Now and then V: Llandudno

Llandudno - Now and Then

Llandudno – Now and Then

Date

9 November 2014
Location

Llandudno

North Shore Beach
View of Pier from The Colonnade
Happy Valley

 

SH 78171 82616; 53.32638°N, 3.83067°W
SH 78301 82909; 53.32905°N, 3.82884°W
SH 78293 82968; 53.32957°N, 3.82898°W

Information

Llandudno is the largest seaside resort in Wales and has a population of 20,000. Its population in the mid 19th century was only 1,000, but the town expanded as Lord Mostyn developed it as a Victorian resort from 1848 onwards. This was around the time that the Chester and Holyhead Railway opened, which came close to the town. A branch line into Llandudno opened in 1858.

The Baths Hotel was built next to a bath house near the pier in the 1870s. The hotel and bath house complex was rebuilt and opened as the Grand Hotel in 1902. It was owned in the 1980s and 90s by Butlins and the 162-bedroom, 3-star establishment is currently owned by Britannia Hotels.

Llandudno Pier Pavilion Theatre was a grand iron-and-glass structure built by the Llandudno Pier Company between 1881 and 1886. It initially had a swimming pool on the lower floor with a 2000-seat auditorium on the upper level. However, problems with the pool led to its closure soon afterwards. The auditorium, on the other hand, became a prestige venue for concerts and then variety shows and also political conferences. But is popularity declined during the 1980s and it closed in 1984. The basement of the building was then home until 1990 to a waxworks exhibition. The building thereafter fell into disrepair and was destroyed by a fire in 1994. The site of the former pavilion has been branded as an eyesore and the county council has been keen for the plot to be sympathetically redeveloped. No agreement has, however, so far been reached with its owner, a Worcester-based businessman.

In 1887 Lord Mostyn donated a former quarry on the lower slopes of the Great Orme to the town of Llandudno in celebration of Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. This was landscaped and developed as Happy Valley, an ornamental garden open to the public featuring various attractions, including lawns, miniature golf courses and an open-air theatre. The theatre closed in 1985 and in 1987 a 300m dry ski slope was created on the site of the golf courses. Happy Valley is also the location of the lower terminus of the Great Orme cable car, installed in 1969, and a stone circle in the gardens was used in the Welsh National Eisteddfod in 1896 and 1963.

 

North Shore Beach, Llandudno, with Llandudno Pier Pavilion Theatre (middle) and the  Baths Hotel (right) in the background

North Shore Beach, Llandudno, with Llandudno Pier Pavilion Theatre (middle) and the Baths Hotel (right) in the background

North Shore Beach.  The Pier Pavilion Theatre burnt down in 1994 and the Beths Hotel was rebuilt as The Grand Hotel in 1900.

North Shore Beach. The Pier Pavilion Theatre burnt down in 1994 and the Baths Hotel was rebuilt as The Grand Hotel in 1902.

'Llandudno on the beach'.  Library of Congress collection of Views of landscape and architecture in Wales c. 1890-1900, photochrom prints (a lithographic process producing colorised images from black and white photographic negatives).

‘Llandudno on the beach’. Library of Congress collection of Views of landscape and architecture in Wales
c. 1890-1900, photochrom prints (a lithographic process producing colorised images from black and white photographic negatives).

The row of three hotels (25-27 North Parade) to the left of the site of the former Pier Pavilion Theatre are the Bryn-y-mor, the Bell Vue Hotel and the Waverley Hotel.  In 1889 the Belle Vue and the Waverley were known as Hyfryd-le and The Olives, respectively.

The Grade II listed row of three hotels (25-27 North Parade) to the left of the site of the former Pier Pavilion Theatre are the Bryn-y-mor, the Belle Vue Hotel and the Waverley Hotel. In 1889 the Belle Vue and the Waverley were known as Hyfryd-le and The Olives, respectively.

Llandudno Pier (Library of Congress collection of Views of landscape and architecture in Wales c. 1890-1900)

Llandudno Pier (Library of Congress collection of Views of landscape and architecture in Wales
c. 1890-1900). The pier opened in 1877, replacing a shorter one completed in 1858. It was designed by architect Charles Henry Driver (1832–1900) and was built by Glasgow iron foundry Walter Macfarlane & Co.

The 286m-long pier is the longest in Wales.

Llandudno Pier. The 700m-long pier is the longest in Wales and is a Grade II* listed structure.

Happy Valley. (Library of Congress collection of Views of landscape and architecture in Wales c. 1890-1900)

Happy Valley (Library of Congress collection of Views of landscape and architecture in Wales c. 1890-1900). The landscaped gardens were developed as a public amenity to celebrate Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. The buildings on the road (middle distance, right) are the Lodge (the tower to the left) and the Toll Office built in 1878 for Marine Drive, the four-mile-long carriage way completed in that year around the Great Orme.

Happy Valley and the Great Orme

Happy Valley and the Great Orme

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19 thoughts on “Now and then V: Llandudno

  1. These are super comparisons. I didn’t know that Happy Valley had been a quarry, but it figures. As you are going up in the cable car before the ski slope there are some holes in the limestone rock face which look like adits. They are pretty much impossible to reach- I’ve tried 🙂

  2. Hi,

    I nominated your wonderful blog of beautiful photographies for the Excellent Blog Award!

    Here are the Award Rules:

    1) The nominee shall display the respective logo on her/his blog and link to the blogger that has nominated her/him.
    2) The nominee shall nominate ten (10) bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about the nomination.

    Greetings ulli

  3. Always interesting to see how little Llandudno has changed. It’s the best-preserved seaside resort in Britain I believe.

  4. Pingback: Bangor Pier (1) | GeoTopoi

  5. Pingback: Llandudno Pier | GeoTopoi

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