13 February 2016
Villa Marina, for a time also known as Condover House, is a Grade II* listed building in Craigside on Llandudno’s North Shore Beach. The house was designed by Birmingham architect Harold “Harry” William Weedon (1887-1970) for his friend Birmingham cake millionaire John Henry “Harry” Scribbans (1877-1935). Completed around 1936 for £30,000, the house was designed in International Modern style and has an ocean-liner theme with its balconies with ships’ rails and its large rectangular chimneys evoking ships’ funnels. The property has since been a hotel and also a holiday rest home. It was renovated in 2008, sold in 2012 for around £650,000 and is now privately owned.
Weedon’s practice, which he had originally founded in 1912, was in the 1930s appointed by Birmingham entrepreneur Oscar Deutsch (1893-1941) to oversee the Art Deco designs of his Odeon chain of cinemas. It was in this period that Weedon’s practice was commissioned for Villa Marina, which he himself designed. Following World War II, the Weedon Partnership, as it had become, concentrated on designs for industrial facilities and from the 1950s was responsible for all major redevelopments at the then British Motor Corporation’s Longbridge plant. The practice is today known as Weedon Architects.
Harry Scribbans of Scribbans-Kemp Bakeries, which was acquired by Lyons in 1968, started out as a baker’s boy and ended up leaving an estate of £2.5 million. He owned the 18th-century Little Aston Hall in Staffordshire and with his wife Ada (c1881-1953) used to go to Llandudno on holiday. Villa Marina was to be their new holiday home, but he died before it was completed. Ada, however, disliked the house and sold the property for a mere £5,000 – a fraction of its cost – at a dinner party in Llandudno’s St George’s Hotel to a Uttoxeter concrete manufacturer. In 1945 Ada married Lieutenant Colonel Thomas South of Llandudno, whom she had met through golf, in the process renouncing her inheritance – Scribbans’ will provided her with the interest on £1 million, provided she remained a widow.