OLd Llandudno

Historical Information

More Basic Historical Dates 1815 - 1875

1815 - Ebeneser chapel for Calvinistic Methodists constructed.

1827 - Tabernacl chapel for Baptists constructed.

1837 - Semaphore station on the Orme was constructed.

1838 - Salem chapel for Wesleyans constructed.

1840 - First Post Office in Llandudno opened.

1841 - St. George's chapel constructed.

1843 - Approx 196 dwellings

1843 - 1,000 inhabitants.

1849 - Edward Mostyn and Owen Williams began the transformation of Llandudno, from a mining and fishing village, when they presented Lord Mostyn with plans to develop the marsh lands behind Llandudno Bay into a holiday resort.

1849 - Enclosure Act (832 acres of 955 acres of land available was distributed to Hon. Lloyd Mostyn as a result)

1854 - Approx 200 dwellings.

1854 - Llandudno Improvement Act passed by Parliament.

1856 - Fire Brigade established.

1858 - Work on a sewage system commences.

1858 - Branch railway line from Llandudno to Llandudno junction opened.

1859 - First pier constructed.

1860 - Gas Street lamps installed.

1861 - First bank in Llandudno opened.

1861 - Llandudno's first lifeboat began operating.

1862 - Approx 438 residences

1864 - Llandudno hosted the Welsh National Eisteddfod.

1875 - Mersey Docks & Harbour Board constructed the Great Orme lighthouse.

More Basic Historical Dates 1875 - 1969

1875 - New pier constructed

1884/6 - Pier extended to the present Promenade.

1884/6 - Pier Pavilion and Swimming Pool beneath constructed.

1885 - Llandudno Advertiser launched by William, "Zulu" Smith.

1887 - Happy Valley presented to the town.

1887 - Risboro Hotel opened as WA Whiston's Collegiate School for Boys.

1891 - First reported football match played - Llandudno lost 2-1 to Conway

1892 - New railway station opened.

1892 - Tyn y Coed convalescent home opened.

1892 - Town's first telephone exchange opened.

1893 - Llandudno's first public toilet built opposite the Pier Pavilion top entrance.

1894 - Arcadia Theatre opened as the Victoria Palace.

1895 - Llandudno Commissioners hand over to new Urban Council.

1896 - Llandudno hosted the National Eisteddfod. .

1898 - Links Hotel opened as substitute for the Mostyn Arms at Llanrhos.

1901 - 6,065 inhabitants.

1901 - Oriel Mostyn, which now houses an art gallery, was built for Lady Mostyn.

1902 - Grand Theatre opened.

1907 - Cable tramway to the summit of the Great Orme was completed.

1911 - The population of Llandudno according to the census was 10,469.

1936 - Llandudno & Colwyn Bay Electric Railway opened (tram).

1948 - Marks & Spencer opened.

1956 - Sir Winston Churchill visits LLandudno<./p>

1963 - Llandudno & Colwyn Bay Electric Railway closed (tram).

1963 - Llandudno hosted the National Eisteddfod.

More Basic Historical Dates 1969 - 2013

1969 - The Queen & Prince Phillip visit LLandudno.

1971 - The population of Llandudno according to the census was 19,060.

1972 - Cabin lift to the summit of the Great Orme was completed

1978 - Swimming pool constructed.

1985 - The Happy Valley Entertainers open air theatre was closed.

1986 - Great Orme County Park formed, covering over 1,000 acres.

1989 - 300 metre dry ski slope & 700 metre toboggan created.

1990 - Mostyn Champneys Retail Park opens for business.

1990 - The shoreward end pavilion of Llandudno Pier was closed.

1992 - Great Orme Mines opened the bronze age mine to the public

1993 - Victoria Centre opened.

1993 - Llandudno is flooded - 5 and a half inches of rain fell in three and a half hours.

1994 - North Wales Theatre opened.

1994 - Fire on the pavilion.

1994 - The North Wales Theatre, Arena and Conference Centre, was built.

1999 - 150 years of Llandudno celebrations.

2001 - The population of Llandudno according to the census was 20,090.

2003 - Builder Street commercial units development.

2006 - New Parc Llandudno Retail Park opened in October Courtsey of Mostyn Estates.

2013 - Renovation Of railway Station.

Medieval Llandudno

The medieval parish of Llandudno comprised three townships, each established on the lower slopes of the Great Orme. The township of Y Gogarth at the south-western 'corner' of the Great Orme was latterly the smallest but it contained the palace of the Bishop of Bangor. The Manor of Gogarth (which included all three townships) had been bestowed on Anian, Bishop of Bangor by King Edward I in 1284 in recognition of services rendered to the crown, notably the baptism of the first English Prince of Wales, newly born at Caernarfon. The palace was burnt down by Owain Glyndwr in 1400 and the ruins have mostly been washed away together with much of the township by coastal erosion in the Conwy Estuary. The significant agricultural yet north facing township of Cyngreawdr includes the original parish church and rectory of St Tudno, a sixth or seventh century foundation. Following the Glyndwr uprising, the villagers of the Creuddyn peninsular were harshly taxed and by 1507 they had nearly all fled their homes. Henceforth the cultivated land lay fallow and is now grazed by sheep and goats. Llandudno's Victorian cemetery, which is still in regular use, was laid out in 1859 adjacent to the 12th century church of Saint Tudno where open-air services are held every Sunday Morning in summer. Nearby are several large ancient stones that have become shrouded in folklore and also an unexplained stone lined avenue called Hwylfa'r Ceirw leading towards Cilfin Ceirw (Precipice of Deer). The third township was Yn Wyddfid clustered below the Iron Age hill fort of Pen y Dinas at the north eastern "corner" of the Great Orme. With the reopening of the copper mines from the 18th century onwards, this township grew considerably in size with the streets and cottages of the mining village laid out on the largely abandoned agricultural holdings.

The Mostyn Family

For the past five hundred years the history of the Mostyn family has been closely intertwined with Llandudno.
The majority of the town as we know it today was laid out in 1849 by the Mostyn family, who leased most of the plots for development and strongly influenced the building design and uses of land.
Generations of the Mostyn family have been instrumental in preserving the rich heritage of Llandudno and promoting the development and economic prosperity of the area.

Sir Thomas Mostyn Mostyn. Knight. 1535 - 1617

Master Thomas of the Bright Sword, in 1576 was returned as MP for Flintshire. He had an interest in birds and probably erected the dovecote at Gloddaeth.

Thomas Edward Mostyn Lloyd Mostyn. 1830 - 1861

Tom Mostyn was the husband of Lady Henrietta Augusta Lloyd Mostyn and tragically died young. He was the first Chairman of the Llandudno Improvement Commissioners.

Lady Henrietta Augusta Mostyn.
nee Nevill daughter of Earl of Abergavenny. 1830 - 1912

Philanthropist, artist and pioneering town planner. She donated to many good causes, particularly churches.

Llewelyn Nevill Vaughan Lloyd Mostyn. 1856 - 1929

The 3rd Baron who greatly aided the town's development, donating sites for public buildings. He was President of Llandudno Town Improvement Commissioners for 37 years from its inception, and Chairman of the Llandudno Urban District Council 1902 to 1903.

Edward Llewelyn Roger Lloyd Mostyn. 1885 - 1965

The 4th Baron, presided over the family through the first years after the creation of Mostyn Estates Ltd in 1925.

Right Honourable Roger Edward Lloyd. 1920 - 2000

Lord Mostyn, the fifth Baron served in the 9th Queens Royal Lancers from 1939 - 1945. A tank commander, he fought on the front lines in France, North Africa and Italy where he was wounded on two occasions, mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Military Cross in 1943. He was Chairman of Mostyn Estates Limited, a governor of St David's college, Llandudno and President of the Llandudno R.N.L.I.

