Amlwch is a community and the most northerly town in Wales. It is situated on the north coast of the Isle of Anglesey, on the A5025 which connects it to Holyhead and to Menai Bridge. Tourism is now an important element of the local economy. At one time it was a busy port, with boats sailing to the Isle of Man and to Liverpool. A number of the houses date from the 19th century and add to the atmosphere of the town.
The name Amlwch – a reference to the site of the town’s harbour, Porth Amlwch – derives from Welsh am (“about, on or around”) and llwch (an old word meaning “inlet, creek” – similar to the Gaelic word “loch” for a body of water).
It grew rapidly in the 18th century near what was then the world’s biggest copper mine at the nearby Parys Mountain. By the late 18th century, Amlwch had a population of around 10,000 and was the second largest town in Wales after Merthyr Tydfil. It was at this time that its harbour was also extended to accommodate the ships needed to transport the ore. At the 2001 census it had a population of 2,628.
When copper mining began to decline in the mid-1850s, shipbuilding became the main industry with many people also becoming involved in the ship repair and other maritime industries. The town was home to a brewing industry and also had tobacco works, producing the famous Amlwch Shag Tobacco – “Baco Shag Amlwch”.
The Welsh language has always been very strong in Amlwch and was the normal day to day language for operations at the Octel Plant.