The 'ghost' girl who still waits for her dad to come home after he died in the 19th Century building Lake Vyrnwy dam

Summer 2022 saw a spirited heatwave sweep the nation, and one of our most-read stories in August was the re-emergence of old Llanwddyn - the ghost village submerged by Lake Vyrnwy.

Lake Vyrnwy
Lake Vyrnwy

It was an interesting piece to write because we tried to look into what life would've been like for the villagers before they were forced to abandon their homes when the reservoir was created.

We also tried to tell the story, in as much detail as possible, of the construction of the dam itself, which led to the creation of the lake as we know it today, and made sure the burgeoning city of Liverpool had all the water it needed.

While it was an incredibly impressive engineering feat with even the Straining Tower taking the form of what looks like a Medieval castle, it has to be said that workers' rights during the Victorian era weren't what they are today.

The Straining Tower in Lake Vyrnwy

And that brings us to the point of this short article.

The area around Llanwddyn was said to be awash with construction workers, temporarily relocated to build the dam.

With up to a thousand people working on the project in what were reportedly poor conditions, it perhaps doesn't come as a surprise that dozens of men died.

Lake Vyrnwy

In fact, there's a relatively run-down memorial dedicated to the 44 workmen near the lake.

True stories like this often give rise to less true folklore and the Vyrnwy Water Scheme is no exception.

While ghost stories can easily be dismissed as nonsense, you don't actually have to believe in the supernatural to find creepy tales interesting, especially when they have poignant undertones.

In his book Ghost Hunting In The Black Country And Beyond, local writer Andrew Homer references a creepy tale he first encountered when he was writing another book about Shropshire hauntings.

It's closely connected to the deaths of workmen constructing the Vyrnwy dam, and we thought it was worth communicating - simply because it's quite interesting.

Andrew writes: "It required a drive out to The Green Inn, Llangedwyn.

"During the building of the Lake Vyrwny reservoir and the dam in the 1880s something like a thousand workmen were living in the area during the eight-year construction project for the Liverpool Corporation.

"Many men understandably wanted their families nearby and moved them into the area during the lengthy construction period.

"In the 1880s the landlord of The Green Inn was renting his upstairs rooms to the families of workmen employed on the dam.

"One such family had a little girl who always liked to sit in one of the upstairs windows waiting for her father to come down the road from Lake Vyrnwy.

"One fateful day he was killed in a dreadful accident at the dam.

"His name was inscribed along with other poor souls on a memorial obelisk overlooking Lake Vyrnwy.

"To this day, visitors entering this quaint country pub for the first time have been known to enquire who the pretty little girl is, sitting in the upstairs window of what is now the restaurant, and staring out along the road in the direction of Lake Vyrnwy."

Lake Vyrnwy. Photo: Phil Blagg Photography

You don't need to believe in ghosts to find this story compelling, because it reminds us of what happened to the men who lost their lives building the dam.

They left behind family, friends and children, and even though this particular tale might be fiction, there were certainly examples of fathers not returning home from work during the Victorian era.

Stories like this, true and false, should surely serve to reinforce the progress we've made when it comes to workers' rights.

Published last year (2022), Andrew's book features plenty of creepy stories in and around the West Midlands region. Learn more at

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