Tremadog Market Square

Logo of Porthmadog Town Council

Tremadog Market Square

Standing outside the Institute building in Tremadog, we can look across the market square which was the focal point of William Madocks’ planned model community.

Madocks (1773-1828) used the wealth he’d inherited from his father John, from Denbighshire, to buy land by the mouth of the Glaslyn estuary which he aimed to drain and use productively. He started by draining a small area of marsh and establishing Tremadog as a model village. To alleviate poverty, he created the first “manufactory” in North Wales, a water-powered mill complex in a valley a short distance north of the square.

The building now known as the Institute was among the first buildings, from the period 1805 to 1810. It became the shop of a dispensing chemist – grandly called the Cambrian Pill Depot. That business was established in 1839. The entrance was beneath the shop’s surviving slate plaque. In 1923 the building was adapted to form the War Memorial Institute, with the names of men who died in the First World War displayed inside. Public facilities here included a reading room and billiards.

Turn to your left to appreciate the beauty of the Town Hall, with its five tall arches. The steps used to stretch across the whole frontage. The ground floor was a market hall. Upstairs was a dance hall, entered from a doorway from the first floor of the adjoining coaching inn, now the Royal Madoc Hotel. The street past the inn is Stryd Dulyn (Dublin Street) and the one leading towards Porthmadog (now Stryd y Llan) was originally London Street – both names hinting at Madocks’ ambition for the Irish mail to pass this way.

The rest of the square is lined with houses, pubs and shops. Each house was built with a central entrance, with rooms on the ground floor where the occupants could keep a shop.

Notice the width of Stryd y Llan (Church Street). Anyone entering Tremadog from this direction was bound to be impressed by the square, with the cliff behind the Town Hall as a dramatic back-cloth, and by the Coadestone arch in front of St Mary’s Church. Coadestone was made in London from 1769 using a clay-like material which could be sculpted for statues or architectural features. The church was where nobility would worship, but Madocks appreciated that many of his workers were non-comformists and the ornate Peniel Chapel opened 18 months before the church. The church closed in 1995 and, following renovation, is now a community facility.

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Postcode: LL49 9RD

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