Colour Run, Llandudno

Colour Run, Llandudno

Colour Run, Llandudno

Date

15 May 2016

Location

West Shore Beach, Llandudno
SH 77016 82086; 53.32135°N, 3.84780°W

Information

The Colour Run in aid of St David’s Hospice was held on West Shore Beach in Llandudno with more than 1,000 people taking part. This was one of two such events organised by the charity in 2016, the other one having taken place earlier in Pwllheli. The first ever colour run was held in 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona and the concept has since grown internationally with a for-profit company franchising events which are often organised in conjunction with charities. With a focus on fun, the 5k run is an untimed race in which participants are showered with coloured powders at kilometre stations along the route. The idea drew inspiration from the Hindu Holi festival.

Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, is a major event in India and is held on the day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna (February/March). The festival commemorates events in Hindu mythology and is also a celebration of the arrival of spring. Social conventions are relaxed in the merrymaking which traditionally involves the consumption of food and drink containing bhang, an intoxicating cannabis-based ingredient. On the eve of Holi large bonfires are attended and on the day itself people gather together to cover each other with coloured water and powders.

Further Reading

St David’s Hospice

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Villa Marina, Llandudno

Villa Marina with the Little Orme in the background

Villa Marina with the Little Orme in the background

Date

13 February 2016

Location

Colwyn Road, Craigside, Llandudno
SH 80573 82225; 53.32342°N, 3.79449°W

Information

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.

Further Reading

Condover House (formerly Villa Marina), Llandudno (British Listed Buildings)

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Llandudno Pier

Llandudno Pier

Llandudno Pier

Date

15 March 2015
Location

Llandudno

SH 78557 83183; 53.33156°N, 3.82509°W

Information

Llandudno’s first pier – a 74m timber-built industrial jetty – was completed in 1858. It was, however, badly damaged in the 1859 ‘Royal Charter’ storm and was later superseded by the current Victorian pleasure pier built by the Llandudno Pier Company, established in 1875. The pleasure pier was designed by architect Charles Henry Driver (1832-1900) and civil engineers James William Brunlees (1816-1892), who served as President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1883, and Alexander McKerrow (1837-1920).

With a wooden planked deck and steel superstructure supported by cast-iron piles, the pier was fabricated by Glasgow iron foundry Walter Macfarlane & Co and was completed in two stages. The first, 376m in length, with its entrance at the stone lodge on Happy Valley Road, opened in 1877. An extension spur, running parallel to the shore by the Baths Hotel, which was rebuilt and re-opened as the Grand Hotel in 1902, was added in 1884. This provided a second entrance to the pier from The Parade.

The iron-and-glass Pier Pavilion, which burned down in 1994, was built close to the second pier entrance next to the Baths Hotel and was completed in 1886. A small orchestra, formed when the pier first opened, originally performed at a bandstand at the pier head but later took up residence in the Pier Pavilion.

A deep-water landing stage was added at the pier head in 1891 allowing steam ships to dock there. In addition to local pleasure cruises, services also ran from the pier to Liverpool and the Isle of Man. The landing stage was rebuilt in concrete and steel in 1969 and was eventually closed on safety grounds owing to its deteriorating condition in 2005. In June 2012, however, it was announced that more than £330,000 was being invested in a new landing stage to allow cruise ships to return to the town. £200,000 of the funding was awarded from the tourism fund set up by the owners of Gwynt y Mor offshore wind farm.

On 12 March 2015, Cuerden Leisure, the pier’s current owner, announced that it was selling the pier together with Blackpool’s South and Central piers with a collective asking price of £12.6 million, the individual guide price for Llandudno Pier being £4.5 million.

Llandudno Pier is a Grade II* listed structure and with an overall length of 700m is the longest pier in Wales.

Further Reading

Now and Then V: Llandudno

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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.

 

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Views from the Colonnade

View from the Colonnade

View from the Colonnade

Date

9 November 2014
Location

The Colonnade, Alex Munro Way, Llandudno

SH 78301 82909; 53.32905°N, 3.82884°W

Information

The road leading from Llandudno’s Grand Hotel to Happy Valley park was named Alex Munro Way in March 2014 in honour of the Glaswegian variety entertainer who settled in the town. Munro (1911-1986) was creative director of the Llandudno Pier Pavilion Theatre in the 1970s and his show at the former open-air theatre in Happy Valley ran for 30 years.

The 170m-long colonnaded walkway provides a sheltered pedestrian route along Alex Munro Way and also has an upper-level footpath along its roof. The Grade II listed structure was designed by G A Humphreys, architect, surveyor and chief agent of the Mostyn Estates, and was opened in 1932.

