Sunday, 25 April 2010

Paving the way....

Penrhyn Road, Colwyn Bay

I was pleased to see that the ongoing refurbishment of Penrhyn Road in Colwyn Bay appears to be a lot more successful than the previous attempts in both Sea View Road and Station Road. Although the same grey paving has been used, it has been limited just to the pavement areas (with the road area being resurfaced in tarmac) and the smaller area of usage looks far more acceptable. There also appears to be far more in the way of tree planting planned. Of course, the main advantage over the Station Road scheme is that traffic will continue to be able to use Penrhyn Road, creating a far busier environment - if only the planners had listened to local people/traders and reopened Station Road to limited traffic with parking down one side, it would have been far better.

Speaking of Station Road, the paving used there seems to getting very dirty already, any liquids spilt seems to stain large areas of the paving. After only a few months, it is starting to look rather tatty, sadly.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

A Slight Change...

Eagle eyed readers will have noticed that the name of the blog has changed to...

The Three Towns Blog recognition of the fact that I now witter on about Conwy a lot, in addition to the usual mutterings about Llandudno & Colwyn Bay. All of the URLs remain the same however, to avoid any dead links etc. Bribes, Gifts & Death Threats to the usual email address though, please:

I thank you!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Fabulous new Conwy attraction

Yes, I know, another post about Conwy...what can I say, I like the place. might have seen this piece in the local paper......

Fabulous new Conwy attraction!

Tourists are flocking to the new Conwy Quay visitor attraction

Visitors to Conwy's Quay area were today stunned to see the new tourist attraction provided by Conwy County Borough Council. The former row of maritime themed buildings, shops & aquarium have been swept away, to be replaced by the very latest in visitor entertainment - some wooden posts surrounded by several tones of crushed slate. Regular visitor, Alf Trippleton from Yorkshire, commented "By Gum, your council have really rolled the boat out here, haven't they? Happen there's not many World Heritage Sites that could boast an attraction like that. Puts the Taj Mahal to shame, it does." The new look Quay is the result of 27 Consultants Reports, 5 Public Consultations and 15 applications for EU Grant Funding. A spokeswoman for Conwy Council commented "We are confident that the new look Conwy Quay will do nothing whatsoever to create any jobs or wealth for the town of Conwy".

Friday, 16 April 2010

The Black Lion, Conwy

The Black Lion, Castle Street, Conwy (Photo Credit)

One of my favourite buildings in Conwy is the Black Lion (Y Llew Du), built in 1589 by John Brickdall, Vicar of Conwy (1569-1607); his initials and those of his wife appear over the door together with the date 1589 (they were married on the 10th May 1589). Brickdall's father was the Constable of Conwy Castle at the time of construction and later died of the plague.

The building was turned into the Black Lion Inn in the 1700s; a usage that continued for over 200 years (it was also the venue for the popular Monday morning Pig Market) until the 15th March 1935, when falling trade made it unviable. It then had a variety of uses, including tearooms and an antique bookshop, until it became empty in the 1990s when its condition deteriorated sharply due to dry rot. The exterior was renovated a few years back and it was then sold but no work appears to have been carried out since the sale - I believe the interior is just a shell. I just wish somebody would renovate it and bring it back into use- its a lovely old building, full of character, and in a prime spot on Castle Street.

A local artist, Jean Morgan Roberts, was born in the Black Lion and, in her book 'The Character of Conwy'*, she says "I grew up in the wonderful old atmosphere of the house with its secret passages, a cellar reputed to have an escape tunnel that led to the quay, a well, stables, stone steps to the town walls, a tower, Elizabethan fireplaces and a beautiful walled garden." You can visit her website here.

A local guidebook** states that the building has two ghosts; one being an elderly gentleman who often sits beside the large fireplace in what was once the pub's parlour (see interior photo below), smiling to himself and nodding benignly. A former proprietor stated that 'he's a nice old fellow and we've got used to him and take his appearances for granted'.

The other ghost is quite the opposite, described as being a 'tall person in a cloak', bringing with him a 'feeling of malevolence' as he haunts the upper floor of the building. A former employee stated that 'he's a real fierce character...he has rocked the bed, frightening many a sleeping person, striking terror in the dead of night". Fortunately, the second ghost is very rarely seen!

