Snooker star’s former hotel, Craig-y-Don

link to French translationSnooker star’s former hotel, Craig-y-Don

Fred Davis, world snooker and billiards champion, moved to Craig-y-Don, Llandudno, soon after the Second World War, in which he had served with the armed forces. He bought a house on Carmen Sylva Road which he renamed ‘Snookers’. 

In 1948 he and his wife Sheila bought this hotel, then the Craig-y-Don Hotel. They renamed it The County. It had only just been released by the British government, which had requisitioned it in 1940. During the war it was home to the Inland Revenue’s Inspectorate of Foreign & Colonial Dividends Department. The Inland Revenue was relocated to Llandudno to escape the bombing of London.

Fred used to stage exhibition matches at the hotel along with his older brother Joe, who had been world snooker champion every year between 1927 and 1940.  In 1940 British Pathe reported on the “Snooker Battle of the Brothers”, in which “bespectacled Fred puts up a spirited fight” but is eventually beaten by Joe. You can watch the news clip on the Pathe website here.

No tournament was held during the war years, but Joe was champion again in 1946 before retiring undefeated. Younger brother Fred then took over the mantle and won the title in 1948, 1949 and 1951. After each victory he arrived at Llandudno railway station carrying his trophy and winnings and would be welcomed by a big crowd of well-wishers and an official party from Llandudno Urban District Council.

Davis played professionally well into old age, making a 109 break at the world championships in 1979. He made his last appearance in the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, in 1984 aged 70. He was a regular on the BBC television show Pot Black throughout the 1970s. In August 1993, Davis turned 80 and was still ranked no 259 of all the world’s snooker players.  He died in Denbigh in 1998, aged 84.

With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front museum

Postcode: LL30 1BE    View Location Map

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