Old court house, Rhiw Road, Colwyn Bay

Old court house, Rhiw Road, Colwyn Bay

This building is now home to Bay of Colwyn Town Council, but it was originally built in 1907 as the town’s court house, with the police station attached. It was designed by the county architect, Walter Wiles, after the design by the county surveyor, R Lloyd Williams, was rejected. It ceased being used by the court service on 20 December 1996. In its heyday it was where the Petty Sessional Courts were held.

The police station was originally designed to house the Chief Superindendent of Police and his family. His front door was on the corner of Rhiw Road and the small back road leading to Douglas Road.

The court was an imposing room, in the middle of which was the dock to hold the defendents who emerged up the stairs from the cells below. On a high raised platform at the front of the court were seven seats for seven magistrates to sit at any one time. There are now a maximum of three in any court. On the desk in front of the magistrates, right up until the court closed for good, were seven ink wells.

In July 1909 young burglar William Merrill, aged 13, was brought into the dock, where he was surrounded by “massive brass railings” and presented a “somewhat comical appearance”, according to a newspaper report. Four months earlier he had been sent, as punishment for playing truant from school, to the industrial training ship HMS Clio in the Menai Strait. Many boys died while captive on the Clio, as you can read on this page, but Merrill absconded after he and other inmates were taken ashore to camp near Llandudno. He admitted burglaries in the Colwyn Bay area and the magistrates decided that he should go to a reformatory school.

Inside the town council offices is a brass nameplate from the LMS steam locomotive named Colwyn Bay, withdrawn in the 1960s. This was one of seven locos of the Patriot class named after towns on the North Wales coast. Members of the public can view the plate, and an informative display about the loco, during town council office hours.

With thanks to Graham Roberts, of Colwyn Bay Civic Society, and to David Hughes for locomotive information

Postcode: LL29 7TE    View Location Map