Connah's Quay

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Connah's Quay
Connah's Quay Aerial.jpg
Lower half of Connah's Quay from the air, with Flintshire Bridge visible
Connah's Quay is located in Flintshire
Connah's Quay
Connah's Quay
Location within Flintshire
OS grid referenceSJ295695
  • Connah's Quay
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townDeeside
Postcode districtCH5
Dialling code01244
PoliceNorth Wales
FireNorth Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
53°13′05″N 3°03′25″W / 53.218°N 3.057°W / 53.218; -3.057Coordinates: 53°13′05″N 3°03′25″W / 53.218°N 3.057°W / 53.218; -3.057

Connah's Quay (Welsh: Cei Connah), known locally as "The Quay" and formerly known as Wepre, is a town and community in Flintshire, lying within the Deeside conurbation along the River Dee, near the border with England. It is the largest town in Flintshire. It is located 6 miles (9.7 km) west of Chester and can be reached by road from the A548, by rail from the nearby Shotton railway station, and also is on the National Cycle Network Route 5. It also lies just south of Deeside Industrial Park, one of the largest such complexes in the region. The major part of Tata steelworks is also on the town's border on the north bank of the River Dee. Wepre Woods, an ancient woodland in the town, is controlled by Flintshire County Council's Ranger Service and includes Ewloe Castle which dates from the 13th century.

With a population of approximately 23,437 with Shotton which it is contiguous with, Connah's Quay and Shotton constitute just under half of the population of the greater Deeside area.


Connah's Quay is a relatively recent name, with the settlement (and nearby wood) first recorded in English under the name Wepre.[1] Thomas Morgan stated that this was a corruption of the ancient name Wybre, (Gwybre or Gwybra in Modern Welsh). This name is derived from the Welsh place-name elements "Gwy" (a common element in Welsh hydronymy, usually denoting a river) and "Bre" (hill).[2] This older name is still found in various usage across Connah's Quay, most notably in Wepre Park.

The modern English name probably became extant with the opening of the New Cut channel to the sea in 1737. New quays were built in the area, including a pier named New Quay in 1773 and one in the surrounding area named Connas Quay in 1791. Only the latter name has survived today as Connah's Quay, named after James Connah (1732–87) who lived at the Quay House and was a member of the prominent local industrialist Connah family. The official Welsh name is Cei Connah, a partial calque of the English name.[3]

Other theories given for the origin of the name have included:

  • From a former landlord of the "Old Quay House", a public house which is still on the docks in what is now the west side of the town.
  • That Connah was a man who owned a chandlery store on the docks.
  • From a lady called Mary Connah who used to own the dock, and so when people crossed the River Dee from places opposite, such as Parkgate or Neston, they would ask, "Could you take me to Connah's Quay".


The earliest recorded settlements date from the time of the Domesday Book,[4] listed as 'Wepre', part of the Hundred of Ati's Cross, Cheshire. The total population was 6 households. Wepre Woods are also recorded, measuring ½ a league.

Until the 18th century, the area where Connah's Quay and its neighbours Shotton, Aston and Queensferry now stand was nothing more than fields and a handful of inhabitants. It was not until the silting of the River Dee ended Chester's port activities that people and commerce began to flood in. The docks at Connah's Quay became a vital source of trade and finance for the greater Flintshire area, and with the advent of the railways during the 19th century a number of railway companies began to appear.

The first railway to appear in the area was the Chester and Holyhead Railway running across the coast of North Wales linking the rest of the Great Britain with Ireland via the port at Holyhead. The purpose of this railway was chiefly for post to and from Ireland. During the 19th century, the railway's importance grew as Holyhead became the destination of choice for Ireland rather than Liverpool. Most of the line was quadruple tracked and this included the stretch through Connah's Quay.

With the success of the Irish Mail trains, the dock was connected by the Wrexham, Mold and Connah's Quay Railway to the nearby town of Buckley, chiefly to transport bricks, clay and pottery products. A railyard was established at Connah's Quay docks with small feeder lines to the lines at Shotton, connecting to the North Wales and Liverpool Railway and the Chester and Connah's Quay Railway. A major steel works, John Summers & Sons, was founded in 1896 and is now owned by Tata Steel. Although now known as Shotton Steel, the plant lies mainly in Connah's Quay.

The town grew from this small port, which included a Ferguson shipyard which built the historic ship Kathleen & May, to becoming a major railway town.

By the late 1950s, the port had virtually ceased trading and the railway was in terminal decline. The two docks had by then long silted up, imprisoning the rotting hulk of an old wooden ship, the Bollam. This old vessel was believed to have taken part in rescuing the defeated British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk.

The town's passenger railway station (Connah's Quay railway station) on the North Wales Coast Line and northern terminus of the WMCQR line was open between 1870 and 1966. While the line remains open, there no trace of the former station. The street Leighton Court was built in 1998 on the site of the former station forecourt as well as the former WMCQR line, which had been lifted many years before. In fact, the growth of housing in the town and greater area since the line to Buckley was removed means that there is almost no trace of the former line. Its former path across the cricket pitch, up Pinewood Avenue and down past the substation has been completely built over.

Another activity that ceased with the closure of the port was fishing. Fishermen would row out across the river in an arc, paying out a long net over the stern of the boat as they went: see seine fishing. They then returned to shore and hauled in the net. Mostly they caught fluke, which would then be sold from barrows pushed around the housing estates.

Facilitated with the lifting of the Buckley line, by the 1970s the town had absorbed the nearby hamlets of Golftyn, Kelsterton and Wepre and many housing projects were developed.

