- Welsh Name: Bwcle
- Population: 15,700
- Nearest Train Station: Buckley
- Football Clubs: Buckley Town
Buckley (Welsh: Bwcle) is the second-largest town in Flintshire in terms of population (behind Connah’s Quay) and is located just two miles east of the county town of Mold. The town is situated up in the hills of Flintshire, approximately 130-150 metres above sea level, and can provide great views of the Dee Estuary and Cheshire Plain beyond. Because of its higher altitude, the town is more prone to snowfall in the winter months in comparison with the other Flintshire towns in lower-lying areas and nearer to the Dee Estuary.
Due to its close proximity to the Welsh-English border (situated just six miles away), Buckley has become a commuter town for those working in the Deeside Industrial Zone, Wrexham, Chester, and beyond. However, the town does have a number of small industries to provide employment, with the only large-scale industry and employer being Hanson Cement, based in nearby Padeswood. As a result of the commuter town status, the town has great education facilities with four primary schools and a high school (Buckley Elfed High School) situated within the town.
Buckley is famous in the local area for its annual celebration and march called the ‘Buckley Jubilee’. The Jubilee has been running unofficially for well over 200 years, although ‘officially’ from 1856 when the Buckley Temperance Society first sanctioned the march. The term “Jubilee” first being used for the march in 1871. Held on the second Tuesday of every July, the celebration starts off in the large common ground called “The Common” before leaving the common and marching around the town. The march is conducted by the town’s Sunday Schools, Scout, and Guide troops, as well as the local schools, with the numerous contingents of the march carrying banners.
The town is also known for its Tivoli nightclub (known locally as “The Tiv”), which has been a venue for many famous bands playing live there over the years. Famous bands such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in the 1970s to Oasis, Radiohead, and Super Furry Animals in the 1990s have played live at the venue. Since a renovation and rebranding in 2000, few big bands play live there anymore with the emphasis of the club’s music policy switching to commercial and pop music although live music gigs still happen regularly at the venue, and it is still a popular venue for music lovers from the local area.
There are many sources where Buckley’s name could originate from. As Buckley’s foundations are based on an Anglo-Saxon settlement, it is possible the name could derive from the Old English ‘bok lee’, meaning ‘clearing in a beech wood’. However, it could also derive from the Welsh description of ‘bwlch y clai’ meaning ‘clay hole’ which is also possible considering the industries the town would become famous for.
Buckley would become a significant settlement within North East Wales as it became an industrial heartland for pottery and coal mining between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. The town became a popular location for coal mining due to the many geographic faults in the local rock formations that allowed seams of coal to be mined directly from the surface. In addition, its heavy clay soil was ideal for producing excellent quality pottery and as well as manufacturing high-quality bricks. Its bricks were so highly regarded, they were transported across the United Kingdom and as far as the United States resulting in brick production becoming extensive in the town.
As a result of the extensive mining and brick production being prevalent within Buckley, a great number of people moved into the area to find work within the ever-increasing coal and brick industries. With a large number of workers coming from Ireland and Liverpool, it gave the town both a distinctive accent and dialect which was being spoken until the last half of the twentieth century. Even though the dialect is not spoken today, there is plenty of evidence of it being recorded through the books of noted linguist and Buckley resident, Dennis Griffiths.
Even though coal mining and brick production were large employers within Buckley, the town would become synonymous with the production of various fire-clay and pottery products. Pottery and earthenware products have been produced in the town since the reign of Elizabeth I, when they were taken by donkey to either be sold at the large Chester market or exported around the country via the River Dee. Pottery manufacture became so significant in Buckley that by the start of the nineteenth century, there would be as many as fourteen potteries based in the town. However, the industry would sadly deteriorate in the first half of the twentieth century, with both World Wars and the Great Depression of the 1930’s causing many companies to cease production, resulting in the last pottery kiln to fire up in the town in 1946.