Black Lion Inn in 1935

Black Lion Antiques Shop & Tearooms in 1950s

Interior as Antique Shop & Tearooms in 1950s

Interior Plan (1939)

Rear of the Black Lion

The Black Lion or Y Llew Du is a later C16 house built by John Brickdall, Vicar of Conwy (1569-1607); his initials and those of his wife appear over the door together with the date 1589. Later in use as Black Lion Inn. Two storeys. Slate roof with massive square central chimney and second chimney to right. Walls of stone, with front wall of whitewashed pebbledash cladding with stuccoed plinth. Ledged central door in heavy frame. Two two-storey flanking rectangular gabled bays. Sash windows with horns (RAJ 10/7/03; based on CADW listing description).

Black Lion Inn - Landlords:
Edward Williams (1850s)

* - 'The Character of Conwy' by Jean Morgan Roberts. Available to purchase from her shop at 14b Castle Street, Conwy.

** - 'The Ghosts of Conwy' by Margaret Williams. Available to purchase from the 'Smallest House' on the Quay in Conwy.

See the Black Lion on Google Streetview

Saturday, 10 April 2010


Spent a very pleasant few hours in Conwy this afternoon, lovely day and lots of visitors about. I was even more pleased to see that, finally, the old Fruit N Fibre shop by the Square is being renovated - it has been a derelict wreck for 20 years, if not longer? Now please get on with tackling the 'bombsite' that Stange & Co own on the Square, oh and the Cockpit that is now almost completely derelict and, here's an idea, how about putting something on the cleared area of the Quay that actually generates some jobs and money for the town, instead of leaving it bare?

Friday, 9 April 2010

Prom Day Not Cancelled Due To Storm Damage!!

Great news in the North Wales Weekly News this week:

"Colwyn Bay's PROM day is still set to go-ahead despite hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage to the promenade sustained in storms which ravaged the coast.

Lashing winds caused 40ft waves to crash against Colwyn Bay and Rhos-on-Sea’s coastline ripping metal railings from the promenade and crushing the concrete road, cycle path and walkway.

But despite the damage caused by the weather raising fears the annual May Day celebrations were set to be cancelled, the fun-day is still penned in on Monday, May 3."

Yep, that's excellent news...except the section of the Promenade on which the Prom Day takes place (from the Cayley in Rhos along to Marine Road) suffered no damage to the railings or tarmac whatsoever, and so there was no possibility really that the Prom Day would have to be cancelled!

Still, good news is good news...I suppose?

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Time To Tee Off!

Great Orme Family Golf website

A friend of mine has taken over the 9 hole Pitch & Putt Golf Course at Llwynon Road, Great Orme, Llandudno and I thought I would give his opening a little boost by mentioning it on here. He's open daily (weather permitting) from 10am until dusk, April - September. Pop along and have a go, it's great fun!

All the details are on the website here:

Friday, 2 April 2010

Storm Damage at Colwyn Bay

I thought I would have a stroll along the Prom at Colwyn Bay today to see the full extent of the storm damage. The power of nature is certainly impressive, with 30 foot sections of railings flattened, sturdy stone walls completely demolished and even a signpost pushed over down to the ground by the power of the waves. What was somewhat ironic was that the supposedly unsafe Colwyn Bay Pier survived the storm almost intact, whilst all around was a scene of devastation!

As you'd expect, I got you a few photos:

Mangled railings on Colwyn Bay promenade (Photo Credit)

Stone wall and footpath completely destroyed (Photo Credit)

30 foot section of railings completely flattened (Photo Credit)

Signpost pushed down to the ground (Photo Credit)

The Pier weathered the storm better than the Promenade (Photo Credit)

Two large sections were gouged out of the Promenade here (Photo Credit)

Thursday, 1 April 2010

High Tide - Llandudno

31st March saw one of the biggest high tides for a while at Llandudno as, backed by a strong Northerly wind, the Promenade and Pier were both pounded by massive waves for several hours. Fortunately, no properties were flooded or damaged but several hundred tons of shingle were deposited on the Promenade and the Pier suffered slight damage to a handrail.

I braved the extremely cold gale force conditions to grab a few pics:

Spray from the waves breaks over the Cable Car Station (Photo Credit)

Side entrance to Llandudno Pier gets a battering (Photo Credit)

Waves were hitting the underside of the Pier (Photo Credit)

Looking across to the Pier and Great Orme (Photo Credit)

Excavator heads for higher ground! (Photo Credit)

Pier Toll house gets overwhelmed by the waves (Photo Credit)

Aftermath - several hundred tons of pebbles on the Prom! (Photo Credit)

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