Wartime isolation hospital, Conwy

Wartime isolation hospital, Cadnant Park, Conwy

The house you can glimpse up the drive here (behind the modern houses) was turned into an isolation hospital in the Second World War, when thousands of evacuees came to Conwy. Please respect the residents’ privacy and stay off the drive.

Many of the child evacuees came from impoverished Merseyside households. Infectious skin diseases, such as scabies and impetigo, began to spread and every evacuee was prescribed cod-liver oil or halibut-liver oil. Initially the borough council sent infected children to Eryri Hospital, Caernarfon, but the ambulance cost about £2 2s each time. As cases increased, the council established local treatment at Conwy hospital (the former workhouse on Bangor Road).

As the hospital became full, the council requisitioned three properties in 1942 for extra capacity, including this house, named Fowey, which had recently become empty. The other two were in Deganwy and Llandudno Junction.

Fowey had space for 30 children at a time. At times, two nurses as well as the matron were needed. The children’s clothes and bedding were taken by Red Cross ambulance to the established isolation hospital at Groesynyd (next to the Groes Inn) for burning.

Local children were among the patients. Conwy-born Brian Rowlands recalled in 2019 that he and two of his brothers spent about a week in hospital beds at Fowey during the war, having treatment for a skin complaint. Brian was then about five years old.

After the war Fowey belonged to Peter Stone, owner of a company which made ginger ale. His son and daughter in law lived in Fowey after he emigrated to Australia. The Parisella ice-cream family bought the house in the 1960s. On one of the kitchen walls are about 20 bells, used by hospital patients to summon help from nurses.

With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front Museum, Llandudno

Postcode: LL32 8PE    View Location Map

Footnotes: Wartime employees at Fowey

Matron: Miss Gladys Davies of Mountain Ash, Cynon Valley, Glamorgan – £125 per annum
Nurse: Miss White of Penrhiwceiber, Cynon Valley – £70 pa
Ccook: Mrs Brennard of Cadnant Park, Conwy – £65 pa
Maid: Mrs Kinsella of 5 Uppergate Street, Conwy – £39 pa
Charwoman (cleaner) – 35 shillings per week
A gardener and handyman (wage not recorded)