Site of Ferry Hotel, Tal-y-cafn

button-theme-pow Site of Ferry Hotel, Tal-y-cafn

The houses at Cei’r Porthmon stand on the site of the Ferry Hotel. For centuries, people and livestock were ferried across the river Conwy from just below the hotel. You can read more about the ferry on our page about the bridge which replaced it.

Cei’r Porthmon is Welsh for ‘Drover’s Quay’. Drovers crossed here as they walked livestock from Gwynedd to markets in England.

By the late 19th century, the Ferry Hotel was owned by Major-General Hugh Sutley Gough of Caerhun Hall. He was governor of Jersey from 1904 to 1910. He had the old Ferry Hotel demolished and replaced with a new one in mock Tudor style, opened in 1904. Land beside the new hotel hosted an annual pigeon-shooting match, organised by licensee William Davies.

The next licensee, from c.1910, was Otto Bettin, a German citizen. Police confiscated his sports guns, ammunition and petrol within days of the First World War starting in August 1914. His motor car was commandeered.

He continued to run the hotel, but there was local disquiet. It was said he had previously been an officer in Germany’s armed forces. In September he was arrested and interned at the new Prisoner of War camp at Queensferry, Flintshire. The policeman who arrested him allowed him to collect a cheque book from a safe, which also contained a statuette of Germany’s Emperor – hidden there so that customers wouldn’t see it and make trouble.

Otto’s Manchester-born wife Christina applied for the hotel’s license to be transferred to herself. Magistrates refused, saying it was not their duty to protect the interests of an enemy alien. It was suggested that a British person be found to run the hotel, and that Mrs Bettin and her mother should move out. By November 1914, the licence had transferred to former ship’s captain Theodore Martin of Cheshire, but he never took up the hotel lease.

After the war the Ferry Hotel was run by former underwater stuntman Walter Beaumont. He provided trips on the river in his boat. In 1924 the boat was swamped while at anchor and he died weeks later – it was thought from illness contracted when he went into the cold river to salvage the boat. You can read more about him on our page about his grave.

Postcode: LL28 5RX    View Location Map