Llewelyn Roger Lloyd Lloyd-Mostyn.

present Sixth Baron Mostyn.

Punch and Judy

The distinctive squawks of Punch and Judy have been heard on Llandudno promenade since the resort was built.

And it's all down to one family, the Codmans, who this year celebrate 150 years running the show and still use the original theatre and puppets.

With a new generation recently taking charge and the next generation already showing interest, the seaside dynasty and entertainment of young holidaymakers seem secure for years to come.

"They were a Romany family from Hungary who came over to Britain in the 1600s," she said. "He went back on the road and met his wife, who was from a circus family, and they were given a horse-drawn caravan as a wedding present. "But just outside Llandudno one of the horses died. The resort was still being built at the time, so he used his initiative to find something to do."

Walking on the beach he found some driftwood and carved the traditional Punch and Judy puppets.

"Lord Mostyn wouldn't let him perform on the prom to start," said Jacqueline of the man who master-minded Llandudno's transformation into a seaside resort.

"So my great-grandfather set up by the Empire Hotel, which was shops in those days, to catch the local miners who would be rowing the visitors ashore at that point."

He then took his tools of the trade to Lord Mostyn's improvement committee, won the right to stage his show near the pier, entertaining visitors who included Queen Victoria, Queen Alexandra and the Duke of Westminster.

Richard passed on his puppets to his son Herbert and the tradition carried on through the generations.

"My husband was in the RAF and didn't know he'd end up doing Punch and Judy," laughed Jacqueline. "It took him six months to learn to use the swazzle, whereas my son just picked it up, popped it in his mouth and could use it, clear as anything.

"There was a tear in my father's eye as he knew his Punch and Judy would be safe for another generation." The swazzle she speaks of is the special device puppeteers have used to create Punch's distinctive voice for centuries.

Jacqueline thinks the first mention of these famous characters comes in the diaries of Samuel Pepys in 1662.

The Llandudno show still features the traditional hanging scene. "But today we say 'pull the string', not 'hanging'," Jacqueline explained. The stick which Punch uses to beat various characters has its roots in Victorian times, when it was apparently legal to hit your wife in your home with a stick no thicker than your thumb. "That's where the saying, 'rule of thumb', comes from," said Jacqueline.

"But it's all done in jest. Punch always gets hit first, and in the end he outwits the devil himself and throws him round on the end of his stick. The kids love that! "They also like the part where the crocodile takes the sausages and unexpectedly shoots water over them." Jacqueline revealed that the small puppet theatre was almost lost for good.

"My grandfather used to leave it out on the prom," says Jacqueline. "One night there was a freak storm which washed it away. He got divers to search for it and they found it, lodged beneath the pier. "The theatre was completely intact except for two small carvings around the top of the proscenium. Other than that it was fine and we still use it today." The Codman's Punch and Judy Show is on at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm, weather permitting, during weekends and school holidays from Easter to September.

Source, courtesy of the BBC.

Llandudno Pier, Happy Valley & Marine Drive

The award-winning pier is on the North Shore; it was built in 1878, and is 1,234 feet (376 m) in length and a Grade II listed building. Looking back towards the town from the end of the pier, on a clear day one can see the mountains of Snowdonia rising over the town. A curious major extension of the pier in 1884 was in a landwards direction along the side of what was the Baths Hotel (now where the Grand Hotel stands) to provide a new entrance with the Llandudno Pier Pavilion Theatre at the North Parade end of the promenade, thus increasing the pier's length to 2,295 feet (700 m). Attractions on the pier include a bar, a cafe, amusement arcades and children's fairground rides. There is also a range of shops, including Victorian kiosks selling photographic prints of the local area, crafts, herbal remedies and souvenirs. In the summer, Professor Codman's Punch and Judy show (established in 1860) can be found on the promenade near the entrance to the Pier.

The Happy Valley, a former quarry, was the gift of Lord Mostyn to the town in celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. The area was landscaped and developed as gardens, two miniature golf courses, a putting green, a popular open air theatre and extensive lawns. The ceremonies connected with the Welsh National Eisteddfod were held there in 1896 and again in 1963. In June 1969, The Great Orme Cabin Lift, a modern alternative to the tramway, was opened with its base station adjacent to the open air theatre. The distance to the summit is just over one mile (1.6 km) and the four-seater cabins travel at six m.p.h. on a continuous steel cable over two miles (3 km) long. It is the longest single stage cabin lift in Britain and the longest span between pylons is over 1,000 feet (300 m). The popularity of the 'Happy Valley Entertainers' open air theatre having declined, the theatre closed in 1985 and likewise the two miniature golf courses closed and were converted in 1987 to create a 280 metre artificial ski slope and toboggan run. The gardens were extensively restored as part of the resort's millennium celebrations and remain a major attraction.

The first route round the perimeter of the Great Orme was a footpath constructed in 1858 by Reginald Cust a Trustee of the Mostyn Estate. In 1872 the Great Ormes Head Marine Drive Co. Ltd. was formed to turn the path into a carriage road. Following bankruptcy, a second company completed the road in 1878. The contractors for the scheme were Messrs Hughes, Morris, Davies, a consortium led by Richard Hughes of Madoc Street, Llandudno. The road was bought by Llandudno Urban District Council in 1897. The four mile (6 km) drive (it is one way only) starts at the foot of the Happy Valley. After about one and a half miles, a side road leads to St. Tudno's Church, the Great Orme Bronze Age Copper Mine, and the Summit of the Great Orme. But, continuing on the Marine Drive one passes the Great Orme Lighthouse (no longer operational) and at the half way point the 'Rest and be thankful' Café is very popular with both walkers and motorists.

Alice in Wonderland, Cultural Connections & Wormhout and Mametz

Llandudno has a link with Lewis Carroll; because the family of the "real Alice" regularly spent holidays at their holiday-home Penmorfa, later the Gogarth Abbey Hotel and recently the Penmorfa Hotel (destroyed 2009, ignoring public protest) on the West Shore of Llandudno. Contrary to local myth, Alice Liddell did not meet Carroll in the town, and was not told the Alice stories in the town. It is, however, just possible that she may have first read the Alice books in print while on holiday in the town. There is no evidence that Carroll ever visited Penmorfa, and he probably would have been unwelcome if he had. Indeed, there is contrary evidence; a letter exists, written by one of Alice Liddell's sisters when grown-up, saying she had no memory of Carroll ever visiting the girls in Llandudno. It's also said that part of the book was written at the St Georges Hotel In Llandudno.

Llandudno hosted the Welsh National Eisteddfod in 1864, 1896 and 1963, and from 26–31 May 2008 welcomed the Urdd National Eisteddfod to Gloddaeth Isaf Farm, Penrhyn Bay. The town also hosted the Liverpool Olympic Festival in 1865 and 1866.

Matthew Arnold gives a vivid and lengthy description of 1860s Llandudno – and of the ancient tales of Taliesin and Maelgwn Gwynedd that are associated with the local landscape — in the first sections of the preface to On the Study of Celtic Literature (1867).

Queen Elisabeth of Romania, the writer Carmen Sylva, stayed in Llandudno for five weeks in 1890 and on taking her leave described Wales as "a beautiful haven of peace".[7] Translated into Welsh as "hardd, hafan, hedd" it became the town's official motto.

Other famous people with links to Llandudno include the Victorian Statesman John Bright and multi-capped Welsh international footballers Neville Southall and Joey Jones. Australian ex-Prime Minister Billy Hughes attended school in Llandudno.

