Haulfre Gardens, Llandudno
Haulfre Gardens were created by Henry Davis Pochin, son of a Leicestershire yeoman farmer. He had made his fortune as an industrial chemist. He invented a method of clarifying rosin for production of white and coloured soaps. He opened china clay mines in Cornwall after finding a way to use china clay for paper manufacture. He served as an MP for Stafford, and was a director of the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company which opened the Pochin Mine, Tredegar, in 1881.
In 1875 he bought Bodnant Hall, in the Conwy Valley. He remodelled the 18th-century hall there and laid out the 80-acre Bodnant Garden (now a National Trust attraction), creating the famed laburnum arch and planting the towering redwood trees.
He developed Haulfre Gardens between 1871 and 1876. On his death in 1895, his estate passed to his daughter Laura. Her husband became the first Lord Aberconwy in 1911.
“Haul” is Welsh for sun. “Fre” = hill. To hear how to pronounce Haulfre, press play: Or, download mp3 (24KB)
An early owner of the house at Haulfre was Tommy Lipton, who became famous for the national chain of Lipton’s grocery shops – and even more famous for his Lipton’s Tea.
Another owner of Haulfre was John Walker of Osborne House, whose fortune came from the Walker brewery. Llandudno Urban District Council bought the estate in 1928 for £5,000. It was opened as a public park by former prime minister David Lloyd George MP in 1929. A popular feature was the Invalid’s Walk, a gentle path which can still be walked along the hillside to West Shore. Non-invalids can climb the zigzag path to the top of the Great Orme plateau.
The gardens are now managed by Conwy County Borough Council, which remodelled them in 2001 with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. A vintage farm implement has been used as a flower planter near the tea room for many years.
With thanks to John Lawson-Reay, of the Llandudno & Colwyn Bay History Society
Postcode: LL30 2HT