As with many small towns, the decline of local commerce has resulted in Connah's Quay overdeveloping its houses at the expense of shops and businesses. Many of these houses were indeed refittings of former shops. As a result, the town's population has swollen from a few hundred inhabitants to close to twenty thousand over a period of 50 years. Minister for Housing and Regeneration and Assembly Member for Alyn and Deeside since 2003, Carl Sargeant, lived in the town until his death in November, 2017.


Flintshire Bridge, seen from the south bank of the River Dee (2007)

A number of historic structures are located in Connah's Quay, such as St Mark's Church and St David's Church.

Top-y-Fron Hall is a Grade II* listed structure from the Georgian era.

Connah's Quay Power Station is an example of industrial architecture from the 1950s.

Flintshire Bridge was opened in 1998 by Queen Elizabeth II.


Business in the town is mainly limited to local newsagents and a few independent traders located along High Street.

While the town itself does not have many businesses, energy production is a major industry in the area and the town is home to Connah's Quay Power Station, a 1498MW gas fired station on the south side of the Dee, which utilises gas not only from the Dee estuary but also the Douglas Complex located further afield at Talacre.

Many of the town's residents are employed at the nearby Deeside Industrial Estate, located on the north side of the Dee, and is the location of a second power station, Tata steelworks, Toyota, Wales Rally GB and the central headquarters of the Iceland chain of supermarkets.


Bryn Deva Primary School (2006)

Schools in Connah's Quay include Connah's Quay High School, Bryn Deva Primary, Wepre Primary, Brookfield Primary and Golftyn Primary.

Further education is provided by Coleg Cambria, formerly Kelsterton College, and by the 6th Form at Connah's Quay High School, which shares resources and students with other schools in Deeside.


Since the 1990s, several large housing developments have been built in Connah's Quay and the town had a booming property market, with house prices steadily increasing the town appeared to have finally shaken the effects of the mass redundancies from major employers in the 1970s and 1980s. However, surveys in the 2010s show that unemployment in the Connah's Quay area was rising by a further four percent every year. Crime statistics in 2013 ranked Connah's Quay (central) as the 5th highest rate in Flintshire with neighbouring Shotton (east) placed worst.[5]


Former Urban District Council Building, on High Street (2014)

Connah's Quay has a town council of twenty members. As of May 2019, thirteen represent the Labour Party and seven are Independents.



The town is home to Deeside College which has on site the North Wales indoor athletics centre and athletics track which is used by Connah's Quay Nomads F.C. A perennial fixture in the League of Wales during the 1990s, the club were relegated to the Cymru Alliance in 2009 due to the restructuring of the Welsh Premier League. The division went from 20 teams to 12, and the Nomads were one of the 8 unfortunate teams that year.

With the appointment of former Wrexham and Port Vale star Mark McGregor as player/manager, the team won the Cymru Alliance twice in succession and were finally readmitted to the WPL. Two seasons of consolidation have ensured that the Nomads are also part of the rejuvenation of north Wales football, following from the rise and successes of Prestatyn Town, Bangor City and Caernarfon Town. The Nomads were crowned champions of Wales for the 2019–20 season, winning the league for the first time in the clubs history.


The town is also home to a cricket club, who play their home games at Central Park. They have 7 teams in the North Wales League, the 1st XI won the North Wales Premier Cricket League in 2011.


Other facilities include Connah's Quay Sport Centre which has 4 grass football pitches, a sports hall, 2 gymnasiums, an outdoor floodlit artificial pitch which can host 3 x 6 a side football pitches or a full size football or hockey pitch. There is also an indoor sports hall which hosts 5 a side, basketball, badminton and many other activities. A swimming pool is also located in the town, just off Wepre Drive.

Notable people[edit]

Arguably, the town's most famous resident was T.G. Jones, the former Everton and Wales defender and one of the country's top pre-war players.

Teddy Peers, goalkeeper for Wolverhampton Wanderers Port Vale and Wales was born in the town of 1886.

More recently, Gareth Owen appeared for AFC Wrexham most notably in their famous FA Cup win over Arsenal FC in 1991.

Former BDO darts world champion Ted Hankey also lived in the town during the 1990s.

Also a resident for a number of years was Emlyn Williams, the author, playwright and actor.

Tom Doran is a Welsh former professional boxer. Doran fought as an amateur for Shotton Amateur Boxing Club, in the welterweight division. Doran won his first regional championship—the vacant WBC International middleweight title—in an action-packed two rounds against Luke Keeler on 2 April 2016.

Composer Paul Mealor originally hails from the town. He came to wider notice when his motet Ubi Caritas et Amor was performed at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011. He later composed the song "Wherever You Are" for the Military Wives Choir, which became the 2011 Christmas number one in the UK Singles Chart.

Professional wrestler Drew Parker, who performs in Japan as part of the Big Japan Pro Wrestling roster, was born in the town and is introduced as being from the town. He was also trained by Mike Roberts from the Basix Pro Wrestling promotion, who also was born in the town.

Cultural references[edit]

The town is mentioned in the lyrics of the Catatonia song "Imaginary Friend" which is found on the album Paper Scissors Stone.


  1. ^ "Wepre - Domesday Book". Archived from the original on 18 April 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  2. ^ Morgan, Thomas (1912). The Place-Names of Wales. Dalcassian Publishing Company. p. 160. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  3. ^ Owen, Hywel Wyn (2015). The Place-Names of Wales. University of Wales Press. p. 30. ISBN 9781783161645.
  4. ^ "Wepre - Domesday Book". Archived from the original on 18 April 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  5. ^ Archived July 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]