The international art gallery, Oriel Mostyn is situated in Vaughan Street next to the post office. It was built in 1902 to house the art collection of Lady Augusta Mostyn. It was requisitioned in 1914 for use as an Army drill hall and later became a warehouse before being returned to use as an art gallery in 1979.

Llandudno is home to a Jewish Centre in Church Walks, which serves the local Jewish population - one of few in North Wales.

Llandudno is twinned with the Flemish town of Wormhout ten miles (16 km) from Dunkirk. It was there that many members of the Llandudno-based 69th Territorial Regiment were ambushed and taken prisoner. Later, at nearby Esquelbecq on 28 May 1940, the prisoners were shot.[5]

The 1st (North Wales) Brigade was Headquartered in Llandudno in December 1914 and included a battalion of the (Royal Welch Fusiliers), which had been raised and trained in Llandudno. During the 1914–18 war this Brigade a major part of the 38th Welsh Division took part in the Battle of the Somme and the Brigade was ordered to take Mametz Wood. Two days of fighting brought about the total destruction of Mametz village by shelling. After the war, the people of Llandudno (including returning survivors from the 38th Welsh Division) contributed generously to the fund for the reconstruction of the village of Mametz.

Earl History, Churches & Craig-y-Don

The town of Llandudno developed from stone age, bronze age and Iron Age settlements over many hundreds of years on the slopes of the limestone headland, known to seafarers as the Great Orme and to landsmen as the Creuddyn peninsular. The origins in recorded history are with the Manor of Gogarth conveyed by King Edward I to Annan, Bishop of Bangor in 1284. The manor comprised three townships, Y Gogarth in the south-west, Y Cyngreawdr in the north (with the parish church of St. Tudno) and Yn Wyddfid in the south-east. By 1847 the town had grown to a thousand persons served by the new church of St. George, built in 1840, the great majority of the men working in the copper mines with others employed in fishing and subsistence agriculture.

In 1848, Owen Williams, an architect and surveyor from Liverpool, presented Lord Mostyn with plans to develop the marsh lands behind Llandudno Bay as a holiday resort. These were enthusiastically pursued by Lord Mostyn. The influence of the Mostyn Estate and its agents over the years was to become paramount in the development of Llandudno and especially after the appointment of George Felton as surveyor and architect in 1857. During the years 1857 to 1877 much of central Llandudno was developed under Felton's supervision. George Felton also undertook architectural design work including the design and execution of Holy Trinity Church in Mostyn Street.

The ancient parish church dedicated to Saint Tudno stands in a hollow near the northern point of the Great Orme and two miles (3 km) from the present town. It was established as an oratory by Tudno, a 6th century monk, but the present church dates from the 12th century and it is still used on summer Sunday mornings. It was the Anglican parish church of Llandudno until that status was transferred first to St George’s (now closed) and later to Holy Trinity Church in Mostyn Street.

The principal Christian Churches of Llandudno are members of Cytûn (churches together) and include the Church in Wales (Holy Trinity and also Saint Paul's at Craig-y-Don), the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Saint John’s Methodist Church, Gloddaeth United Church (Presbyterian), Assemblies of God (Pentecostal), Llandudno Baptist Church, St. David's Methodist Church at Craig-y-Don, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Saint Mary and Saint Abasikhiron, and Eglwys Unedig Gymraeg Llandudno (the United Welsh Church of Llandudno).

The area is a subrub called Craig-y-Don it is a suburb of Llandudno, it is also part of the parish of Llanrhos, and forms coterminous wards of both Conwy County Borough Council and Llandudno Town Council.

The suburb includes the eastern half of Llandudno Bay and its promenade starting at the roundabout on the Parade and comprising: East Parade, Craig-y-Don Parade, Bedford Crescent and the Colwyn Road through to the Little Orme to Penrhyn Bay. Properties on the Parade include hotels and residential or retirement flats beyond which on Colwyn Road are Bodafon Fields and the Craigside residential district. Opposite Bodafon Fields at the end of the promenade is a large paddling pool for children with a beach cafe and public facilities.

The parade is paralleled by Mostyn Broadway and Mostyn Avenue, the latter with Queen's Road. Queen's Road (named in honour of Queen Victoria) leads from the promenade through to the pleasant residential area of Craig-y-Don where Roumania Drive and several other streets are named in memory of the visit to Llandudno in 1890 of Carmen Sylva (Queen Elisabeth of Romania).

On the hillside above Queen's Road is Lady Forester's , built in 1902 as Convalescent Home (in memory of the 3rd Baron Forester) and in 1977 offering private medical treatment.

The Church in Wales parish church of St. Paul on Mostyn Broadway was built in 1893 - 95 as a memorial to Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence on the corner of Clarence Road, which forms a junction with Mostyn Avenue. Other churches include Saint David's English Methodist church and Bethania Welsh Presbyterian church, both on Mostyn Avenue.

Llandudno And Colwynbay Trams

A 3'6" gauge electric tramway operated between these two North Wales seaside resorts from 1907 until 1956.

Extension were proposed at both ends of the line but only that to the Queen's Hotel at Old Colwyn was constructed throughout.
A short section along the West Shore road at Llandudno of the proposed Deganwy extension was built but it closed soon afterwards.

The lines, which were mainly double track from 1929, ran through Llandudno/Craig-y-Don and Rhos-on-Sea/Colwyn Bay, but in between in the Penrhynside and Penrhyn Bay section it was mostly on a private right of way.

An unusual feature was a private toll road on the sea front by the golf course at Penrhyn Bay.

The only depot was an eight road shed, located in Tramway (now Penrhyn) Avenue, Rhos-on-Sea.

The tramcars were originally 4-axle, clerestory-roofed, long single deck cars with two saloons.

These were joined in 1909 by four 2-axle convertible cars.

The fleet was increased in 1920 when the Company took delivery of four open toast-rack bogie tramcars capable of carrying 60 pasengers each.

1933 saw the delivery of five replacement single deck second-hand tramcars from Accrington Corporation, followed late in 1936 by ten 4-axle open top double-deck trams purchased from Bournemouth Corporation. These proved to be very popular with holidaymakers riding on the upper deck.

The majority of the original cars from the 1907 and 1909 batches were then withdrawn from service by this time.

Finally, two totally enclosed streamlined bogie double-deck trams were obtained from Darwen Corporation in 1946, but the bogies needed to be adjusted to the narrower gauge of the Welsh tramway.

The line between the two resorts was extremely popular despite intense competition from Crosville buses, who provided open-top buses in the latter years.
More than 2.5 million passengers were carried annually, with the section between Llandudno town centre and Craig-y-Don being the busiest. This section was often augmented by the "Llandudno local" trams at busy times - normally Nos 1-5 or No 23, turning back at the crossover at the entrance to Bodafon fields.
Late in 1955 strenuous efforts were made by enthusiasts to preserve the line and its famous tramcars, but as agreement could not be reached on the price, the Company steadfastly believed that their secure future lay in the operation of buses.
The last tram (No 8) left Llandudno on Saturday 24th March 1956 and the Company 'red' buses took over the following day, operating a slightly different route due to the state of the roads.
The Company's hopes were never realised. After five years of intense competition against Crosville the Directors accepted an offer of £40,000 for the goodwill and 'The Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway Ltd' ceased its operations on 27th May 1961.

One tramcar did survive however built in 1914 for Bournemouth Corporation. It was purchased for preservation and was displayed by the British Transport Commission in their museum at Clapham, London until 1974.
Subsequently it returned to Bournemouth and has been restored back to it's, fleet number it carried during its operational life on the South coast.

