Historic Landscape Characterisation

Creuddyn and Arllechwedd – Area 18 Dolgarrog PRN 15820


SH 770675 looking east. Showing the disparate character of the settlement, the back of the terraced housing in the foreground and the factory beyond, situated at the bottom of the steep hillside



Historical background

Settlement within this area is marked from at least the early nineteenth century, when farms are evident along the lower slopes below Coed Dolgarrog (area 19) along the winding course of the turnpike road, but was significantly altered by the decision of the Aluminium Corporation Ltd to make use of the natural topography of the area to establish a hydro-generating station and aluminium reduction works on the valley floor. Aluminium reduction is a process which consumes enormous amounts of electricity, and which has therefore always been sited where there is abundant water-power to operate generators

The reduction works and hydro station began work in 1907 and 1908; a carbon factory was added in 1913 and a rolling mill in 1917. The reduction process was discontinued in 1943, and the factory now functions as a specialist rolling mill. The hydro-electricity power station's pipeline and the works' transport systems across the meadows and up the side of the hill are prominent features.

Suburban-style workers' houses were built from 1907 until 1926, resulting in the creation of an utterly untypical Welsh industrial community. The earlier houses are built mainly out of brick, and are rendered, those which date from the 1920s out of concrete sections. The village was laid out with no attention whatsoever to the lie of the land, in a long ribbon development which contrasts markedly with the organic settlement of the earlier farmhouses upslope.

The settlement differs little from the form which it achieved in the mid-1920s, due to the inability of the aluminium works to carry out further investment after the dam disaster of 1926, when the waters of Llyn Eigiau caused much loss of life in the area and put the factory temporarily out of action.


Key historic landscape characteristics

1920s ribbon development, distinctive house style

The village is an unusual Welsh example of an industrial ribbon development, and represents an only partially successful attempt to apply ‘garden suburb' principles. Grants have recently been made available to clad the 1920s houses in brick.


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