Eagles Hotel, Llanrwst
Parts of this building date from the 18th century. The defining characteristics of the frontage, including the Italianate tower, date from the mid-Victorian era when tourism was a major growth industry in the Conwy Valley.
The building is named after the three eagles displayed in the coat of arms of the Wynn family, the principal local landowner in the Tudor age. It is currently an independent hotel, owned and run by the Stevens family.
During the Second World War the hotel was earmarked for use by the security service, MI5, to hide some of Britain’s top double agents, part of the country’s biggest wartime intelligence network. (Double agents pretended to spy for one country while in fact spying for the enemy.) It was feared that if the Nazis invaded Britain, these double agents would pose a security risk by passing information to the enemy if they were captured. After the Nazis had invaded the Low Countries and France in 1940, it was highly probable that Britain would be next.
An operation codenamed “Mr Mills’ Circus” was named after the senior MI5 officer in charge, CB Mills, whose family ran the Cyril Bertram Mills Circus. It involved MI5’s North Wales agent, Captain Finney, finding accommodation for the double agents, their families and armed minders. He made arrangements to house them at the Eagles Hotel in Llanrwst and the Swallow Falls Hotel in Betws-y-coed and three Llandudno hotels including Evans’ Hotel. Within a few weeks, Captain Finney reported to his superiors in London that he’d “completed arrangements of the animals, their young, and their keepers ”.
By 1943 the plans had been scrapped, as the course of the Second World War had changed and the possibility of invasion receded.
With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front Museum, Llandudno
Postcode: LL26 0LG View Location Map