Morannedd Café, Criccieth
At first view this Grade II-listed building seems to be from the Art Deco period, before the Second World War. However, it was built in 1954 in the individualistic style of its designer, the architect Clough Williams Ellis. He is best known for his whimsical Portmeirion village.
The café building has a distinctive curved shape, floor-to-ceiling windows and thick stone walls. It provides an intriguing contrast to the round towers of the ancient castle at the other end of the esplanade. The architect’s blueprints show that a small glass observation gallery should have been erected on the top and that a much grander entrance was originally intended. However the project ran into financial difficulties and was never fully realised.
One of its early owners was Sir Billy Butlin. Holidaymakers would be brought in by bus from the nearby Butlin’s holiday camp to attend Tea Dances here. It’s easy to imagine the dances in the spacious airiness of the place, perhaps with potted plants scattered around and waitresses dressed in black with white pinafores and caps.
After the Butlin's era, the building was rented to various tenants over the years. In the 1960s, the “Tender Trap Twist Club” met here, before moving to the Memorial Hall. Those dances are held in fond memory by locals of a certain age!
In 2015 Dylan’s Restaurant took over the building and it underwent extensive refurbishment. With the approval of Cadw, the entrance to the building was altered to provide something more in keeping with what was originally indicated on the blueprints, which you can view inside the restaurant.
The restaurant, specialising in local seafood, hosts regular events such as wine nights and cinema nights, and continues the tradition of the ‘Miri Morannedd’ event each June in which children take part in music, art and circus skills workshops.
With thanks to Robert Cadwalader, whose painting 'Morannedd Nostalgia' is shown here
Postcode: LL52 0HU