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Aqueduct Opening Ceremony

200 Year Celebration - Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

The 26th November 2005 marked the 200th anniversary of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, engineered by the famous Thomas Telford.

At noon, a flotilla of 11 boats from Froncysyllte crossed the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct the highest aqueduct in Britain, and entered Trevor Basin by a 16 cannon salute. The first boat Saturn was drawn across the Aqueduct by navvies.

The Community and VIP's were treated to a re-enactment of Thomas Telford's "A day in the life of Thomas Telford". A performance by the Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir, Wrexham Brass Band and St Deniol's Marchwiel School Choir followed.

There were hands on activities for the children, and Cefn Mawr Musical Society performed musical recitals throughout the day as Rosie and Jim. Children were able to visit the characters on the barge 'Millie' and find out what its like to live on a beautiful narrow boat. Refreshments were available on the field and over four thousand people attended the event.

Story telling and Napoleonic battle were also staged with the event finally climaxing at 4.30pm with a spectacular firework display.

The successful event will help raise the profile of the World Heritage Site Bid currently being progressed by Wrexham County Borough Council.

On the 26th November 1805, the Aqueduct was opened officially in the following manner, as described by Mr Simpson one of the acting committee members, being an eyewitness of the proceedings. He states:

' In going over the Aqueduct and returning the sensations varied. As the procession of boats advanced towards the noble structure, now first commencing its first public utility, the complete sense of security in which one floated 126 feet above the River Dee was a just acknowledgement to Telford, to whom it was deservedly a proud day. He had most happily arranged the whole of our accommodation as well as constructed the wonderful edifice that supported us.'

'On our arrival at the eastern bank, we entered the canal port. Lady Bridgewater, the ladies of Colonel Kynaston Powell and William Lloyd Ashton Esq., committee members and friends now directed Lady Eleanor Butler, Lady W. Williams Wyn and her family, the Hon. Miss Ponsonby, Miss Ormsby and many other distinguished visitors, to a repast which had been provided, soon after which an ovation was delivered.'

'At a given signal a Royal Salute was fired by the Artillery Company of the Shropshire Volunteers.'

'The procession of boats was as follows: in the first and second boats, the Committee; in the third, the Band and the Shropshire Volunteers, in full uniform; in the fourth was occupied by the Engineers, the occupiers of mines and foundries, etc. with their families. The fifth and sixth boats closed the procession, gaily ornamented with flags, and loaded with the first commercial product of coal that had ever passed over this valley on the noble Bridge of Union.'

'The carriages which conveyed the rest of the company, formed a curved and continuous line over the Bontcysyllte smaller bridge and on both banks of the Dee.'

'God Save the King and Rule Britannia floated on the air and about 8,000 people who had assembled in the vicinity looked on and cheered. An excellent and happy crowd.'

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