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i SOME NOTES ON LOCAL HISTORY. BY MIR. A. G. PLGH, It is said that happy is the country that has no history, and applying this saying locally we may perhaps fairly say that our town is a happy place. At all events we may use the term in a comparative sense for a history that goes no further back than 60 years ago has little to boast about. True it is, and it has often been repeated that when Llandudno first became known to outsiders it was merely a mining and fishing village; the houses were nearly all built on the side or the top of the Great Orme, and there was the Parish Church, and there it now stands. The principal street was the narrow lane called Cwlach Street, which run along1 the upper side of Church Wales. Many of the buildings are gradually disappointed, and as I write one of the oldest houses "The Ship Inn," in Church Walks, is being demolished to make way for a modern building. Half a century ago or more the communication with the great world outside was of a. primitive nature, no post office nearer than Conway; it was indeed a case of addressing letters "-Nea.r Conway." Goods had to be carted by a Conway carrier two or three times a week, being sometimes brought by sea, to Conway. As to the roads the routes ran somewhere along the beach up Xamv- gamar Road and past Tanybryn and Fferm to Llanrhcs and thence to Conway, Whilst a rougher road is said to have gone along Conway Shore past the Black Rocks towards Deganwy. The population of the village consisted chiefly of miners working at the Copper Mines on the t Oram's Head, and the shops were two or th ree only, one near the present Empire Hotel, or really forming part of it, and one close by in a row of little houses at the back of the Empire. There were and are still a few little cottages then inhabited by miners on the Conway Shore, near the present Gogarth Abbey Hotel. Almost at back of Mr Wilson's house, "Eithiniog,' a farmhouse stood. Now only ruins re- main. This was called "Ty Draw," and here the chief supply of milk and butter was had for the village. As to the supply of water this was also obtained from a well near Miss Barker's, Plas Gogarth Gardens, Church Walks. Just at the back, under the Invalid's Walk, there are a number of old houses which then had a good supply of fruit trees, and there was also a shop where a house called West End now stands. Of course at this time there was no road now known as Church Walks, and the first -house,s built opposite St. George's Church were approaching by a footpath running through pleasant fields and through the Churchyard. When eventually Church Walks came to be laid out the owners of land there were compensated by an ex- change for other land in another part of the village. It is a. pity to see old landmarks dis- appearing. One of the the last to go was the quaint old house in Church Walks, enclosed in a fair-sized garden, opposite the Royal Hotel, and called Plas Ma doc, for many years the residence of one of our oldest inhabitants. This you are aware was, pulled down and new houses built there some five or six years ago. Plas Madoc was the business place v connected with the Great Orme Mines, where the men were paid their dues each quarter, and where arrangements were made for carrying on the concern from quarter to quarter. Of course you, are all familiar with the shafts on top of the Great Orme —eyesores as they must be to visitors— but perhap it is not so generally known that the shafts ran down to the level of the sea and below that, and also that at Penmorfa on the Conway Shore the tun- nel driven into the mountain is half a mile long, and it is said took about nine years to complete. I believe that there were 150 to 200 men employed at the three mines, The Oid, The New, and Tygwyn. This gives an idea of the primitive methods of engineering- which were then in vogue Another landmark has gone. I refer to the Old1 Telegraph Station on the Orme Summit, belonging originally to the Mersey Dock Board. Signals were used Lere for communications from Point Lynas. Afc the extreme point of Anglesea, whence via, Puffin Island, where the re- gains of another signalling station still 1tand.. The Old Telegraph Inn has gone, and now lot even remains the semi-circle window, where the light fllsheda welcome to pass- ng vessels, and which later occupied the legenerate position of golf house or golf •lub store house. Who can .say that the ievelopmento of recent times have become improvements," when we view the poilation of the grand old headland by he modern builder and engineer and "°culator? -11 is often said that the number of hapels and public-houses in Welsh vil- ages are generally about equal; this is ,erhaps an exaggeration, at all events in r own case, for we find that there were ly three or four public-houses in the 'ly days, oae being called the Hotel, ais the King's Head, has been rebuilt out f all recognition, it is situate close to the Vreat Chme. Tram Station in old Road. 