The former tram depot on Penrhyn Avenue survived for a further 50 years as an Express Parcels delivery/collection depot, although its frontage was extended towards the road. In the spring of 2006 it was finally demolished to make way for yet another residential development.

Great Orme Trams & Famous visitors

This is Great Britain's only remaining cable operated street tramway and one of only three surviving in the world. Operation of the tramway differs from the famous and unique San Francisco system in that, like the Lisbon lines, it is a street funicular, where the cars are permanently fixed to the cable and are stopped and started by stopping and starting the cable. The line was incorporated by the Great Orme Tramways Act of 1898 with authorised share capital of £25,000. Construction began in 1901. The line starts at the Victoria Station in Church Walks, Llandudno. The line is in two sections and passengers change cars at the Halfway Station. The lower section climbs the very steep Old Road and then via Black Gate and Ty Gwyn Road to the Halfway Station and has a maximum grade of 1 in 4. The line climbs 400 feet in about half-a-mile. It was opened for passengers on July 31st 1902. The upper section, opened in 1903, is less steep and climbs 150 feet in about the same distance. Financial difficulties in the 1930’s resulted in the tramway being sold in 1935 to a new company Great Orme Railway Limited. The tramway remained in private hands until 1949 when Llandudno Urban District Council bought it under its powers to compulsorily purchase the undertaking at seven yearly intervals. In 1974 Aberconwy Borough Council took over the line until 1996 when ownership passed to Conwy County Council. Prior to the introduction of radio control in the 1990’s, the trolley poles were used to maintain a telegraph link with the control unit at the halfway winding house, which was powered by steam until conversion to electrical operation in the 1950’s. The winding house contains two sets of cable winding gear. The upper section needs a seven-eighths inch diameter cable and is run by a 75hp English Electric motor. The lower section uses a 1¼ inch cable and a 125 hp electric motor. As part of a major restoration and modernisation programme Doppelmayr Tramways of Switzerland in conjunction with Briton Engineering installed in 2001 a remote control and remote supervision system incorporating a trackside inductive loop. Current reconstruction work is costing more than £4,000,000. This includes the recent construction of a new winding house and new halfway station building (see the next page), the installation in 2001 of the modern control gear, and complete lower section track renewal planned and undertaken during the winters of 2002-3, 2003-4 & 2004/5.


Llandudno has been visited by many prominent people in the past.

For example:

The Beatles in 1964, as a relatively unknown pop group when they played at the then Odeon.

The Queen in 1963, the first reigning monarch to visit the town on the Occasion of the National Eisteddfod.

The Prince of Wales and Princess Anne, when the Royal Yacht 'Britannia' anchored in the bay in 1969.

Queen Elisabeth of Romania (Carmen Sylva) in 1890, who gave us the town coat of arms inscription' Hardd, Hafan, Hedd', 'Beautiful Haven Of Peace'. Queen Rambai Barni of Siam in 1940, exiled from her country.

The Duchess of Kent in 1960 and her daughter, Princess Alexandra, in 1970, visiting Llandudno hospital.

Napoleon III, his empress Eugene, Bismarck, Disraeli, Gladstone, Churchill, Lloyd George and John Bright, who all stayed at the St George's Hotel at various times.

Matthew Arnold in 1864, who found that all interests are here - Celts, Romans,Saxons, Druidism, Middle Age, Caer, Castle, Cromlech, Abbey, - and this glorious sea and mountains with it all. Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) in 1862 and arguably when visiting Dean Liddell at Penmorfa.

Randolph Turpin, who took over the Great Orme Summit Complex in 1952.


Source, courtesy of the BBC.

Pier Pavilion

The Directors of the Llandudno Pier Company had successfully opened the new pier in 1878 and were now looking to expand their business to take advantage of Llandudno's growing popularity as a seaside resort. The existing sundeck pavilion at the end of the pier was proving inadequate to cope with the demand for musical recitals, so the decision was taken to build a bigger and better pavilion near the promenade entrance to the pier extension then under construction.

Work started in 1881 and the plans called for a 2,000-seat three-storey structure, to be built in the typically flamboyant Victorian style, complete with a superbly detailed cast-iron veranda, running the length of the entire seaward side of the building. The pavilion was unusual in that in had two main entrances, the first from the pier entering at Stall level and the another on Happy Valley Road, which emerged onto the Balcony. More unusually, the pavilion basement housed what was then the largest indoor swimming pool in Britain. Unfortunately for the pier company, problems with water quality meant that this novel idea did not prove successful, and the pool was filled in shortly afterwards.

The pavilion was scheduled to open in the Spring of 1883, but a ferocious storm on the night of January 25, 1883 resulted in severe damage to the glass roof. Following a rethink of the roof's design (and much embarrassment to the building's architects, who were promptly dismissed by the pier company), the decision was taken to replace the original glass roof with a sturdy lead one, more suited to the demands of a North Wales location in winter. Extensive rebuilding work was required, and the building did not open officially until September 1886. The pavilion was 204 ft long (62 m), with a width ranging from 84 ft (26 m) to 104 ft (32 m). The canopy roof was 60 ft across (18 m). One end of the building housed the Egyptian Hall, which featured hieroglyphics on its wall decorations.

Rivière's Orchestra at the Llandudno pier pavilion was a great success and was quickly trebled in size to symphony proportions. It contributed to the development of that great British summer entertainment, the promenade concert. The young Henry Wood came to Llandudno to observe the then elderly Rivière at work. Following Rivière, the locally renowned Arthur Payne held the baton for many years until 1925 when he was followed in 1926 by Malcolm Sargent for two notable seasons then by others from season to season including, as a guest conductor on several occasions, Sir Adrian Boult. The pier pavilion orchestra continued its summer seasons until 1936 when it gave way to variety shows, a victim of changing entertainment tastes. A small orchestra survived, this was taken over in 1938 by John Morava who maintained the pier's orchestral tradition to the very end in 1974, when the orchestra (by then confined to the pierhead pavilion) was finally disbanded.

Thus, in 1936, the pavilion prepared to enter its second era - that of variety entertainment. This was to be the theatre's golden age, with the Pavilion firmly on the tour list of every major artist. Thousands of top acts appeared there over the years, including household names like George Formby, Ted Ray, Semprini, Petula Clark, Arthur Askey, Bryan Johnson, Bill Maynard ("Greengrass" in Heartbeat), Jimmy Edwards (Whacko!), Russ Conway, the Beverley Sisters, Cyril Fletcher and Cliff Richard. Special mention should be made of Welsh singer Ivor Emmanuel, who appeared regularly on Sunday night bills for many years.

During its long history, the theatre has regularly hosted political rallies and conferences, with the vast auditorium resounding to the voices of David Lloyd George, Stanley Baldwin, Ramsay MacDonald, Oswald Mosley, Neville Chamberlain, Clement Attlee, Harold Macmillan, Edward Heath and Winston Churchill. It is reputed that, during the Conservative Party's conference at the pavilion in 1948, a young lady decided to abandon her previous career plans and enter politics. Her name was Margaret Thatcher.

In the decades following the war, the pavilion was as popular as ever with the thousands of holidaymakers returning to Llandudno year after year. It was not until the end of the 1960s that the popularity of the pavilion's variety shows began to flag - victims of the twin threats of television and cheap foreign holidays.

A full programme of summer shows was carried on through the 1970s but the audiences were falling away steadily and the length of the summer season began to shorten. By now, the theatre was under the creative control of local impresario and comedian Alex Munro, who introduced new initiatives to bring back the audiences, including the pavilion's first pantomime in 1972, an event which was marred by the sad death of Munro's daughter Janet Munro, who died in tragic circumstances days before she was due to begin rehearsals for the show.

