A derelict old railway shed destined to be consigned to history has opened its doors after a £1.2 million revamp.
In its heyday, Meliden’s goods shed was a key stopping place on the Dyserth to Prestatyn railway line serving both the mining and tourist trades. The shed, on the Dyserth and Prestatyn walkway, eventually closed in 1957 and reopened briefly over the years, notably as an undertaker and a taxi rank.
But now it has been brought back to life, putting the Grade II building firmly back into the heart of the village community.
Spearheaded by charitable housing association Grŵp Cynefin and Meliden Residents Action group, the building now provides opportunities for up-and-coming businesses, artists and crafters.
Mair Edwards, Grŵp Cynefin’s community initiatives manager, said:
“The response to Y Shed has been phenomenal. It is beyond anything we could have hoped for. The aim was always to find a way to ensure this old building worked for the community. Having stood empty for so long, transforming the goods shed in a way which brings it up-to-date but also acknowledges Meliden’s rich and varied history is a real achievement.
“The village action group had the vision to make this happen, and we are only too pleased to have been able to support them and turn dreams into reality.”
Inside the main building, themed to tie in with the local landscape, is Caffi @ Y Shed, run by sisters Jane Roberts and Rachel Roberts, display spaces for crafters, a history exhibition, an electronic mining game aimed at helping children understand what life was like in the lead mine days, and a meeting room. A wide range of artists including ceramists, jewellers, woodturners, card and jewellery makers occupy display spaces. Workshops, events and activities will be run from Y Shed in the future.
Four converted shipping containers have also been added to the building to help business start-ups. They are home to groomers Bowwow’s Dog Company, relaxation specialist Bella Bay Wellbeing, local artist Susie Liddle, and The Craft Hub which sells a range of locally made gifts.
Denbighshire County Councillor Peter Evans, a member of the Meliden Residents’ Action Group, said Y Shed was unlike anything locally.
“For a village of Meliden’s size to have a venture like this – a vibrant, exciting, beautifully designed space – shows what is possible when people put their minds to it. A derelict building has been turned into something which offers business oppenings, supports the local economy, creates jobs and volunteering opportunities, provides a platform for the creative industries and is an educational resource for local schools.
“This is the sort of place you’d usually find in a large town or city, not in a quiet corner of a Welsh village. Everyone who has been involved, whether in researching the history, raising funds, or championing the cause should be justifiably proud of what has been achieved. Getting Y Shed off the ground has been a team effort. This old building is no longer a historical footnote but heralds the start of a bright new chapter for the economy and people of Meliden.”
Prestatyn to Dyserth Way
The Prestatyn to Dyserth Way opened as a three-mile railway from the Chester and Holyhead railway in 1869 and served the mineral trade largely transporting lead and limestone. A passenger service began in 1905 between Dyserth and Prestatyn with 30,000 people using it each year. The shed closed in 1957 and reopened briefly as a business premises before closing again. The railway itself ran until 1972. Funding for Y Shed was secured from the Big Lottery Fund Wales, Denbighshire County Council, Gwynt y Mor, and trust funds.