Posts Tagged ‘Colwyn Bay’

J M Porter Collection – Pwllycrochan Estate

March 19, 2013

The records of J. M. Porter and Company is just one of many private collections held here at Denbighshire Archives.  These records are of great interest to the history of the development of Colwyn Bay, as the Company was involved in it from rural village to thriving seaside resort. In addition to his work as an architect and surveyor, J. M. Porter was much involved in the public life of Colwyn Bay and of the County of Denbighshire.

The largest section of the Porter papers is sale particulars, information cards and correspondence files relating to particular properties across North Wales.  J. M. Porter’s own papers are concerned primarily with the management of the Pwllycrochan Hotel and his personal affairs.

PPD/23/216- Postcard of Pwllycrochan Hotel, 1921

PPD/23/216- Postcard of Pwllycrochan Hotel, 1921

In 1865 the Pwllycrochan and Bodlondeb estates, together comprising approximately 3,000 acres, were put up for sale and realised something in the region of £20,000. The Pwllycrochan mansion, demesne and most of the adjoining lands were bought by John Pender, a Manchester businessman who intended to develop a seaside resort of select marine residences which would attract the affluent middle classes of Manchester and Liverpool.

He was prevented from doing so by a financial crisis in his business affairs and so to raise the money needed to resolve this crisis he sold the Pwllycrochan estate to a consortium of Manchester businessmen, one of whom was Lawrence Booth, the architect. They formed themselves into the Colwyn Bay and Pwllycrochan Estate Company, divided the property into building plots, and imposed covenants on the purchasers which ensured that the character of the town would be that of a garden city.

One of the few lots not acquired by the Colwyn Bay and Pwllycrochan Estate Company was Pwllycrochan itself, which was bought by John Porter who had been John Pender’s agent, and who had converted the mansion into an hotel in 1866.

It was to become one of the principal establishments in the town, attracting a wide variety of visitors. It remained the property of the Porter family until 1938, when it was sold. The property later became part of Rydal School.

J. Porter remained the hotel’s director until his death in 1899, when his son John Merry Porter took over as managing director.  Having attended school at Conway, J. M. Porter was articled to Messrs. Farrer and Company of Manchester, where he trained as an architect and surveyor. After he qualified in 1886 he returned to Colwyn Bay and became a partner with Lawrence Booth and Thomas Chadwick, architects, surveyors and estate agents, who had formed their original partnership in 1876 to act as agents for the ColwynBay and Pwllycrochan Estate Company. A Colwyn Bay office was opened under J. M. Porter as the local agent for the Manchester Company and was responsible for many of the buildings going up in the new town.

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Two Hundred and Fifty Miles through North Wales: Day 8, Part 2

October 4, 2011

They proceed over the Little Ormes Head, passing Llandrillo yn Rhos Church , the ruins of Plas Bryn Euryn and Pwllycrochan Hotel, arriving in  Colwyn Bay at 11.30.  They have lunch at the Royal Hotel, and stroll down to the beach.

Picture of Colwyn Bay promenade
PPD/23/2 – Photograph of the Promenade in Colwyn Bay c1860, from our Colwyn Bay photographic collection.

Soon the Little Ormes Head is passed, when the town and bay are lost to sight.  A bend is made to the left, where three roads meet, we look back and see a fine lot of old cottages high up on the Little Ormes Head, there is here a steep hill which necessitates putting the break and slipper on the wagonette.  Llandrillo yn Rhos Church and part of Colwyn Bay are seen across a level track direct in front.  On reaching the foot of the hill we observe the houses of Old Penrhyn hamlet, amongst the limestone rocks on the right, below them is the old farm house of Penrhyn, this farm house was in 1561 and for ages afterwards the seat of the Pugh family.  The stable was before the reformation a Catholic Chapel, this farm house has a very interesting history, we pass on until we come to Llandrillo yn Rhos Church on the left, the novelty of this Church is the double stepped battlement of its tower.  Near its entrance is a splendid yew tree growing in the form of a ladies bonnet, the windows of the Church are filled with beautiful stained glass.

Near it looking in the distance like a tall ivy clad chimney are the ruins of Plas Bryn Euryn, the residence in the 6th Century of Maelgwy Gwynedd and are supposed to be of unknown antiquity.  A road to the left branches to Rhos Gynach, where the celebrated fishing weir is situate, we soon arrive near Colwyn Bay about half a mile to the right we see the Pwllycrochan Hotel, which is charmingly situated in the midst of its own extensive and well wooded grounds, it was formerly the residence of the dowager Lady Erskine.

We arrive at Colwyn Bay at 11.30 put up for a time at the Royal Hotel and lunch there, glad to escape the rain.  In a time the weather brightened so we walked to the beach, it has a most miserable approach, we go close up to the railway station by a narrow passage, then down a lot of steps, under the railway then on the shore.  It is not a very inviting place compared to the places we had previously seen.

Historically Colwyn Bay was a parish in the county of Denbighshire. Following the Local Government reorganisation in 1974, Colwyn became a parish in the new county of Clwyd, then part of the county of Conwy in 1996.  Records relating to Colwyn Bay are held by both Denbighshire Archives and Conwy Archives. 

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Information on Conwy’s holdings can be found on