'here was 3,180' "The Victoria" Inn, also jcently pulled, down, the site now occu- ied bv the Tram Station itself. The first services for English visitors re held in the building, known as Caer. em Mission Room, nearly orvoosite the yal Hotel. Compare this with the .pels now in existence here. )ther old houses which have gone never return are the "Cambria Inn," now the ^stminster," opposite "Prince of .les" Hotel. rith Cottage," with atched roof on the field near Washing- n Hotel, taken down about 10 years o. Have you ever noticed that these d places had their backs turned as a le to the Dorta. and west, instances of ch position are "Cwm Howard" farm d "Maesdelu fa-m," and a cottage called "Dclal," in the field near the Golf Links. No doubt the builders thought more of protecting themselves from gales and 0 storms than any question of view, for it must be admitted that the view looking towards the hills and the sea are the most worthy of note. This is a question often asked, "Why was Llandudno built to face the north instead of the west, with its glorious panarama of Carnarvonshire mountains But I find myself wander- ing from old subjects to new. As I stated, from the commercial point of view, old Llandudno was for a long time de- pendent on a, very few shops, there was one in particular near the present Tram Station called Bron Wendon, now in Mr Moy's occupation, which must have been a veritable ''miniature Whiteley." Drugs clothing, grocery, ironmongery, and everything which could be required by the villagers; doses of the most potent medicine were kept ready, for the nearest doctor resided at Conway. In fact, Con- way town was the business place for the whole district, and there was a bank open actually twice a week. I wonder how many people living in that eminently aristocratic neighbourhood, Church Walks, are aware that some of the houses there are built on the sites of old shafts and old reservoirs connected with the mines. Could they realise the depth to which they might be plunged upon some earthquake or similar happening it might disturb their placid sleep! What is a "'Mansion?" I have heard it described as a, house with a. back or servants' staircase. Whether this be right or not, it is said that the first Mansion in the town was "Bodhyfryd," a, nice little house enclosed by garden walls at back of the Congregational Church, and between it and Clarence Hotel. Close in Bod- hyfryd Road a house was put up with a bay window. Think of it the first bay window in the village^ what a theme for wonder and envy., In these days of compulsory education t is difficult, to imagine what the children of 60 years ago had to exist upon in that direction. The British School Society were the first to introduce teaching here in the various Chapels, and later on the National School was built in Church Walks. Closely connected-with education now is the question of rates and rateable value, but at that time there was no con- nection whatever, and it will be under- stood when the total rate levied for the whole parish amounted to less than C25. Our District and County Councillors now- Lors adays would make short work of such a stupendous figure as that. And now having this cursory manner glanced at the ancient, history, we come to more modern times, partly perhaps within the recollection of my readers, the making of modern Llandudno. I might oc almost calling it the construction of the Promenade, the building of all the Ter- n races and Crescents on the front; the erection of Trinity Church, the Pier' and later on the Pavilion; the making of new streets, in short the sudden growth of the town and emerging from chrysalis to butterfly. This all took place in the course of some 25 years with startling rapidity, and necessarily the population of the town increased by quick stages until it reached a respectable total, which unfortunately it has not much improved upon of recent years. It would seem that the years from 1870 to 1895 or 1896 were the most prolific in our local annals as since this the rate of progress has been much slower, if surer. The old days when Matthew Arnold, the Poet, and" Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonder- land, John Bright, and many another famous man made Llandudno their happy holiday ground, have gone never to re- turn; the rural beauties of the Great Orme have been reduced and vulgarised, the Marine Drive has spoiled one of the most charming footpaths and rambling ground in the Principality, and many of us sigh for a touch of the vanished hand and a sound of the voice that is still. Undoubtedy the modern town as we now know it has in many ways been laid out in a providential manner. I use the word in its literal meaning, for we are indebted to the sense of "looking forward" in our ancestors, which has provided a pro- menade second to none in the Kino-dom. I mention this matter, as I -beli-evethere was a scheme in the early days for the railway to be carried right up to North Parade and probably near to the Happy Valley. Indeed I have seen a print showing the railway lines laid up to the .corner of CJhurch Walks. This gives colour to the understanding, that