Tramway. Working with Pwllheli solicitor, and friend of the politician David Lloyd George, Evan Robert Davies and Dundee distiller Sir John Henderson Stewart Bt, Jack was a key player in the development of the Welsh Highland Railway
Welsh Highland Railway
, taking over the North Wales
Narrow Gauge Railways , reconstructing part of the Croesor Tramway
Croesor Tramway
for steam working, linking them with a new railway around Beddgelert and connecting the whole to the Festiniog Railway at Portmadoc. The trio also acquired control of the Festiniog Railway Company and the Snowdon Mountain Tramroad three managers, for instance, lived in Trefriw


Officials, journalists and survivors mingle on the street in the aftermath of the disaster. The man with the child in his arms, Edward Holland Roberts, was a butcher whose shop was washed away in the flood.

On 2 November 1925, the failure of two dams caused a flood that swamped the village of Dolgarrog, killing 16 people. The disaster was started by the failure of the Eigiau Dam , a gravity dam owned by the Aluminium
Corporation. The water released from the reservoir flooded downstream , and overtopped the Coedty Dam , an embankment dam . This dam also subsequently failed, releasing the huge volume of water that flooded Dolgarrog

Many more villagers could have been killed had they not been in the local theatre watching a film that night.

The disaster at Dolgarrog
led the British parliament to pass the Reservoirs (Safety Provisions) Act in 1930 that introduced laws on the safety of reservoirs. This has since been updated, and the current one is the Reservoirs Act, 1975.

In 2004 a £60,000 memorial trail was created, explaining the tragic story to walkers. The trail takes visitors to where the boulders from the damaged dam reside. The project was opened by the last survivor of the dam disaster, Fred Brown, who on that night lost his mother and his younger sister.

The construction of Eigiau dam had been facilitated by the construction of the Eigiau Tramway , which largely followed the route of the Cedryn Quarry Tramway from Dolgarrog. The incline was upgraded (and the lower section re-aligned), enabling steam engines to reach the starting point of the tramway, near Coedty reservoir
Coedty reservoir
. The tramway was built to standard gauge , but was subsequently relaid in narrow gauge (from about 1916) when the Cowlyd Tramway
Cowlyd Tramway
was begun. This latter tramway branched off from the Eigiau tramway at the top of the Dolgarrog

The line of the railway incline has today been replaced by a second pipeline, and the adjoining hillsides are wooded. However, there is a public footpath which goes up the hillside to the left of the pipeline, and in places the timberwork can still be seen. Today the left pipeline (viewed from Dolgarrog) carries water from Llyn Cowlyd, the right pipeline carries water from Coedty reservoir.

To the south of the Health Centre the remains of a lower incline (the old route of the Cedryn Tramway) can still be seen. This incline, which joined the upper section a little above the village, passed through a short tunnel under the road at Tyddyn Isaf, visible from the main road.

From here the original quarry tramway continued across the marshland to the edge of the River Conwy
at Porth Llwyd wharf.


Commenced in 2001, Garden Art is a local business that brings together both tasteful and unusual antique and contemporary garden statuary, tubs, architectural antiques, and specimen plants, all of which are displayed within a 10-acre (40,000 m2) site in the natural beauty of the Snowdonia
National Park in Wales. As well as selling all kinds of sculptures, it also claims to have the "World's Largest Hedge Maze" covering over 2 acres (8,100 m2) of land.


Built during the 1800s, the building sustained heavy damage when the dam burst in 1925, but was quickly repaired. It was the only restaurant in the village. Mostly served traditional Welsh food, sourced locally from the Conwy
Valley. The pub closed for business in September 2010, and is now a private dwelling.


* ^ Neighbourhood Statistics (2004-04-28). "View or Download Data: view full dataset". Neighbourhood Statistics. Retrieved 2012-02-11. * ^ "Community population 2011". Retrieved 22 May 2015. * ^ "icNorth Wales
- The killing fields of Dolgarrog". Icnorthwales.icnetwork.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-02-11. * ^ Johnson, Peter; An Illustrated History of the Welsh Highland Railway; Oxford Publishing Co, 2n