|Date||15 February 2015|
At 58 characters long (the digraphs ‘ch’ and ‘ll’ are single letters in the Welsh alphabet), the place name Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is said to be the longest in Europe and resulted from a local initiative in Victorian times aimed at boosting tourism. The name is Welsh for The church of Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the fierce whirlpool and the church of Tysilio by the red cave. St Mary’s is the local anglican parish church, rebuilt in 1853, and St Tysilio’s church is located in the neighbouring town of Menai Bridge. The village is also, more conveniently, known as Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll (its original name), Llanfairpwll and Llanfair PG.
Originally a rural hamlet, Llanfairpwll grew in size and importance with 19th-century developments in transport infrastructure. In the 1820s Thomas Telford’s new road was built through the village on its path across Anglesey to the port of Holyhead. This formed part of the mail route from London to Dublin. And later the Chester and Holyhead Railway also came to the village, with its station — which is now a request stop — opening in 1848. The expanded name was adopted in the 1860s giving the station the longest name in Britain in an effort to encourage travellers to stop in the village.
Next to the former station building stands the James Pringle Weavers’ outlet. This visitor centre and department store, owned by The Edinburgh Woollen Mill, has been closed since it was damaged in October 2013 by a fire caused by an electrical fault in a fridge in the restaurant kitchen. As Pringles welcomed up to 20 coaches per day, its closure and the subsequent loss of all the coach-trip visitors has adversely affected the village’s economy. Pringles is scheduled to re-open on 1 March 2014.