On the 6th December 1983, the Llandudno Pier Company sold the pavilion for £10,000 to Llandudno Pavilion Ltd, a sister company of Uttoxeter Investments Ltd, a leisure company that already operated the Llandudno Cabin Lift. Despite the high quality of the Summer shows, the audiences were still falling and in 1984, it was decided that the theatre would close at the end of the summer season. The final show at the pavilion was 'Startime Follies', a variety show featuring Tommy Trafford, Lynda Lee Lewis, Kay Carman and the Marie Ashton Dancers, with performances at 8pm nightly and a high season only matinee at 3pm daily. Ticket prices ranged from £2 to £2.60. The lack of audiences, increasing costs of maintaining the old building and new fire regulations had finally put paid to the pavilion's theatrical tradition - 98 years after it had first opened.

The pavilion's days as an entertainment venue were not entirely over, however. A few months before the theatre closed, a new attraction opened in the basement. The huge basement area (originally built as the country's largest indoor swimming pool back in 1886 but which closed shortly afterwards due to problems with water quality) had been home over the years to a small amusement arcade called Tusons and, later, a ghost train ride and vintage car 'round the world' ride. These were all cleared out to make way for the Llandudno Dungeon, a walk through horror waxworks exhibition, featuring scenes from the more gruesome aspects of human history, all built at a cost of over £100,000. Scenes depicted included a full size replica of a Victorian London street, complete with Sweeney Todd's barber shop and opium den, the 1665 Great Plague of London, body snatchers at work and a full size model of a guillotine. This novel attraction proved successful for a few years but closed at the end of 1990, when the entire exhibition was sold and shipped to France. For the first time in over a hundred years, the entire pavilion stood empty and unused.

Lack of maintenance meant that the exterior of the building deteriorated rapidly but the interior remained in surprisingly good condition, with most of the original architectural and theatre features still in situ. January 1992 saw ownership of the building pass to the London based Launchsign Ltd, which announced their intention to completely restore the building and introduce a Covent Garden style indoor market to the former theatre area. Despite the grandiose plans, no effort was made to repair or even secure the theatre building, which became increasingly vandalised and a meeting place for local youths. The process of decay accelerated, until the almost inevitable arson attack in 1994 destroyed the main theatre building. The site has never been cleared properly and remains an eyesore until the present day.

Listed Buildings in Llandudno

Listed Buildings in Llandudno, Caernarfonshire, Wales

Some building names may be abbreviated or partial; this is how they are recorded in the original register.

14-15 North Parade, Llandudno, N Parade, Llandudno, Conwy

Alexandra Hotel - 45 & 47 Mostyn Street, Mostyn Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Bodafon Farmhouse, Bodafon Road, Llandudno, Conwy

Bodafon Farm, Farmbuildings, Bodafon Road, Llandudno, Conwy

Bodafon Hall, Bodafon Road, Llandudno, Conwy

Bodafon Street 4-6, Bodafon Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Bodafon Street No3, Bodafon Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Bothty Cottage, Conwy

Bryn-y-mor, Belle Vue & Waverley: 25-7 North Parade

Hill Terrace, Llandudno, Conwy

Caersalem Methodist Chapel (wesleyan), Bodlondeb Castle, Church Walks, Llandudno, Church Walks, Llandudno, Conwy

Craig-y-don Parade, 2: Derby House, The Parade, Llandudno, Conwy

Cwm Howard, Llandudno, Cwm Howard Lane, Llandudno, Conwy

Dovecote at Gloddaeth Hall,Conwy

Ebenezer Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Lloyd St., Llandudno

emmanuel Christian Centre, Chapel Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Elsinore Hotel, St Georges Crescent

Fferm Farmhouse, Fferm Lane, Llandudno, Conwy

Florence House, Former Police Station and Court, 5 Vardre Lane, Llandudno

Gate Piers, Gates and Railings at Lady Forester Convalescent Home

39 Maes Berllan, Llandudno, Conwy

Forecourt Walls at Bodafon Hall, Bodafon Road, Llandudno, Conwy

Gloddaeth Crescent, 14-15 - Brig-y-don Hotel

Imperial Passage, Llandudno

Gloddaeth Crescent, 16 Imperial Passage, Llandudno, Conwy

Gloddaeth Hall, Conwy

Gloddaeth Hall, Stable Block, Conwy

Grand Hotel, Llandudno

Happy Valley Road, Llandudno, Conwy

Head Post Office, Llandudno

Garage Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Hen Dwr Windmill, Llandudno, Conwy

Hydropathic Establishment (hydro Hotel, Neville Crescent)

Nevill Crescent, Llandudno, Conwy

Imperial Hotel, the Promenade

Vaughan Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Jubilee Wing, Gloddaeth Hall, Conwy

King's Arms Public House

17 Mostyn Street, Llandudno

Lady Forester Convalescent Home

Llandudno Lodge and Entrance to Drive (to Gloddaeth Hall)

Llandudno Lodge, Gloddaeth Hall

Gloddaeth Lane, Llandudno, Conwy

Merrion Hotel

Brithdir, Gwynedd

Mostyn Crescent, 12 and 13, Llandudno

Mostyn Street, 107, Llandudno

Ty-isa Road, Llandudno, Conwy

Mostyn Street, 109, Llandudno

109 Mostyn Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Mostyn Street, 139, Llandudno
Mostyn Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Mostyn Street, 159;10 Church Walks, Llandudno
9 Church Walks, Llandudno, Conwy

Mostyn Street, 21 and 23, Llandudno
Mostyn Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Mostyn Street, 93, Llandudno
Mostyn Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Neville Crescent, 10, Llandudno
Nevill Crescent, Llandudno, Conwy

Neville Crescent, 4, Llandudno
Nevill Crescent, Llandudno, Conwy

Neville Crescent, 5, Llandudno
Nevill Crescent, Llandudno, Conwy

Neville Crescent, 6-8, Llandudno; Kensington Hotel, Formerly Seaforth Hotel
Nevill Crescent, Llandudno, Conwy

Neville Crescent, 9, Llandudno
Nevill Crescent, Llandudno, Conwy

No. 17 Craig-y-don Terrace (carmel Hotel)
Carmen Sylva Road, Llandudno, Conwy

No. 76 Mostyn Street
Mostyn Street, Llandudno, Conwy

No. 82 Mostyn Street
Market Street, Llandudno, Conwy

No. 86 Mostyn Street
Market Street, Llandudno, Conwy

No. 92 Mostyn Street
94 Mostyn Street, Llandudno, Conwy

North Parade, 1-5, Llandudno
14 N Parade, Llandudno, Conwy

Nos. 1, 3 & 5 Gloddaeth Street
George Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Nos. 1-4 East Parade
E Parade, Llandudno, Conwy

Nos. 21-26 Bodafon Street
Bodafon Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Nos. 5-8 East Parade
Back East Parade, Llandudno, Conwy

Nos. 68 & 70 Mostyn Street - Including Former Stanley Hotel
George Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Orme Lodge, 16-16a North Parade
N Parade, Llandudno, Conwy

Penrhyn Hall, Farmbuildings
Penrhyn Old Road, Llandudno, Conwy

Penrhyn Hall, Service Range
Penrhyn Old Road, Llandudno, Conwy

Penrhyn Hall, South Lodge
Penrhyn Old Road, Llandudno, Conwy

Penrhyn Old Hall, North Lodge
Penrhyn Hill, Llandudno, Conwy

Queen's Hotel, the Parade
Clonmel Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Richmond Hotel, St George's Place
St George's Place, Llandudno, Conwy

Seilo Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Arvon Ave. and Gloddaeth St., Llandudno;shiloh;siloh
18 Gloddaeth Street, Llandudno, Conwy