the first pier built was the work of the Railway Company, and it is very likely that the Company had views for making Llan- dudno a small port. "Needless to say, ha,d this been carried out there would have been an end to any idea, of, fostering the town as a health resort, and in all probability its character would have been entirely changed.. Here we come to the debateable ground which is worthy of consideration. How far is it justifiable for owners of land to allow its spoliation for the sake of gain, spoiling its natural features and doing irreparable injury to the neighbourhood from a natural point of view. While at the same time, per- haps it must not be forgotten, giving em- ployment to hundreds of men, whose wages are circulated in the place. No e doubt you all know of such places not far away, where the quarrying processes have been entirely successful, but the moun- tain sides are all cut and scarred, and the "best inhabitants" and visitors have fled to other resorts. This is a lesson which none of us living here can afford to for- get. In my opinion the evil of quarrying, for instance, should be at least minimised and reduced within reasonable limits, and the owners or lessees should be compelled to do all in their power to cover up the depredations by planting trees or shrubs of ivy. Another eyesore which we suffer from is the remains of brickworks, what more desolate object than a lot of disused brick kilns with the roof half tumbled down and pools of water hanging round the other dilapidated buildings. Here again is room for improvement; the local authority ought to have power to get these derelicts levelled to the, ground and the land made available for pasture or agri- cultural or building purposes. I Whilst I apologise for the very disjoint- ed manner in which I have put this paper together, I must ask you to remember that it by no means aspires to do more than refer to certain points and events which have suggested themselves in the course of its hurried preparation. To come to more recent times, for instance the build- ing of the present pier, must always be looked upon as an epoch fraught with great possibilities, which has happily turned up trumps, and yet such are the vicissitudes of undertakings and specula- tions that I can remember the time when the Company hardly knew where to turn for means of carrying it on, and would almost have given it away for an "old song"; this was just about the time when the Pavilion was built and the roof blown off during a terrific gale. What a golden opportunity the town last at that crisis, for within a few years the tide had turn- ed and taken at the flood had led on to the present fortune. Which had the town authorities been wide awake enough and in a position to purchase the concern would have probably been the means of re- ducing our rates. in this A.D. 1908 by about 50 per cent. Alas for the ill-luck or want of luck or absence of prescience which prevented the carrying out of a scheme for Durchase by the town which the lucky shareholders are now reaping the benefit of. I believe that the Pier Company is one of the most if not the most successful of the kind in the King- dom, and the question is often asked what does the Company do for the benefit of the town during the off season and winter months, which they might easily do. The Passenger .Steamers from Liverpool have undoubtedly served to bring our town into notice. They came here, as no doubt you are aware long before, there was ,any landing stage. Two Inns or Hotels, the Cambria, and the Prince Wales, were named after two of the steamers, and in addition a number of cargo boats traded regularly and un- loaded on the shore; indeed it is only a, few years ago since the last was seen here unloading flour or corn, to the order I think, of the late Mr Dunphy, one of our most enterprising tradesmen. How far the passenger traffic has actually bene- fitted us, it is again a matter for debate for the daily tripper and undesirable un- washed have come and will continue to' come in their thousands, tending to alienate the better class of residents and visitors, whom we. certainly can ill afford to lose. I suppose the real paint. is, for whom does Llandudno cater, the masses or the classes,? It is not likely that the Railway Company will do otherwise than issue as many tickets as possible in order to get a return for the tremendous outlay of capital along this Coast, facilities for transit .are exceptionally good compared with the primitive times when the car- riages were pulled along to andi from, the Junction by horses, and yet would it not be delightful to go back to those times when there was no rush or hurry, no plate glass window, no electric, light,, and no School Board rates, when grapes were 5s. a pound and marmalade, Is. 6d. a jar. When the Warren and the beautiful sand- hills, now railed off for exclusive golfers, was a paradise of flowers and the haunt, of happy children. The other side of the picture must in fairness be put forward for the compensation .are not to be despised, which the