New York Cottages
New York Cottages were the first houses to be built on what were open fields at the time. They were built in 1849 for workers at Graig Lwyd quarry, which is higher up the hill behind the cottages. As the houses were being built, there was a bit of a slump in the market and men were losing work. According to local historian Dennis Roberts, someone remarked: “No-one will come to work here. They`ve all gone to New York.” And so they came to be known as New York Cottages.
In 1850s, number 4 was occupied by Richard Owen, his wife and their eight children – and two lodgers! This was when young men from Anglesey or the Conwy Valley would stay with families from Sunday to Saturday. The family would sleep upstairs and the lodgers downstairs on a mattress or bunks. The work in the quarry was hard. Men worked from 6am till 7pm, and they needed little more at home than somewhere to sleep.
At the eastern end of New York Cottages was a smithy, where a blacksmith forged horseshoes and other objects from iron. Next to the gable end of the existing cottages was the little corrugated-iron tuck shop known as Siop Tommy Hughes and later Siop Gwenda.
The cottages fell into disrepair before they were acquired by Conwy County Borough Council which restored them at a cost of almost £400,000, some of which was covered by European Union funding. They were opened in 2000 as offices for local businesses. Number 4 is leased by Penmaenmawr Historical Society and is a museum devoted to the history of Penmaenmawr.
With thanks to David Bathers of Penmaenmawr Historical Society
Postcode: LL34 6NP