The Guildhall, Conwy

button link to french translationThe Guildhall, Rose Hill Street, Conwy

A civic building has stood here since the 13th century, known by various names including the Town Hall, Shire Hall and Common House. In 1613 a market hall was built here. Its upper floor was used as the Common Hall.

In the early 19th century a National School was established here, for poor children to receive basic education. It moved to a new building c.1840.

Photo of Lloyd George at Guildhall

The current Guildhall was completed in 1863. Enlargement in 1925 created the present-day entrance, which has elaborate carved stonework. From the 1860s, the Guildhall was the polling station for several local parishes. It was also the venue for the local Petty Sessions, where wrong-doers were tried by magistrates.

The photo on the right (reproduced here by courtesy of David Rogers Jones) was taken by Harry Rogers Jones in the years after 1925. It shows former Prime Minister David Lloyd George arriving at the Guildhall. Conwy was in his Caernarvon Boroughs constituency. He sometimes stayed with friends at Castell Mai, just around the corner from the Guildhall (next door to the Bridge Inn).

conwy_jackdaw_chairSince 1974 the Guildhall has been home to Conwy Town Council, whose art collection includes a dramatic painting of an 1899 train wreck at Penmaenbach, watercolours by Buckley Ousey, and a large depiction in marquetry (coloured pieces of wood) of Conwy Castle, made in 1963 for Conwy’s NatWest Bank.

The council chamber is overlooked by a large portrait by John Dawson Watson of the council’s first mayor, William Hughes. Past mayors depicted in photos on the walls include Agnes Twiston Hughes, who became Wales’ first female solicitor in 1923.

Also inside is a large “Conwy Jackdaws” chair (pictured left), which was spotted at an auction in southern England and donated to the council by one of the Jackdaws – people born within Conwy’s medieval town walls.

The Guildhall was refurbished in 1996, with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and is a popular venue for wedding ceremonies.

With thanks to David Rogers Jones

Postcode: LL32 8LD    View Location Map

Conwy Town Council website