Trust Regional Historic Environment Record
Quay, Stanley Embankment, The Holyhead Road
Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 18291 Trust : Gwynedd Community : Valley Unitary authority : Ynys Mon NGR : SH28208000 Site Type (preferred type first) : POST MEDIEVAL QUAY Status : Scheduled Monument
Description : The monument comprises the remains of a substantial quay on the N side of the Stanley Embankment, which was opened in 1823 as one of the strategic structures of Thomas Telford's Holyhead road. Telford described the new road as follows: "This road established through a rugged and mountainous district, partly along the slopes of rocky precipices, and across inlets of the sea was indeed an arduous undertaking, which occupied fifteen years of incessant exertion."
Telford was commissioned by Parliament in 1811 to report on the important route between Holyhead and London. The existing roads were themselves relatively recent improvements on earlier tracks, put in place by turnpike trusts over the previous thirty. However, the investment was not always great and the roads were characterised by steep gradients, sharp bends and badly drained or potholed surfaces. Work on the Welsh section of the Holyhead road commenced in 1815 and, upon completion of the Menai Bridge in 1826, was greeted with acclaim as the finest road in Europe.
The embankment has been much altered since its construction, including widening to provide for a railway, but was a substantial engineering achievement in its day. It was the longest embankment on the Holyhead Road, measuring 1,225m in length. The embankment was originally constructed as an earth and sand core with a clay coping and a stone facing. The quay is one section of the Stanley Embankment that remains largely as built. The quay retains its substantial masonry walls, set vertically on the base of the embankment but at angles on plan in order to receive vessels. The substantial unloading area remains above the quay. Part of the parapet is likely to have been added after construction works were completed; a course of coping is visible at the base of the parapet. <1>