UK market review - number 28, 2011
North Stack Fog House, Anglesey
North Stack was built in the late 1700s to house the operators of two large cannon which, during the regular sea fogs, they would fire at fixed intervals to warn ships bound for Holyhead, just two miles along the coast, away from the island's treacherous rocks.
In tandem with Anglesey's economy and thus shipping, the need for such warnings had grown thanks to the establishment of what became the largest copper mine in Europe, possibly the world: Parys Mountain in north east Anglesey. A site of mining since prehistoric times, the full-scale exploitation of Parys Mountain began in 1761 and, by the 1780s, dominated the world copper market. Its huge output allowed the Navy to improve the speed and longevity of its ships (by sheathing their wooden hulls in copper), severely affected the competing Cornish economy and, during a national shortage of small currency in 1787–93, led the Parys Mine Company to produce its own local coinage, the Parys Penny.
Parys Mountain's copper ore was, however, of relatively low grade and the best of it was shipped from Holyhead to Lancashire or Swansea for smelting. Holyhead's shipping was given a second major boost by increased demand for travel to Ireland following the union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1800 and especially by the completion of the A5 and the Menai Bridge in 1826.
Back at North Stack, an impressive Magazine House was built in 1861 to accommodate the cannon charges and the cannon continued to be used almost until the 20th century, when they were replaced by an oil fired, 35-horn fog siren. Those horns are still in place at North Stack, though lie unused since 1986, when they were decommissioned in favour of a replacement warning service provided from a newly built tower across the bay, at South Stack.
Still reliably served by its own water supply and waste system, North Stack today has mains electricity and other home comforts to add to the pleasure of this remote location and its exceptional wildlife and setting.
North Stack Fog House is currently being marketed by the Chester office at a guide price of £595,000.