Former Whitehall Hotel, Pwllheli

Former Whitehall Hotel, Pwllheli

This building largely dates from 1818, when an earlier structure was enlarged. In 2014 it reopened after refurbishment as a bar and restaurant.

Some sources say that there was once a toll house here, positioned where key roads into and through Pwllheli met at a crossroads. One of them is Pen Lôn Llŷn (meaning “Head of the Llŷn Road”), which was the main route to the western part of the Llŷn Peninsula at the time.

The Whitehall Hotel was associated with the Conservative Party in Victorian times. The local branch committee met there, and in 1885 the party’s election candidate stayed there while canvassing. Five years earlier, in March 1880, several landowners including George Sholto Gordon Douglas Pennant, the local Conservative MP, had tried to address the market day crowd from a platform in front of the hotel. The crowd refused to listen and instead cheered for Charles James Watkin Williams, the Liberal candidate who defeated Pennant in that year’s general election.

In September 1871 a maid at the Whitehall Hotel was injured when she opened the parlour door, triggering a gas explosion. Guests had stayed up late the previous night and forgot to turn off the gas. The explosion damaged the door and part of a wall.

Whitehall Hotel barmaid Elizabeth Jones, 22, was taken to court in 1890 accused of sending Valentine’s letters which libelled the hotel proprietor’s brother, master mariner Owen Lewis. The letters accused him of being a “dry land captain”, the town’s bully, and a “deceitful devil” who had killed his two wives. It was said that other details in the letters could not have been written by a young woman unless she had the “filthiest and most prurient desires”. The case went all the way up to the Caernarvonshire Assizes (equivalent to today’s Crown Court). The jury found the barmaid not guilty, to the delight of the crowd inside and outside the courthouse.

Postcode: LL53 5RG    View Location Map

Website of Whitehall, Pwllheli