Former bonded warehouse, Caernarfon


Link to Welsh translationFormer bonded warehouse, Caernarfon

This tall building was originally a bonded warehouse, where imported wines and spirits were stored after arriving by ship. Customs duties weren’t paid until the drinks were distributed from the warehouse. There were at least two other bonded warehouses nearby, but this was the largest.

The land used to slope gently from Y Maes (Castle Square) to the shore before the slate quay was enlarged in 1817, when earth was removed to create a wide expanse at quay level. The bonded warehouse, possibly built in the early 1850s, faced the quay on this side. Look up to see the doorways where imports entered the upper storeys. The pair of projecting girders at the top held a pulley over which a rope passed, for raising goods.

The fourth storey opened onto Y Maes on the other side of the building. This was the entrance for visitors on business.

The warehouse was used by Morgan Lloyd & Son, which also had a wholesale outlet at 10 Castle Square – now the Morgan Lloyd pub. Morgan Lloyd, a past pupil of Ystrad Meurig school in Ceredigion, ran the business for more than 50 years, distributing wines and spirits across a wide area of North Wales even before Caernarfon joined the railway network. He was a town councillor, member of the harbour trust and churchwarden at St Peblig’s Church, where he and his children installed a memorial window to his wife. He died in 1894, aged 78.

His descendants continued the wholesale business for decades, with “tasting rooms” at 10 Castle Square.

The warehouse building has had various uses in the 20th and 21st centuries. The upper storeys were occupied from 1928 by furniture company Jays. The frontage facing Y Maes was later remodelled with plate-glass windows for the Cavendish Woodhouse furniture shop, owned by Great Universal Stores.

Many local residents remember it as the Paradox nightclub, entered from Y Maes. Later the club was known as Cofi Roc – ‘Cofi’ being a name for people from Caernarfon. In 2016 the upper part of the building became the COPA diner and bar.

With thanks to Clive James, of Caernarfon Civic Society

Postcode: LL55 2NA    View Location Map

Website of COPA diner and bar

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