Llandudno is a small town on the Welsh seaside, famed as the British Naples.
In the 19th-early 20th centuries it was a popular watering resort, and the
magnificent Parade now reminds us of that time.
The history of Llandudno is rich enough to combine several important periods. The
Great Orme hides the prehistoric origins of the town: the Bronze Age Copper
Mines is one of the main visitor attractions. However, Llandudno actually means
‘parish of Tudno’ or ‘church of Tudno’, and it refers to St Tudno, a Welsh
Christian missionary who indeed founded a church here in the 6th century.
Llandudno was conceived and developed into a watering resort in the 1840’s, and
among of the town's patrons were Benjamin Disraeli, Otto von Bismark, and the
Queen of Roumania who wrote under the pen name of Carmen Sylva that is now
commemorated in one of the street names of Llandudno.
The Architecture of Llandudno
“Llandudno is a place of superlatives. Not just Wales’ pre-eminent Victorian
seaside resort, nor just its pre-eminent planned town, it is a nineteenth
century watering place of European ambition, and results from a single idea
being pursued by its owners (the Mostyn family of Gloddaeth) and authorities
for three generations. The bay between the limestone headlands of the Great
Orme and Little Orme has natural splendours comparable with Mediterranean
resorts like Menton or Palermo, and enjoys a sunny micro-climate despite
facing North. Llandudno stands as a model of Victorian and Edwardian
Gwynedd: The Buildings of Wales (pg 404)
Other aspects include:
Strikingly homogenous architecturally
Stucco terraces follow the curve of the esplanade, with Italianate Regency
only to the first row
Iron arcading on wide pavements to the shops on Mostyn Street
Initial idea of layout often attributed to the Liverpool Surveyor, Owen
Williams in 1846
The ‘Building Regulations for the Projected New Town’ were drawn up by
Wehnert & Ashdown in 1855
A further ‘Design for laying out a further portion of the Estate’ was drawn
up in 1894 by H&P Curry
Llandudno reached its zenith in the Edwardian period, with theatres, concert
halls and picture palaces
Other Architects supported included George Felton, JA Chatwin, Abraham
Foulkes, B Nelson, Edwin Turner, TB Silcock amongst many others.
Further details about Llandudno can be found in pages 404 to 422 of the
Pevsner Architectural Guide Gwynedd: The Buildings of Wales; Haslam,
Orbach & Voelcker (2009, Yale University Press)
However, for many people Llandudno is primarily associated with one of the
best-known children books: The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis
Carroll. The family of Alice Liddell used to stay in Llandudno, particularly in
what is now a small hotel St Tudno in the Parade, close to St George's Hotel and
right opposite the wooden pier closest to the Great Orme. It is still disputed
whether or not Carroll himself had ever visited Llandudno when Alice was there,
and it is known that in Alice in Wonderland he refers to the Liddells home in
Oxfordshire. Yet he would undoubtedly know that the Liddells had spent months in
Llandudno, and some critics suggest that there are certain elements in Alice in
Wonderland that can be regarded as references to this British seaside resort.
It was the British PM David Lloyd-George who claimed Llandudno's status as the
inspiration for the fairy-tale, which claim was made at the opening of the
monument to the White Rabbit.
When you have done enough walking up and down the Parade, breathed enough sea
air, climbed and explored the Great Orme, you can use Llandudno as your base
from where you can go explore North Wales.
History, Culture & Tourism
Mostyn Family & Connections