last 30 years have brought. Material advancement is shown in a hun- dred. and one ways; better and more sanitary dwellings; better water supply, new shops, and hotels, hydros all combine to make life more worth living for the general community. There is one particular point to which I should like to draw attention in respect to the general aspect of the town at this time. What make it, distinguished to a great extent from others to its advantage, or its disadvantage. No doubt the original methods of laying out the streets were carefully thought out, but do they not suffer from the cast-iron like plan, the rectangular system, the absence of curves and the general straight- forwardness, and this accounts for the over-ventilation which is so disagreeable, the high westerly winds have too much field for play, and have practically noth- ing to prevent their sweeping the whole town. Does not this act detrimentally and give cause for complaint; how easily this might have been lessened by breaking up certain streets so as to form a screen. Again, the builder of the past have fallen n into the mistake of packing the houses too close together, not giving half enough space at the sides and at the back, too many rows and too many little gardens. What is the result. The culture of flowers is almost an unknown art, and the garden lover here is rara avis. All praise must be given to the District Council for their efforts to improve the growth of trees and shrubs, but it will be a long time before the apathy of their predecessors can be atoned for. Of course it if., difficult to know1 what can be done before you try as an instance look at the "West Bay" or Conway Shore, do you remember the first house being built there and! the incredulous greeting it received. This, however, has stood the test of wind and storm after a lonely existence for many years, and has become the pioneer of a considerable little colony. In this immediate neighbourhood the houses have nearly all sprung up in my recollection; not so long ago there were fine sandhills in front of Mr Winter's shop, and the little house called: "Gorse- field," in Mostyn Avenue, amongst the gorse bushes, was rightly named. We, ioxe here again suffering from the want of a "scientific frontier" to use a well- remembered term of Lord Beaconsfield's, ■for were more land attached to each house, ■ sufficient for a good garden, we could J more legitimately claim to be a suburban retreat rather thana portion of the town I itself. Competitive resorts are pressing us closely, and in this matter we are cer- tainly dopping behind the times. I thought once of having; this rambling paper cut up under three heads — 1. Llandudno as it was. 2. Llandudno as it is. 3. Llandudno as it will be. But the difficulties of prophecy loomed too great, for as John Bright once said, "Never prophesy unless you know." How- ever, if I may, in conclusion, I would like to put down a few more remarks as to what our town is lacking in and which in my opinion (should be provided during the next few years. In the material direc- tion we could do with much better roads leading to the town, and an. avoidance of the steep and danegrous hills, more foot- paths and walks of a public nature, where the notice to tresspassers would not be seen so often. We want a greater con- sideration for the invalid and infirm by means of a covered and completely pro- tected promenade in .some sheltered spot, such as the Happy Valley, where the boisterous and cold winds would be effectually nullified. Day trippers as y I they are inevitable must be catered for by more indoor amusements to their lik- ing, it is pitiable to see them on wet days. It ought to be possible for our streets to be kept in a cleaner condition, more especiially on Sundays, alio: it is an extra- ordinary thing how the proverb that "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" finds so little application in the minds of some peo- ple. Why is it that we boast of leading the County in some things and yet in this particular matter of cleaning streets early on Sunday mornings the ancient town of Carnarvon can show us the way to do it. What is your opinion about this? I know what visitors say about it. If I continued there are no doubt hosts of wanteds which could be specified. What has been the plague spot and the curse of the town during the last decade, and has driven away many people who would otherwise have content. as residents to the end of their lives. I think the telling remarks at St. Paul's Church a few months ago was not far from touching the spot, though perhap rather infelicitiously expressed; is not 'snobbish- ness, cliquisim, a. superior feeling of being better than some one else and a want of sympathetic feelingamongst lifelong neigh- bours, which is at the root andi which re- quires to be eradicated before we can lay claim to being called a sociable place to live in. Depend upon it there is some- thing in this notion, and signs are to be noticed that before long this will be remedied.





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