The Old Quay House, Connah's Quay
This building has the date 1777 inscribed on its frontage. Originally a farmhouse, it was an inn by Victorian times. It was rebuilt in the early 20th century, when the stone bearing the date was set in its current position.
Local legend has it that the property was once owned by an Irishman called Connah, and that this gave rise to the town name Connah’s Quay. There are records of people with that surname in the area, but nobody knows which of them bestowed their name on the town, previously known as New Quay.
In 1777 the port here was growing rapidly. The New Cut, a channel along the Dee estuary, had been dug in 1737. The subsequent new ports along the Flintshire coast were more suitable than Chester for ships. In the 18th century, large volumes of locally mined coal were despatched to Ireland from Connah’s Quay and other ports. Some of the coal travelled to Chester in boats, which carried heavy goods more efficiently than any over-land vehicles.
The port at Connah’s Quay was reshaped with the arrival of a coal-carrying tramway in 1799, and the Buckley Railway in 1862. The land both sides of the surviving stone-lined dock, opposite the Old Quay House, was a mass of rail sidings by 1900, but by 1929 the docks were suffering from neglect and their owner, the London & North Eastern Railway, wanted rid of the maintenance responsibility.
Several ship builders had yards in Connah’s Quay. One of them, operated by William Butler, was close to the Old Quay House and specialised in making lifeboats, including those for glamourous ocean liners such as RMS Mauritania.
With thanks to Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust