Former Ye Wells Hotel, Llandrindod Wells

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This was once one of the town’s largest and most opulent hotels. It became a residential school for Wales’ deaf children in 1950 (see below).

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, some mileposts showed the distance “to ye wells” (which should be pronounced “to the wells”), referring to the area where Llandrindod Wells now stands. This inspired the name of a Victorian building, Ye Wells Hotel, which was transferred to this site c.1907 when the building here was completed.

Old postcard of Ye Wells HotelOne of the earliest guests at the new hotel was Horatio Watkins, under-sheriff of Glamorgan. He spent the 1908 Easter holidays here but returned home to the Gower with an injured knee cap, having slipped on a polished floor at the hotel.

The hotel was run by Mrs Bryan Smith, who lost two sons in the First World War. James Clement Smith was a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers but was killed in Belgium in March 1916. He was 33 years old. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres and on the Llandrindod Wells war memorial. Her stepson Howard Bryan Smith was reported killed in October 1916.

In September 1917 Mrs Smith went to the military tribunal to plead for her son Ernest, aged 38, to be excused from military service. She argued that he had lost two brothers in the war, was suffering from heart trouble and was essential for carrying on the hotel’s business. He was given a temporary exemption.

Earlier in the war the hotel was a billet for men of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Some of them formed a football team to play against other RAMC teams.

The local tourist trade diminished after the Second World War. Ye Wells Hotel was converted into a training college in 1947. It became a residential school for deaf children in 1950, established by the Welsh Joint Education Committee. Wales’ previous school for the deaf, in Swansea, had closed during the war because of the dangers of aerial bombing. The school’s secretary in 1955 was Louis Bayliss, who had been the Swansea institution’s principal.

The school closed c.1973 and the former hotel became a further education college.

Postcode: LD1 5ES    View Location Map

To continue the Llandrindod Wells in WW1 tour, walk down to the roundabout and turn left into Temple Street. The next QR codes are by the entrance to the National Cycle Museum
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