The Copper Kingdom Centre is the new interactive heritage centre in Amlwch. It tells the story of how Anglesey was once the world’s leading copper producer. The Centre, which has been developed by Menter Môn in association with the Amlwch Heritage Trust, is part of a major project to preserve and promote industrial, social and environmental heritage of Mynydd Parys and North Eastern Anglesey. Parys Mountain was mined for copper ore in the early Bronze Age, as shown by sub-surface debris nearly 4,000 years old revealed during excavations in 2002. Since then access has been regained to the sealed underground workings of the Parys mine revealing further evidence for this ancient mining. Parys Mountain is thus one of the few sites in Britain where there is evidence for the prehistoric beginnings of the British metal mining industry. The 18th century miners recognised that they were following in the steps of much earlier workers, an observation that was then linked to the discovery locally of copper ingots bearing Roman inscriptions.
In 1764 Charles Roe of Macclesfield was granted a 21-year lease by the Bayly family to work the mountain for copper. Rowland Pugh, a local miner, discovered the "Great Lode" on 2 March 1768 and was rewarded with a bottle of whisky and a rent-free house for his lifetime. Although the ore here was of low quality, this was more than compensated for by the fact that it occurred in two large masses close to the surface. Initially ore was worked on the surface from shallow shafts, next by open-pit mining and finally underground from adits or from shafts. The ore was broken into small lumps by hand, the best ore being shipped to Lancashire or to the Lower Swansea valley in South Wales through the port of Swansea for smelting. Copper was concentrated and extracted from the remainder using kilns and furnaces on site. It was also discovered that purer metal could be obtained efficiently, although in small amounts, by its precipitation from drainage water with scrap iron in purpose-built ponds. Associated with the mines, important chemical industries were established on the Mountain based on by-products such as ochre pigments, sulphur, vitriol and alum. The processes were described by the German writer and translator, Augustin Gottfried Ludwig Lentin (1764–1823) who visited Parys Mountain in the 1790s and published his findings in 'Briefe über die Insel Anglesea'.
Parys Mountain dominated the world's copper market during the 1780s, when the mine was the largest in Europe. Its rise severely damaged the mining industry in Cornwall. The copper from the mine was used to sheath the British Admiralty's wooden ships of war, to prevent the growth of seaweed and barnacles and to protect the wood from attack by shipworms. This increased the speed and manoeuvrability of the vessels, and enabled them to remain at sea for longer as there was less need to return to port for maintenance. In response to a national shortage of small currency, the Parys Mine Company produced its own coinage between 1787 and 1793. The Parys Penny, also known as the Anglesey Penny, was used by the mine to pay workers, and also by the populace at large. It is thought that around ten million pennies and half pennies were minted.
The Copper Kingdom refers to the area of Amlwch on Anglesey, North Wales which once had the largest copper mine in the world. After the mines became exhausted, Amlwch port developed its own thriving ship-building industry, launching vessels famous for their speed and beautiful lines. Today The Sail Loft Visitor Centre houses an exhibition of Amlwch's world renowned ship-building heritage. There are also many other original buildings to explore, like the Copper Bins, the Watch House and the Workshop Chimneys. The Port itself is a wonderful place in which to simply relax and watch the activity in the harbour. It is possible for blue badge holders to park on the quay opposite the attraction. Access is then fairly easy although if the raised metal strip proves a problem to negotiate helpers will open the exit door for you. Inside there is a small information point and shop and from here it leads into the museum itself. There is a small video room and this can accommodate a wheelchai;r also there are a variety of tactile elements and interactive displays. The adjacent cafe is up a slope and once there you will need a strong assistant as it requires a lot of muscle power to get you into it, however once inside it is pleasant and quirky as the floor sloped away from the door to the end of the building, we are informed that this was formerly the sail makers shed. This attraction is suitable for both young and old and we found the staff to be extremely helpful and friendly.
Hard surfaced car park. Level/ramped wheelchair access to entrance. Level/ramped wheelchair access into venue. Concessionary fee for carer. Easy access around ground floor/area of site. Wheelchair access to other floors. Lift controls at accessible height (Buttons also in Braille). Wheelchair accessible toilet. Grab rails in toilet. Easy access to wash basin and easy access to hand dryer/towels. Wheelchair turning space in accessible toilet. Room for carer/carers in accessible toilet. Level/ramped access to shop. Level/ramped access to cafe/tearoom. Sufficient wheelchair access to tables. Assistance dogs welcome. Hearing loop available. Special access to exhibits for visually impaired. Wheelchair access to interactive exhibits.
Location : The Copper Kingdom / The Old Sail Loft, Ymddiriedolaeth Ddiwydiannol / Porth Amlwch, Ynys Môn, Anglesey/Sir Fon LL68 9DB
Transport : Valley (National Rail) then bus . Bus Routes : 31 and 61 stop near by.
Opening Times : Tuesday to Sunday + Bank Holidays 10:30 to 17:00
Tickets : Adults £5.50; Children £4.25; Concessions £4.75
Tel : 01248 725700