South Parade, 15, Llandudno
St. George's Hotel, the Parade, Llandudno
St George's Place, Llandudno, Conwy

Statue of Hercules at Gloddaeth Hall (original Site)
Tabernacl Welsh Baptist Church, Upper Mostyn Street, Llandudno
Llewelyn Avenue, Llandudno, Conwy

Tan-y-wal, Penrhynside
1 Bryn Gwynt Lane, Llandudno, Conwy

Tram Shelter, (former Tram Terminus), West Parade
W Parade, Llandudno, Conwy

Tudno Castle Hotel, Formerly North Western Hotel & Including Former Temperance Hotel
Mostyn Broadway, Llandudno, Conwy

Tudno Vaults, No. 64 Mostyn Street
Mostyn Street, Llandudno, Conwy

Vaughan Street, 6, Llandudno
St John's Place, Llandudno, Conwy

Wave Crest Hotel, St George's Crescent
A546, Llandudno, Conwy

West Parade, White Rabbit (statue)
W Parade, Llandudno, Conwy

White Heather Hotel, St George's Place
Ty-isa Road, Llandudno, Conwy

Mayors of Llandudno from 1974 onward

J T Williams MBE, 1974-1975

M H Thomas JP, 1975-1976

F C D Tinkham, 1976-1977

H J Milbourn, 1977-1978

D G Ownen, 1978-1979

G Jones1979-1980

R S Gradwell, 1980-1981

Mrs J Lee, 1981-1982<

H Gledhill, 1982-1983

Cllr P C Evans J, 1983-1984<

Cllr T R Davies, 1984-1985

Cllr Mrs M Lyon, 1985-1986

>Cllr J Finch, 1986-1987

M Bailey, 1987-1988

T E White, 1988-1989

J W Evans, 1989-1990

Mrs C R Jones, 1990-1991

Cllr J M Boyle, 1991-1992

Cllr J E Ridler, 1992-1993

Mrs J Finch, 1993-1994

T V Hannon, 1994-1995

A R Todd, 1995-1996

Cllr M P Hold JP, 1996-1997

Cllr M Williams, 1997-1998

J A Roberts, 1998-1999

A T Guinn, 1999-2000

Cllr Mrs I L Groom, 2000-2001

Cllr B Bertola, 2001-2002

Cllr M A Pearce, 2002-2003

Mrs S Barratt, 2003-2004

Cllr Mrs J E Finch-Saunders, 2004-2005

>Mrs A E Parry, 2005-2006

Cllr P C Evans JP, 2006-2007

Cllr A Barrett, 2007-2008

Cllr Billy Evans, 2008-2009

Cllr Mrs J Jones, 2009 - 2010

Cllr Mrs A M Yates, 2010 - 2011

Cllr G J T Robbins, 2011 - 2012

Cllr Mrs Myra Wigzell, 2012 - 2013

Cllr Garry Burchett, 2013 - 2014

Great storm of 1859 changed Llandudno's destiny

Local historian Tom Parry tells how the great storm of 1859 changed Llandudno's destiny, ensuring the town became the seaside resort we know today - and not the main Welsh port to Ireland.

"On 25th October 1859 a devastating storm hammered the coastline of Britain. While it raged, over 800 lives were lost and over 200 vessels wrecked. The greatest tragedy of the storm was undoubtedly the loss of the Royal Charter, The Gold Ship, at Moelfre. In fact the storm became known as the Royal Charter Storm. This event, with the loss of over 400 lives, and the total destruction of the ship, overshadowed all the other events of that tragic day. The tempest did however have an incising and long reaching effect on the town of Llandudno. A great transition was taking place. The old copper industry was in a state of rapid decline and following the implementation of the Enclosure Act of 1845, a modern seaside town was rising out of the marshes of Morfa Rhianedd. Llandudno was a rapidly emerging new town and the terrifying storm helped to seal its destiny. At the time a plan, The St Georges Harbour Scheme, had been launched with the intention of running the railway to the beach and constructing a harbour to capture the Irish trade and to export coal from the Denbighshire coalfields. To further this end a pier had been constructed near the present site of the Grand Hotel. With the coming of the railway the Irish Port could have been established at Holyhead, Porth Dinllaen or Llandudno. It was a valuable prize to achieve. On the morning of the 25th October 1859 a strengthening north easterly wind rapidly increased to gale force and hurled huge waves into Llandudno Bay. A contemporary account describes waves like mountains roaring into the bay and smashing on the site of the present promenade. White foam, like a mist, covered the bay as a hurricane force wind drove the huge breakers ashore. There was unanimous agreement, even amongst experienced seamen, that such waves had never before been witnessed in Llandudno Bay. In those days a row of thatched cottages stood near the site of the present Washington Hotel. They were overwhelmed by the waves and their inhabitants forced to flee inland. One witness describes watching a kitchen table being carried out to sea with its legs pointing upwards. The new pier was battered mercilessly. Most of the large timbers were torn out, smashed to matchwood and strewn over a wide area of the beach. The report mentions the toll booth being carried on the crest of a large wave and deposited at the eastern end of the beach. The damage was a fatal blow, not only to the pier, but also to the hopes of establishing a new port at Llandudno. Any chance the town had to challenge Holyhead as the Irish Port disappeared with the demolition of the pier. From now on Llandudnos future was to be a sea side resort, not a sea port. No doubt Llandudnos residents were dismayed and saddened by the destruction, damage and at the abrupt ending to any hopes of the St. Georges Harbour Scheme succeeding. Had the storm not occurred it is possible that some other town would have become, The Queen of the Welsh Watering Places?"

Source, courtesy of the BBC.

Charles Darwin was in Llandudno circa 1824

Charles Darwin was in Llandudno circa 1824, but his presence has hardly been noticed by chroniclers of the town's history.

We are indebted to John Price, MA (Old Price), 1803 - 1887 in his guidebook Llandudno And How To Enjoy It for his record of Charles Darwin's visit to Llandudno.

Old Price was born at Pwllycrochan (Colwyn Bay). He was a school-fellow at Dr Butler's school, Shrewsbury, and, although six years older, a lifelong friend of Charles Darwin.

The first reference to Darwin at Llandudno in Old Price's guidebook is:

"... the formidable Llech, where, at the abrupt termination of a green zigzag (distinctly visible from the sea), a very rugged and narrow path led the adventurous explorer past a little artificial dripping grotto, with a stone table in it, down to the very sea ledges. Here true Samphire (Crithmum maritimum) grows, which we used to get by shooting it down. Asperugo Procumbens grew here when we went down with Charles Darwin about 1824, but seems smothered by nettles long since."

The zigzag approach to Ogof Llech is no longer safe to use after the 1993 Llandudno floods eroded part of the track. It is interesting that Asperugo Procumbens (German Madwort) is listed in Thomas Williams, Guidebooks To Llandudno, of the 1860s as being at Llech, but said to be rare.

The harvesting of samphire has been common for centuries. Even Shakespeare comments on its method of collection in King Lear.

Thomas Williams advertises his 'Pickled Orme's Head Samphire' for sale at his Italian Warehouse, where the Empire Hotel now stands, and later at his new premises where Hooson's Corner is located.

The second Old Price reference to Darwin at Llandudno is;

"Reptiles - the writer, in company with Charles Darwin, caught a Viper on the Warren, about 1824, favoured by Wellington boots and very strong gardening gloves. Holding him short by the neck, we let him bite at the glove, and emit a drop of clear fluid along the fang, which sank instantly into the leather.

"When this had been done about five times, no more poison was left, and we killed, but did not eat him - a fact never satisfactorily explained".

