Suffragist pioneers’ meeting place
The first society for women’s suffrage in Wales was formed here in 1907.
The building was opened in 1883 as the Llandudno Cocoa and Coffee House. It was a Temperance Establishment where working men, their wives and children met to drink cocoa, eat pies and cakes, and sing – nothing indecent allowed! Penny dinners were served to the poor here.
The Llandudno branch of the British Women’s Temperance Association met here, and in 1884 the Workmen’s Blue Ribbon Club was set up to reform drunkards. Imbibers signed the pledge to spurn drink for 12 months and donate 3d (three old pence) per week to the Temperance Association. They would pay a fine of 2/6d (two shillings and sixpence) if caught drinking alcohol – this would be nearly £12 today.
On 23 January 1907, local women were invited to The Cocoa House (no men or press admitted!) and formed the Llandudno branch of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). Its aim was to campaign peacefully for votes for women. It was the first such society in Wales. Its members were law-abiding “suffragists” – not the more militant “suffragettes” who broke laws to draw attention to their cause.
The token pictured here bears the words: “Good for one pennysworth of refreshment at the…’ and on the other side “Llandudno Cocoa and Coffee House”. The old photo above shows Sarah Annie Reeves Hughes, her husband Hugh and their staff, posing for a photograph outside their Temperance Establishment.
The first floor is now home to Mostyn Restaurant, where a model tram circles the main dining rooms for the amusement of young diners (and some of the older ones).
With thanks to Barbara Lawson-Reay, of the Llandudno & Colwyn Bay History Society
Postcode: LL30 2SB