The King's Head, Old Road, Llandudno
The King’s Head, named after King William IV (1765-1837), is the only pub surviving from the earliest days of Llandudno. The left-hand side of the building is original. The right-hand side was added in the late 19th century. It was a popular meeting place for the local copper miners in the late 18th and early 19th century, and a convenient place to distribute their wages. The ground at the rear served as an unofficial village square.
A charming tale is associated with the pub. In 1849 Owen Williams, an architect, surveyor and estate agent from Liverpool, was visiting the village, as it then was, with a friend. He had been impressed by the beautiful sweep of the bay and had the inspiration that it would be a good place for seaside bathing resort. The Victorians were very keen on the health-giving properties of cold salt water. While they were staying at the King’s Head, Owen Williams is supposed to have described his vision to his friend. He later wrote to John Williams, the agent for major local landowner Mostyn Estates, with his plans.
However, this story was written by Owen Williams some 40 years after the event and should be taken with a pinch of salt. In 1843, six years before Owen Williams had his vision, the Mostyn family had obtained an enclosure order for the common land in Llandudno – where the hotels are now located – with a view to building a bathing resort or a commercial port. The port proposals were dropped.
The King’s Head was inherited by Anne Jane Davies and her husband Isaiah, who opened the first large hotel on Llandudno’s promenade in 1854. She lived her last years at Plas Fron Deg in Church Walks.
The pub was run from 1898 to 1910 by Walter Beaumont, who gave underwater stunt shows at Llandudno pier and saved many people from drowning. You can read more about him on our page about his grave on the Great Orme.
With thanks to John Lawson-Reay, of Llandudno & Colwyn Bay History Society
Postcode: LL30 2NB