Pwllheli promenade

Pwllheli promenade

Old photo of Pwllheli promenade
Pwllheli promenade viewed from West End, courtesy of Rhiw.com

This promenade dates from a time when anyone rich enough could indulge in town planning and development. The promenade was part of a bigger project by self-made entrepreneur Solomon Andrews to develop tourism in the Pwllheli area.

He was born in Wiltshire in 1835 and moved to Cardiff as a teenager, working initially at a bakery. His successful cabs and buses in Cardiff in the 1860s were the springboard for his property developments and other ventures.

In August 1893 he bought parts of Pwllheli’s South Beach estate. The area known as South Beach, at the end of Embankment Road, already had a golf course (opened in 1891), a shop and pub (1892), a post office (1893), a Methodist chapel and assembly rooms, where the South Beach Improvement Association held its annual meetings.

By 1901 South Beach had a promenade called Victoria Parade and the South Beach Hotel, as you can see on our page about the Sunday School boating tragedy of 1899.

Aerial photo of Pwllheli promenade in 1950
Pwllheli promenade in 1950, courtesy of the RCAHMW and its Coflein website

Solomon built a separate promenade at West End, reached via Cardiff Road, along with the West End Hotel, guesthouses, a bandstand, a recreation ground with cycle track, assembly rooms and tram depot. Horse-drawn trams from West End followed a shoreline tramway to his art gallery at Glyn-y-Weddw, Llanbedrog, where one of the trams is displayed. The tramway mostly closed in 1927 after storm damage (the extension from West End to the town centre operated for another year).

Solomon died in 1908. Much of his Pwllheli estate passed to his eldest son, Emile. The family business, Solomon Andrews & Son, continued to play a major role in Pwllheli life. In 1916 it sent 100 cigarettes to each Pwllheli man fighting in the First World War.

By the Second World War, the promenade connected South Beach and West End. The central section was still without buildings when the aerial photo was taken in 1950. The photo is from the Aerofilms Collection of the National Monuments Record of Wales, shown here courtesy of the Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Wales.

With thanks to local history website Rhiw.com for the old postcard

Postcode: LL53 5PN    View Location Map

Copies of the aerial photo and other images are available from the RCAHMW. Contact: nmr.wales@rcahmw.gov.uk