Grid Ref: SJ 21930 75349
This is the Start of the Bagillt Heritage Trail. Bagillt was a rapidly expanding township in the mid Victorian period and drunkenness was seen as a social evil in the North Wales coalfields. The Foresters Society had its roots in medieval times and had become a Friendly Society following legislation to limit gatherings in the late 18th Century. This particular club was known as "The Welshman's Friend" and was the first in Wales. The building was completed and opened as a Cocoa house on 6th September 1879.
It was built from funds raised by public subscription and donations from prominent individuals who had an interest in promoting Temperance. The Bagillt Foresters' club No 841 obtained a mortgage of £800 on the premises. It opened as a joint partnership with The Cocoa House Company; cocoa houses had become established in many large towns and cities in England, the Bagillt cocoa house was the first in Wales.
In 1885 the club went into liquidation, it was subsequently converted into a shop and assembly rooms. The assembly rooms were once used as Billiard rooms and hosted concerts, cinema shows and plays while the shop has been a pawnbroker, general store, Taxi office and finally a Post Office.
This prominent listed building had become increasingly derelict following removal of the Post Office to new premises in 1996. The building is now used as flats, after a businessman saved it in the early twenty first century. It is pictured below (to left) in 1991. Following restoration, the Bagillt Heritage Society decided to mark the building with the first of the Bagillt Heritage Society Blue Plaques. Below (right and centre) can be seen the fixing of the plaque (note also the mis-spelling of the building name by Flintshire County Council).
The main lecturn, showing the map of the whole Heritage Trail, stands in front of the car park adjacent to the Foresters Hall, it can be seen in the pictures below, before the placement of the current guide to the route was installed:-