 

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Bodafon Farm Park

Highland Cattle

Highland Cattle

Date

3 August 2014
Location

Craig-y-Don, Llandudno

SH 80408 81695; 53.31861°N, 3.79676°W

Information

The farm at Bodafon was leased by Evan Jones from the Mostyn estate in 1876. Jones gentrified the original, 18th century farmhouse, which became Bodafon Hall, and converted part of the main block of farm buildings to the north and below the Hall into a new farmhouse. By the 1980s Bodafon Hall Farm was still being run by the same family and the dairy farm had a herd of 70 British Friesians. In 1993 local farmer Mark Roberts rented the farm from Mostyn Estates. As this was a difficult time for the farming industry, Roberts decided to convert it into a children’s farm park and in 1998 Bodafon Farm Park opened to the public. In 1999 the North Wales Bird Trust, which participates in an owl breeding programme, also joined the park. As well as the usual farm animals, the park is also home to llamas and red and fallow deer, and its restaurant is also used as a venue for evening functions.

Bodafon Fields is graded as high-quality agricultural land. In spite of this, however, and in the face of strong local opposition, the owners, Mostyn Estates, have admitted wanting to sell off part of the farm land for residential development. In 2011 a plot ‘suitable for 65 houses’ was included by Conwy County Council in its draft Local Development Plan.

Further Reading

Bodafon Farm Park

 

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Mostyn

Cast-iron verandah

Cast-iron verandah

Date

16 March 2014
Location

Vaughan Street, Llandudno

SH 78537 82048; 53.321378, -3.824968

Information

Designed by architect G A Humphreys, the Mostyn Art Gallery opened in 1901 as a public gallery funded by Lady Augusta Mostyn to exhibit works by female artists. The gallery closed twelve years later and the building was subsequently put to a variety of uses until eventually reopening as an art gallery, Oriel Mostyn, in 1979. Now branded simply as ‘Mostyn’, the gallery of contemporary art underwent a three-year programme of renovation and extension which was completed in 2010.

Further Reading

Mostyn (official site);
Oriel Mostyn art gallery (HistoryPoints);
Mostyn (LustreBox)

 

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Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza I

Traction engine

Traction engine

Date

6 May 2013
Location

Llandudno, Conwy County Borough

SH 78383 82247; 53.32312°N, 3.82735°W

Information

Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza is an annual three-day event held in the main street of the town over the May Bank Holiday weekend. Originally conceived and organised by the town council in 1986 as a means of boosting tourism, the event was later taken over by a volunteer-run company. In its early days, this Victorian-themed carnival featured traditional entertainments with many people wearing period costume. Over the years, however, the emphasis has shifted, with much of funding for the event now coming from modern funfair attraction operators. The Extravaganza is held in conjunction with the Llandudno Transport Festival, whose venue is the nearby Bodafon Fields in Craig y Don.

Victorian Extravaganza (Official Site)

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Great Orme Visitor Centre

Statue of a Great Orme Kashmir Goat

Date

24 October 2011
Location

Great Orme, Llandudno

SH 76603 83320; 53.33234°N, 3.85447°W

Information

The Great Orme Tramway is the UK’s only cable-hauled tramway running on public roads. Plans for the tramway were agreed in 1898 and construction began in 1901, with a full service open to the public from 1903.

The tramway runs from Victoria Station in Church Walks, Llandudno to the Summit Complex on the Great Orme. It is a funicular system, in which the cars are permanently attached to the cable, and comprises two independent sections which meet at Halfway Station, where passengers must transfer between cars.

The Great Orme’s Head lighthouse

The Great Orme’s Head lighthouse came into use at the end of 1862. It was designed and built by Mr G F Lyster. Its light was 325 feet above sea level, higher than any other light in Wales.

The Lighthouse light

The original light was a paraffin wick lamp. In 1904 the system was modified to use vaporised petroleum mantle burners. These were modified in turn in 1923 to use dissolved acetylene rather than petroleum. The system was electrified in 1965.

The Lighthouse today

In 1985 the building stopped being a working lighthouse and was sold at auction. It is now a bed and breakfast establishment.

 — Visitor Centre information panel

Great Orme’s Head; Great Orme; Great Orme Tramway; Great Orme Tramway (Wikipedia)

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Bodysgallen Hall

Bodysgallen Hall

Date

27 November 2010
Location

Llanrhos, Conwy

SH 80040 79131; 53.29550°N, 3.80131°W

Further Information

Bodysgallen Hall was restored as a luxury hotel and spa by Historic House Hotels who donated the property to the National Trust in 2008. It is a grade 1 listed building and the majority of the manor house dates back to the 17th century. Previous owners of Bodysgallen have included the Mostyn and Wynn families.

Bodysgallen Hall & Spa; Bodysgallen Hall (Wikipedia)