The Academy pub in former chapel, Aberystwyth

Link to French translationThe Academy pub in former chapel, Great Darkgate Street, Aberystwyth

Methodists rejoiced when this chapel was built on the site of the Three Jolly Sailors pub, and the Aberystwyth Observer remarked: “It is not often the devil makes way for God.” Now the chapel itself has become a pub, entered through the dramatic Classical columns. The Ten Commandments and a psalm are still displayed on the walls.

In 1855, the Three Jolly Sailors' landlord, Thomas Edwards, was fined for “keeping his house open at improper hours”, after PC Isaac Morgan had heard the noise of people drinking there at 1am on a Sunday. By c.1870 the pub had closed and the building and its forecourt were used by hatter William Jones, who later helped create Aberystwyth’s camera obscura. Subsequently the building was occupied by butcher Cornelius Roberts.

In 1875 or 1876, the Welsh Wesleyans bought the Three Jolly Sailors and two adjoining houses for £300, to build a replacement for their Salem Chapel in Queen Street. Local MP and industrialist David Davies laid the foundation stone for St Paul’s Chapel and donated £100. He was a staunch Methodist and disapproved strongly of drinking alcohol.

The North Ceredigion Temperance Union, which campaigned against drunkenness, used to hold an annual festival. In June 1894, “large attendance” was reported at a public meeting in St Paul’s Chapel on the eve of the festival.

The chapel’s final cost was £5,900, more than double the original estimate. The debt remained a problem for many years. In 1889, Rev William Morgan appealed to readers of the Cambrian News to help relieve “a young and hopeful church of a crushing burden” and allow the chapel to “do aggressive work for Christ”.

The chapel seated 700. A schoolroom was added in 1903. The building remained a chapel until 1992, then lay derelict for several years. In 1999 developers from the Isle of Man were authorised to convert it into a pub, although local Methodists objected.

The organ had been removed but the pipes remained and were moved to form the backdrop to the bar in the former schoolroom. You can also see the chapel’s pulpit inside The Academy.

Postcode: SY23 1DE    View Location Map

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