Dr Warren Kovach is the author of the popular Anglesey-History.co.uk website, which highlights aspects of the island’s history, supplemented by many of his own photographs. He has also written several books about the history of Anglesey: Anglesey Through Time, A Walking Guide to the Menai Strait Bridges, Anglesey in 50 Buildings and A-Z of the Isle of Anglesey.
Born and raised in Ohio, USA, he moved to Anglesey in the early 1990s and soon set about exploring its history and landscape. Warren has a PhD as a researcher in biology, ecology and palaeontology, but later moved to developing scientific computer software, then to local history writing, guiding and speaking. He is a keen photographer and has had his photos published in many national newspapers, books and magazines around the world. He is a volunteer and former trustee of Menai Heritage, a charity that runs a museum dedicated to the Menai Strait Bridges, and is also a tour guide at South Stack Lighthouse on Ynys Lawd, Anglesey.
I have been giving talks about the history of Anglesey since 2017, addressing local history and civic groups as well as U3A, Rotary and Probus organisations. The talks I currently have available are listed below. Others are in development. I can tailor talks to a group’s interests.
I have my own projector and computer so will just need the venue to provide a screen (or large blank wall). The talks last between 45 and 60 minutes. There will also be copies of my books available for sale after the talk (cards or cash accepted).
My regular fee for a talk is £50. This includes travel for venues on Anglesey or the Bangor area. For talks further afield there will be a travel charge. A smaller speaking fee can be negotiated with small groups that are lacking finances.
You can contact me to organise a talk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Windmills of Anglesey
The abundance of wind on Anglesey provided a useful source of energy, and during the eighteenth and nineteenth century numerous windmills were built around the island. Almost 50 are known to have been built. Many of these are now in disrepair or have disappeared. However one has found new life as a working mill, and others have been converted to dwellings and one has been reconstructed to house a mobile phone base station and mast. This talk will introduce you to the development of windmills and how they work, and then discuss the history of several examples around the island.
A Tour of Historic Anglesey Buildings
The Isle of Anglesey is blessed with numerous historic buildings of all sorts and ages. This talk will take you around the island visiting a number of these, from a thirteenth century castle and a fifteenth century house, through shops, chapels and public buildings, to a modernist church. Their history and the people associated with them will be discussed, along with how they fit into the history of Anglesey.
The Milling Families of Anglesey
The primarily agricultural economy of Anglesey led to numerous corn mills being built on the island. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw 48 windmills and more than 50 watermills constructed. This talk focuses on the people who ran these mills by tracing several milling dynasties on Anglesey, where sons, grandsons and wives followed in the footsteps of their milling forbearer, operating mills around Anglesey and in Caernarfonshire.
The Building and Rebuilding of the Menai Suspension Bridge
The Menai Suspension Bridge, the first to connect the island of Anglesey to the mainland of Wales, is world-famous for the innovation of its creator Thomas Telford and being the longest iron suspension bridge at the time (1826). This talk will explain why the bridge was needed, the long process of developing plans for it, and its construction. It then goes on to talk about the various improvements made to it over it the centuries.
Fulling and Woollen Mills of Anglesey
The water power that ran the mills used for grinding grain could also be used to power machinery for other purposes. Many mills around Anglesey were used for producing and processing woollen cloth. This talk begins by describing the processes of fulling newly woven cloth to clean and improve it. It then goes on to talk about the history of three centres for producing woollen cloth around Anglesey, in particular talking about the people who ran these mills.
A Historical Tour of Anglesey
The island of Anglesey has a rich historical past, with a complex geological origin and wide variety of prehistoric monuments, through to early Christian sites and medieval connections, and later the industrial revolution and rise of tourism. This talk will take you on a tour around the island, discussing buildings and monuments that connect to the historic past.
The Britannia Bridge and the Menai Heritage Archives
Menai Heritage, the charity that runs the Menai Bridges Museum in Menai Bridge, has a large collection of documents and artefacts related to the two bridges over the Menai Strait. I have been a volunteer and trustee there since 2013 and have regularly explored the collections. This talk will introduce you to the collections by talking about the history of the Britannia Bridge, as shown by the items in our archives.