The Community Centre, Penmaenmawr
The Community Centre, Conwy Road, Penmaenmawr
Cocoa Rooms were the Temperance Movement`s answer to public houses in the late 19th century. Non-alcoholic drinks were to be sold cheaply and facilities provided for reading and indoor games.
In Penmaenmawr a public meeting was held in 1912 to form a club that was known as the Young Men`s Institute. From 1912 to 1923 the institute was in various rented locations. After the First World War it was decided to erect, by public subscription, a building in the town centre, which is now the Community Centre. Built at a cost of £6,000, it was originally known as the Young Men`s Institute. The foundation stone was laid by Mrs Owen Owen of Tan y Foel (now Noddfa) on 28 April 1923.
In the North Wales Weekly News, a letter signed by “The Looker-on” questioned why the Committee were “confining the new institute to men only, and locking ladies out completely”. The writer went on to complain about the high cost of building: “Here we have the committee closing the doors to ladies, and at the same time receiving the largest contribution to the building fund from a lady.” The Committee responded that ladies would be welcome at social functions at the Institute! Men had returned from the “Great War”, the depression was beginning and it was vital to “encourage men to engage in leisure activities that did involve the public houses”.
In 1978 the Institute was renamed the Community Centre, and in 2004 a major refurbishment took place providing a modern theatre on the first floor with lighting and sound equipment. A lift was installed.
On the ground floor there is a “billiard room” with 4 full sized snooker tables. The first snooker match was held in May 1924 and. despite pressures from some quarters, the building remains a “temperance hall” where no alcohol is sold. The town’s war memorial is in the grounds.
With thanks to John Jones, and David Bathers and Dennis Roberts of Penmaenmawr Historical Society
Postcode: LL34 6AB