Former Swiss Café, Mostyn Street, Llandudno

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Fresh chocolates were sold here every day in the early 20th century when this corner building, now home to Caffè Nero, was well known as the Swiss Café. French-born proprietor Henry Charlier advertised that chocolates were “made on the premises, fresh daily”.

Photo of tram passing Swiss CafeThe café is on the right in the old photo (courtesy of the L&CB Tramway Society and Conwy Archive Service), showing a passing tram which came to Llandudno from Accrington Corporation in 1932. You can see the café in another photo on our page about the tramway along Mostyn Street.

Upstairs here in 1906 were the “consulting rooms” of Madame Pardoe, who claimed to practise "scientific palmistry and phrenology" (phrenology was a fake method of understanding a person's psychology by studying features of their skull).

Jessie Haworth, aged 22, caused a scandal in 1909 when she stole a box of chocolates, worth one shilling, from the Swiss Café, and a gold ring belonging to an assistant at the Boots chemist shop. She was described as a "respectably connected" lady. Magistrates were lenient, taking into account the embarrassment and strain the thefts had brought on her parents, with whom she lived in Mostyn Street.

By the time of the First World War, Jean Bonnet and his son Jean Felix owned the Swiss Café. Jean Felix Bonnet was born at Gland, Switzerland, and was working in Llandudno for Monsieur Charlier by 1911. The following year, Jean Felix married Lilly Rose Mason and they had two children together.

Jean Felix became a British citizen in February 1915. Later that year he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery and was sent to Italy, where his battery fought at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. He died on Armistice Day, 11 November 1918, when he accidentally fell out of the back of a lorry. He is buried at Giavera British Cemetery, c.600km (c.370 miles) from his birthplace.

In the early 1920s, the Swiss Café was owned by Mr Semadeni and for the next 30 years was one of the most popular venues for local groups and organisations to hold social evenings. The Home Guard regularly held hot-pot suppers here during the Second World War. The “premises formerly known as Swiss Café” were sold in 1957.

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

Postcode: LL30 2PD    View Location Map

Website of Conwy Archive Service

Website of Caffè Nero