He does not say whether the capture took place on the Warren at the West Shore or that on the North Shore. Contemplating eating a viper seems strange to us these days, in spite of a much more adventurous approach we have to new recipes and ingredients in recent years.

Darwin and Old Price met up again at Cambridge in 1829 where Price was tutoring and reading for his own ordination. Darwin stuck to him so closely that it seemed to Price like hero worship.

One day, as they walked to Cherry Hinton quarries south of the town, Price stopped, pointed out some common plants, and proceeded to identify them. Darwin was astounded. 'Price, Price, he exclaimed, what would I give to be such a naturalist as you'.

The adventures of Old Price and Charles Darwin at Llandudno in 1824 took place when Price was about 21 and Darwin about 15 years of age. But their friendship continued throughout their lives. For example, even in 1874 after Darwin had produced the 'Origin of Species', the 'Descent of Man' and most of his other works, when old Price was writing his 'Llandudno and how to enjoy it', there was still contact between the two, now old men.

Darwin was researching insectivorous plants and Old Price offered to send him a rare bladderwort.

Charles Darwin died in 1882. When Old Price died at Chester in 1887 he left behind him many of Darwin's works which Darwin had presented to him. We are indebted to the two men, Darwin and Old Price, whose escapades, when young, in this area, further enrich the impressive history of Llandudno's mountain, the Great Orme, and its environs. May the memory of their visit survive.

Source, courtesy of the BBC.

St David's College

Gloddaeth Hall, as it was known, is a Tudor building built in the early 16th century, but it does have some Medieval influences too, unlike nearby Bodysgallen Hall which is most definitely Elizabethan.

It was built for Margaret, heiress of the Gloddaeth estate who married into the Mostyn family. Their main seat was Mostyn Hall over in Flintshire, but their estate extended the length of the north Wales coast and they would move between their houses.

We still have intact the great hall, which contains a painted coat of arms of Queen Elizabeth I, a minstrel gallery and a grand fireplace with the Mostyn motto above.

There's also a hiding place up the chimney. The Mostyns were suspected of being Catholics at a time when that was very dangerous. They were supposed to guard against the rebels printing Catholic books in a cave on the Great Orme, but the rebels somehow escaped.

We also have a secret room up above the coat of arms in the great hall, reached by a steep staircase hidden in the panels of a small room upstairs. You have to have a good head for heights to stand up there.

There's a portrait of Sir Roger Mostyn who led the royal cavalry against the parliamentarians in Chester during the Civil War. He was captured and imprisoned at Conwy Castle before being rewarded at the return of King Charles I.

An extension was built in the 17th century which includes the library, now our music room. There's also a mid-17th century cannon in front of the hall, said to have been found near the old Weekly News depot in Llandudno Junction.

In the 1880s the house was extended again by Lady Augusta Mostyn. They added 40 extra rooms and invited the well-known designer Nessfield in to build an Elizabethan staircase, which is now only used by prefects and staff.

We also have plans of a great maze on the hill behind the school, larger than the one in Hampton Court. This must have been to attract tourists.

There was a sale of goods in the 1930s and the house has been rented out ever since. It used to be the Gloddaeth School for Girls before becoming St David's College in 1965.

It's a fantastic resource for teaching history. I show the boys the great hall for examples of Tudor or Medieval life, or go out into the grounds to see the many canons we've got if we're studying something like the gunnery of the Spanish Armada. Anything to make history more fun! Mike Ward

Source, courtesy of the BBC.

Brief history of The Oval, Llandudno

Llandudno Cricket Club Ground In 1969 Glamorgan held their Sunday League fixture with Leicestershire at the Llandudno Cricket Club. Their ground, known as The Oval , has been used by the club since 1891 and lies on land which was leased to the cricket club by the Mostyn Family of Gloddaeth Hall. The family did much to develop and popularise the North Wales resort, and in September 1924 Lord Mostyn opened a pavilion during the two day game between the touring South Africans and a North Wales XI. The following year the inaugural first-class match took place on the ground between Wales and Ireland, and in the late 1920`s it was used again by Wales for their tourist matches with the West Indians and New Zealanders.

In 1949 the ground was purchased by the Llandudno Urban District Council, and during the 1950`s and 1960`s various Benefit and exhibition games were staged at the ground during the holiday season. It was the popularity of these games which led Glamorgan to stage their inaugural Sunday fixture with Leicestershire at The Oval. It was televised, but rain interupted the game, and Glamorgan were eventually adjudged the victors by virtue of a superior run rate.

(Article: Copyright © 2003 Dr.A.K.Hignell)

Gogarth Abbey, Great Orme

Often called Gogarth Abbey but in reality a palace of the Bishops of Bangor, stands on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea on the SW side of Gt. Orme's head.

The remains suggest a date c.1300, probably erected by Bishop Anian towards end of C13. Evidence of extensive conflagration suggest that the building was burnt by Glyndwr beginning of 15th century, no evidence of rebuilding. It was probably not reoccupied after the fire. Erosion has destroyed much of the building. (RCAHMW) Waste stones have been piled up around the SW and SE walls of the hall, obscuring the original masonry.

The stone at the SW end of the hall marking the screens passage has gone, so has the cross wall outside the SE entrance to the hall. The walls of the hall are 1.9m high at the N corner, and the window sills are 1.1m above floor level on the NW side. The interior of the site is generally clear, and used as a part of the garden of the convalescent home. The room described as the latrine is, however, very overgrown, and could not be entered. Two pieces of upstanding masonry form part of the remains of a hall 11m long, and thought to be just over 7m wide, its longer axis orientated WNW-ESE. The southern half of the building has been eroded into the sea.

The two upstanding wall fragments are the north end of the west gable, and the east end of the north wall; they stand some 6.5m above the original floor levels, and a beam hole in the north fragment suggests the former existence of an upper storey. The remains of another wall 6m west of the standing gable end can be seen in the eroding cliff face, and is thought to represent a western extension to the hall. The results of excavations in 1955 and 56 suggested the building had been built by Bishop Anion I circa 1280, and that it had been destroyed by fire, possibly as a part of the Glyndwr revolt around 1400.

The erosion is most active around the west wall, and along the west extension. Large areas of burning are visible in the eroding floor levels of this extension. (Gwynedd Archaeological Trust HER) Ruins of Bishop's Palace. In use for short while. Plain masonry. Large hall 40' x 28', small other buildings. (Coflein) .

The Llandudno & Colwyn Bay Electric Railway Limited

In 1899 the Board of Trade confirmed the Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Light Railway Order of 1898 which provided for the construction of an electric tramway from Colwyn Bay to Deganwy, passing through Rhos-on-Sea, Penrhyn Bay and Llandudno. By 1906, following years of wrangling and extensions, the tramway, apart from a short stretch in 1904, had still not been constructed. The original promoting company, the Light Railway and General Construction Company Ltd. was replaced in 1902 by the Llandudno, Colwyn Bay and Rhyl Electric Traction Co.Ltd. In 1906, following a name change that had omitted Rhyl from the title, the company went into liquidation and in July 1906 the Llandudno and District Electric Construction Co. Ltd, along with Peebles of Edinburgh, was formed to take over the powers of the liquidated company.

Early in 1907, work began on the construction of the tramway and by July 1907 the line between Rhos-on-Sea and Llandudno was ready for inspection by the board of Trade. After the initial inspection it was found necessary to fit the trams with an additional hand brake and the Board of Trade inspector withheld the certificate to carry passengers until the modifications had been made. The initial trams (1-14) were covered single-deck bogie cars by the Midland Carriage Company, seating 42, on Mountain and Gibson trucks. The livery chosen was red and cream, which was lined out in gold.

