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Machynlleth
Victorian trade directories
 
  Slater's Directory of 1858  
 

Although the early Trade Directories listed local traders and services like the Yellow Pages of today, they also included a short description of the towns themselves.
This part of the entry was a bit like a guidebook, except that some of the places would not have been very happy with some of the comments ! The Directories usually covered large areas and were produced privately, so the people who went around collecting the information added their own views on the towns !
The first sentence below from the 1858 Slater's Directory starts with "The staple [most important industry] of Machynlleth is flannel..."

 
  Slater's Directory,1858
 

This 1858 account of Machynlleth gives a useful summary of the main business of the district at that time, referring to the flannel making industry, mining, and milling.
Derwenlas, about two miles west of Machynlleth, was then a locally important port on the River Dovey [Dyfi] which could take vessels of up to seventy tons. Today it is hard to believe that it was ever a working port, because little trace of it has survived and the Dovey is heavily silted up in the area.
It wasn't very kind to say that the town "has but little to boast in attractive objects", but at least the writer said that the area around the town was "highly interesting" !

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