SHOPPERS at Wrexham’s new Eagle’s Meadow retail complex could be surprised to hear thousands have enjoyed a bargain there before.
According to tour guide Phil Phillips of Wrexham Town Trails, the site was one of the biggest horse fairs of the 19th Century.
He said: “With stables for 350 horses and a huge exhibition ring, crowds of 2,000 regularly packed the place. It was a great attraction with buyers and sellers coming from all over Britain, Ireland and Europe.
“It lasted 100 years and during that time eclipsed all its rivals, being acclaimed in 1892 as the largest horse sale in the world. Then came the famous beast market which sold just about everything, that went on till the 1990s.
“And if you’re thinking of buying household goods at Eagle’s Meadow now, well, 1940s utility was definitely the style when the US Army were billeted there in missen huts during the Second World War!”
And according to Phil even bowling fans can’t claim a first. He said: “I know there’s 10-pin bowling now but there was an actual bowling green on the site way back in the 19th Century which was very popular.”
“It’s looking to the future”, he said of the vast modern shopping complex, “but it’s certainly got a huge past. The name Eagle’s Meadow comes from the old Eagle Hotel, now the Wynnstay, where the eagle emblem can still be seen on the wall.
“It was all part of the Watkin Williams-Wynn estate, powerful landowners who were one of the richest families in Wales and whose crest featured the golden eagle.
“This family had the largest object ever made of Welsh gold created for them in 1867, using gold from their own mine.
“A solid gold copy, 15 inches high, of a decorative cup Henry VIII gave to Jane Seymour, it’s now in the Museum of Wales.”
Phil and his wife Karen’s new winter schedule offers guided walks around Wrexham on Sundays at noon and Tuesdays at 10am and 2pm.
For further information, call 07951 400 795 or visit wrexhamtowntrails.co.uk.