A second inspection on the 26th September 1907 found the trams to be now satisfactory and the certificate was granted and the line duly opened on the 19th October, although, in order not to offend the staunchly religious locals, trams did not run on the Sabbath.

The Company now concentrated its efforts on the Colwyn Bay section of the line, which had suffered a delay, partly because of local objections to the proposed route. However, everything was eventually settled to the mutual satisfaction of all parties and the line to Colwyn Bay opened on 7th June 1908.

In 1909 the company title was changed, for the final time, to the Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway Limited. In the same year the company took delivery of four new tramcars (15-18). Built by the United Electric Company, they seated 31, 27 in the saloon on transverse seating and 4 on two bench seats, one on each platform. They were nicknamed 'Yankees' on account of their resemblance to American streetcars of the period. Throughout this period the Company was engaged in a track-doubling programme and, with the opening, in 1915, of the section to the Queens Hotel in Old Colwyn, the total length of track stretched over 8 miles.

Permission to run double-deck trams was given by the Board of Trade in 1916, despite Llandudno's preference for single-deck trams and Colwyn Bay's opposition. However, in 1920, four more single-deck tramcars arrived. Although they were ordered in 1914 from the United Electric Car Company, they were delayed by the Great War. They were numbered 19-22 and had open 'toastrack' bodies, which seated 60. They were delivered in a green and cream livery and were extremely popular with the tourist trade until their final summer in 1955.

The Great War, however, had its effect on the company, both financially and materially. In consequence the company applied to the Ministry of Transport, who regulated the charges that the company was allowed to make, for permission to increase the fares charged, for which sanction was given.

Colwyn Bay UDC commenced major road improvements in 1920 to cater for the increased traffic along the coastal route. This included doubling the length of tram track along that stretch of the road, however, the trams found it increasingly difficult to compete with the motorbuses that were also operating the coastal route. This was especially the case on the section to Old Colwyn, partly caused by the fact that electricity was only supplied from the Llandudno end of the track causing a fall off towards the Old Colwyn side, and partly because the original 14 cars had had their motor capacity reduced from four to two. This prompted the Company to apply to the local Council for licences to operate motorbuses over the Old Colwyn section of the route. To further their application the Company acquired an interest in North Wales Silver Motors Ltd, who would operate the services on behalf of the Company. The Colwyn Bay Council agreed to give consideration to the application, but in the event North Wales Silver Motors was taken over by Crosville in 1930 and the Company's bus services never materialised. Around this time the possibility of replacing the trams with trolleybuses was mooted but was not pursued, and the trams continued to run. Sunday running was introduced, although only for part of the day (after church services had finished at midday!). It was extended to a full day service in 1933.

In the same year plans were made to replace the rolling stock with newer, second-hand cars, and as a result, five single-deck cars (1-5) were purchased from Accrington Corporation, replacing original cars 1-5. The largest second-hand purchase came in 1936, comprising ten (6-15) open-top double-deck bogie cars from Bournemouth Corporation, personally chosen by the then manager Mr Walter Hamilton. Although permission had originally been given in 1916 to operate double-deck trams, this had been opposed by the local councils, who again opposed their operation. The Board of Trade again rejected the Councils opposition and sanctioned the operation of double-deck trams over the whole line. A stipulation was inserted in the licence to the effect that if the wind-speed exceeded 50 mph on certain sections of the route then passengers must be brought down from the upper deck. It is recorded that a man was employed by the company whose job it was to measure wind speed, using an anemometer, and if it exceeded 50 mph, he was to board the trams and ensure passengers were removed from the top deck. This practice, however, eventually died out.

The remaining cars not now required because of the new imports were scrapped, the Company removing some components to use for spares. Four trams 6, 10, 11 and 14 were retained and re-numbered 16, 19, 17 and 18 respectively.

The financial position of the company was never really secure and the maintenance of the infrastructure had been problematic. The system had been merely patched up when needed. In 1938 the complete re-wiring of the system was tackled, as far as the finances would allow, much of it new. The company was just reaping the benefits when war broke out in 1939. What could have been a disaster for the Company instead turned out to be a blessing. The transfer of many Government staff and departments to the two Welsh resorts resulted in an increase in the passenger traffic over the war years and by 1946 the Company was in a sound financial position.

In 1946, with the imminent closure of the Darwen Corporation tramway system, two enclosed streamlined double-deck trams became available and the Company quickly purchased them. However, on subsequent inspection by the Ministry of Transport, they were deemed to be unsuitable for the open stretches of the line and were condemned to work out their lives on local services at each end of the line.

Although receipts were healthy, the large costs incurred in the maintenance of the infrastructure meant that it was often deferred. The track and roadway in Llandudno was allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that the local Council reported the Company to the Ministry of Transport, forcing the Company to carrying out the repairs.

The Penrhyn Bay tram track was badly damaged in January 1952. Gales stirred up enormous waves that washed away much of the ballast from under the track. In order to repair the damage a giant pulley wheel was affixed to the track and a tram used to haul boulders up the beach to plug the defences. This proved to be a futile operation. The following year an even larger section of the track was damaged. At this time the directors of the Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway were seriously considering replacing the trams with buses, but the likely cost of reinstating the road surface after the tracks had been lifted prompted them to retain the trams for as long as possible. In 1954 the Company applied to the North West Traffic Commissioners for a licence to operate buses. They were informed that agreement would have to be reached with Crosville before any such licence could be issued.
At this stage, Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Councils objected to the abandonment of the trams, being fearful that the cost of reinstating the road might fall upon them.

Although no date for the conversion to buses had yet been announced, early in January 1956 the tramway staff broke up trams 1,2,9 and 10. Preservationists were quickly on the scene and attempts were instigated to save the line, but in the end they did not come to fruition. Driver training had already started using a 1938 Leyland Titan from East Kent and the date for the last tram was announced as 24th March 1956. Tram no.8 was reserved for the official party and, for the final stretch of the journey, was driven by the mayor of Colwyn Bay, arriving back at the depot after midnight, and so the last privately owned street tramway in Britain, watched by a large crowd, ceased operations after almost 50 years.

The Company, however, continued to trade, now using motorbuses. The main operator on the former tram route was Crosville Motor Services with whom competition was fierce and finally on the 28 May 1961 the Company succumbed and sold out to its main rival, the last L. & C.B.E.R. bus arriving at the depot on the 27th May 1961.

Tram Fleet List 1907-1956

Llandudno Urban District Council

Bus Fleet List

Reg. No.


Chassis No.





Dennis G









CC8222 re-seated to T19 in 1932.
CC8223 re-seated to T17 in 1932.
Withdrawn 1935 (CC8223), 1937 (CC8222).



Dennis G




CC8670-8671 re-seated to T19 in 1932.
Withdrawn 1957 (CC8670-8671).



Dennis GL





Dennis GL




CC9305, CC9424 re-seated to T19 in 1932.
Withdrawn 1957 (CC9305, CC9424).



Guy Wolf




JC2772 had a removable (or foldable) nearside for use as an open-sided bus.
Withdrawn 1960 (JC2772).



Commer PN3




Withdrawn 1965 (JC4557).



Guy Wolf




Withdrawn 1961 (JC5313).



Guy Wolf




Withdrawn 1962 (JC8344).



Guy Wolf




JC9735-9736 to Aberconwy Borough Council 4/74.



Foden PVSC6





Guy Wolf




AJC550-552 to Aberconwy Borough Council 4/74.
Withdrawn 1968 (AJC91-92).



Guy Otter




CCC596-597 to Aberconwy Borough Council 4/74.



Dennis Pax V




Source, courtesy of the BBC.