Monday, 30 August 2010
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Update: The Forum is now up and running again but the posts appear to be several months out of date. Whether the more recent posts can be retrieved or not is in the hands of Kindways.
Monday, 23 August 2010
Make no mistake, this is a landmark site in the resort of Llandudno and the only site of any size on the Promenade that would be suitable for the mixed use, all-weather leisure development that the town really needs (yes, it does rain in Wales occasionally!). The current owner, the ever elusive David Taylor of Worcester, seems to be dreaming of a 10 storey high apartment block on the site, netting him many millions of pounds profit. Sorry, Mr. Taylor, but it's never going to happen!
Unless Mr. Taylor accepts that residential development will never happen and sells the site to a Leisure Developer, then the only way forward is for CCBC/Welsh Assembly Government to carry out a Compulsory Purchase of the site and then pass it on to a Developer in order to recoup their money. As a Compulsory Purchase is carried out at a 'fair value', the price would reflect its current planning status as a leisure site and not some 'pie in the sky' residential site value. Thus, it would be a viable (not to say attractive) site for developers.
In conclusion, Llandudno would gain the all-weather attraction(s) that it desperately needs, jobs would be created for locals, taxes would be generated. for the Government...best of all, a sixteen year old embarrassment to the town removed once and for all!
Thursday, 12 August 2010
Writing this post reminded me of a story in a local guidebook about the Foresters Arms, namely that it was permanently shut down as a result of being the only Pub in Britain to open on the day of Queen Victoria's funeral in 1901. However, this appears to be nothing more than an 'old wives tale', as it stayed open until 1903.
I also remembered that I had taken a photo of a gravestone in the Churchyard at Gyffin, so I dug that out and it read that Elizabeth Williams, of the Foresters Arms, Gyffin, had died in 1899 at the age of 73. Could the Roberts family have taken over the pub then?
Nowadays, the Foresters Arms is a private house. Have a StreetView look at it if you like by clicking here.
Update - November 2010: Here is the Foresters Arms in 2010. The lady in the 2010 photo is the Grand daughter of the Couple in the 1901 photo:
Monday, 9 August 2010
Professor Codman’s Punch and Judy show has been performed on Llandudno pier since 1860 by the Codman family and to this day, creator Richard Codman’s great great grandson, Jason performs the show daily from March to September. Four generations of Codmans have performed the show to Royalty including Queen Victoria, Queen Alexandra, King Edward VII and the Prince of Wales, who would later become King George V as well as millions of visitors to North Wales."
Some photos (not taken by myself) of the happy event:
Of course, there is a also a video of their big day available:
Let's hope that the happy Couple have many more years of perfect bliss together....
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
Bodlondeb Castle (situated next to the Tram Station on Church Walks) is one of Llandudno's more ornate buildings, being a castellated building built in the Scottish Baronial style. Its interior contains several fine stained glass windows, together with many examples of Italian craftsmanship reflecting the baroque period including a baronial hall, translucent marble pillars and a magnificent staircase together with gothic masonry.
Work started on its construction in 1898 (the site formerly housed the Victoria Gardens) but the story behind its construction is somewhat unusual....
In 1897 , a very wealthy guest at the St. George's Hotel (who wished to remain anonymous) was so taken with the delights of Llandudno that he instructed the Hotel's Manager, Mr. Thomas Davies, to build a residence for him in the town. The guest's only wish was that the finest materials be used in its construction. Mr. Davies was happy to comply with this and, besides engaging the local builders, Jones & Son, also arranged for Italian craftsmen to come over to work on the decorative elements such as the marble columns in the main hallway. The stained glass windows in the main rooms represented the coats of arms of the heads of the fifteen tribes of North Wales.
Main Hallway & Lounge after Restoration in 2006 (Photo Credit)
Mr. Davies was very pleased with the standard of the construction and felt that his client would be too. The day came when the wealthy client returned to Llandudno to view his new residence. The client viewed the exterior of the property, then looked around and asked 'where is the land?' Upon being told that there was no land associated with the property other than a very small garden, he declared that he was no longer interested, turned around and left, never to return!
Local rumour once had it that the wealthy guest was none other than Edward the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII).
The property then remained in the Davies family until 1931, when they sold it to the Methodist Holiday Homes Ltd, who opened it as a Methodist hotel and it remained as such for many years. The Chapel building (now cottages) at the rear of the Bodlondeb Castle, Caer Salem, closed in 1934 and was purchased by the Methodist Holiday Homes to form an annexe to the hotel. During World War II, around 30-40 Civil Servants were billeted in the hotel, although it also managed to remain open for guests. In 1954, a set of modern garages were built and a Games Room was added above the garages in 1967.
Sadly, business began to decline sharply during the early years of the 21st century, with the occupancy rate for the 20 bedrooms falling to 32%. It closed in 2005 after being on the market with a firm of specialist commercial agents for 18 months, but no firm offers approaching the £650,000 asking price were received. It was purchased by Norwest Developments/Beck Homes, who announced plans to restore the building and convert it into 8 luxury apartments. Work started in late 2005 and great care was taken to restore the original features of the building, whilst removing later additions, such as the garages and games room.
Renovation work begins - June 2005 (Photo Credit)
Work on the renovation/conversion was complete by Summer 2006 and the first residents began to move in. I imagine they were somewhat happier with their new residence than that original wealthy hotel guest who refused point blank to accept his new home...
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