Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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DENNIS , HENRY ( 1825 - 1906 ), mining engineer, colliery owner, etc. ;

b. 1825 at Bodmin , Cornwall , he was educated at the local grammar school, where one of his contemporaries was Mark Guy Pearse . From school he entered the office of the Bodmin borough surveyor as an articled pupil . He joined the engineering staff of the old Cornwall Railway Company , a concern later taken over by the Great Western Railway Company . About the year 1850 he accepted an appointment with John Taylor and Son , mining engineers , who entrusted him with the work of constructing a tramway from the Llangollen slate quarries to the Shropshire Union Canal at Llangollen . After spending a short time in Spain , where he was engaged in lead mining , he returned to Denbighshire and became manager of Bryn-yr-owen colliery , near Rhosllannerchrugog , then owned by John Taylor and Son . He relinquished this post in 1857 and entered into partnership with his brother-in-law Glennie , as surveyors and mining engineers . The partnership ended in 1870 and Dennis carried on alone. He sank Legacy colliery and worked it for a few years. On leaving Bryn-yr-owen , he lived at Hafod-y-bwch , subsequently moving to New Hall , Ruabon . For half a century or more Dennis took a leading part in sinking new coal mines , reorganizing old collieries , establishing terra-cotta works, water-works, and gas-works , chiefly in Denbighshire , but his activities extended into Merioneth and across the border into Shropshire , where he was chairman of the Snailbeach lead mines . He was also managing director of the Glyn Valley tramway and a director of the Minera Mining Company . His chief colliery interests, however, were at Westminster ( Broughton , near Wrexham ), Wrexham , and Acton ( Rhos-ddu , Wrexham ), and Hafod ( Ruabon ). When he was at the zenith of his career the various concerns under his control gave employment to over 10,000 people. He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers , chairman of the North Wales Coalowners Association , and president of the Mining Association of Great Britain ( 1901 ). Immersed in business, he found little time for local government work, and he declined to stand for Parliament , but when the Denbigh county council was formed he was elected one of the first county aldermen ‘in recognition of his wonderful business aptitude and as a pioneer and captain of industry .’ He d. 24 June 1906 at his Cornish residence, Laninval , Bodmin , where he had arrived a few days earlier from his Welsh home at New Hall , Ruabon , and was buried in Wrexham cemetery, 5,000 people attending his funeral.


  • Dennis manuscript in N.L.W.


George Geoffrey Lerry, Wrexham

Published date: 1959