Village shops, Dolgarrog
This building was erected in 1913 by the Aluminium Corporation Ltd as a post office and shops for the village which was evolving outside its aluminium factory. After the 1925 dam disaster, the police placed a notice at the post office for villagers to write the names of missing people. Eventually it was established that 16 people, including six children, had died.
The shops were untouched by the floodwater and debris. However, in October 1924 they were damaged by a sudden release of water when a joint failed in one of the large pipelines which run steeply down the hill behind the shops.
Initially the shop building housed a workers’ co-operative store, managed by the corporation. From 1922 the shop was privately run by EB Jones and Company.
Dolgarrog didn’t exist as a village before the aluminium factory and hydro-electric power station were created in the early 20th century. Previously there was a hamlet here known as Porth Llwyd, consisting of some watermills and houses and an hotel built in anticipation of a railway which never materialised.
From its earliest years in Dolgarrog, the corporation sought to provide a model village for its workers, along the lines of Port Sunlight on the Wirral. It began building workers’ houses in 1911 but in 1918 it was estimated that 150 to 160 more new homes were needed in Dolgarrog, with the regional Sanitary Inspector describing many local dwellings as “unfit for habitation”.
The corporation built another 50 houses, west of the main road (and south of the shops) in the mid-1920s. It converted an old building into a library and billiards room and created a soccer pitch and open-air swimming pool. It also built Assembly Rooms for public events. A wooden church was erected near the Porth Llwyd river but was destroyed by the 1925 flood.
By 1918 a sports council at the factory organised various sporting and artistic activities and annual events such as a carnival and a sports day. The village school opened in 1937 on land north of the factory which the corporation had donated.
Source: Contemporary newspapers and ‘Dolgarrog: An Industrial History’ by Eric Jones and David Gwyn
Postcode: LL32 8JU View Location Map