Llandudno’s first town hall
This building was Llandudno’s first town hall, from 1854 until the current town hall opened in 1902. It was the administrative centre for the newly elected Board of Improvement Commissioners.
Backed by an act of Parliament, the commissioners had wide powers to control the development of the now burgeoning town. They chose as their chairman Thomas Mostyn of the Mostyn family, which owned and was the power behind the plans for the new seaside resort. The first town clerk, John Williams, (pictured right) was also an agent for the Mostyn family and played a central role in the resort’s growth.
The town’s first magistrates’ court was held here in 1856. It had been transferred from Conwy because of the large number of Llandudno residents who were summoned for failing to pay the first Town Rate of half-a-crown (12.5p) in the pound. Shades of the “poll tax”, the unpopular community charge of the 1980s!
The Town Rate was needed for the local government budget of £1,007 per annum. The commisioners set about the task of controlling nude bathing, with elaborate rules to prevent indecent exposure and to control the bathing machines. There were areas marked “Gentlemen’s Bathing Ground” and “Ladies’ Bathing Ground” – separated by 150 yards!
In 1857 the Llandudno Association for the Prosecution of Felons was formed here. There was no police force then. The association offered rewards for information leading to a conviction.
A Town Constable was appointed at 16 shillings per week (80p), and a lock up was built for him in Ty Coch road at the amazing cost of £485.3s.5d.
The original town hall is now the Capri guesthouse.
With thanks to John Lawson-Reay, of the Llandudno & Colwyn Bay History Society