Ye Olde Mail Coach

Ye Olde Mail Coach, High Street, Conwy

Ye Olde Mail Coach (pronounced “The Old Mail Coach”) was a coaching inn. Horse-drawn vehicles parking in a yard behind the tavern, part of which is now the beer garden. A side road at the lower end of the pub led into the yard.

The pub was known as the Mail Coach in 1819, when the licensee married. That was well before construction of Thomas Telford’s suspension bridge and Cob brought an increase in the number of passing coaches – and an increase in the number of hostelries in Conwy.

From 1834 (possibly earlier) until 1868 the Mail Coach was run by Robert Davies and his wife Elizabeth, who had eight children. He died in 1875 and is commemorated on a memorial in St Mary’s Church.

In 1882 two Wrexham “hawkers”, John Davies and William Jones, were charged with tendering counterfeit money at the Mail Coach Inn and the nearby Erskine Arms.

At around the start of the 20th century, there was a clampdown on the number of pubs in Conwy. A plainclothes detective visited the Mail Coach Inn in 1900 and reported that it was furnished “for drinking purposes only” with tables, chairs, benches and barrels of beer. The upstairs rooms were empty, with none of the beds one would expect at an inn.

In 1903 the licensee and owner, councillor Edward Roberts, promised the licensing authorities that he would demolish two cottages which stood behind the premises and use the side road only for stabling, rather than “trade purposes”. In 1904 he had still not made the alterations. Some changes were made to the building in the 1920s.

The pub was renamed Ye Olde Mail Coach c.1910. In 1915 the Welsh-language newspaper Y Cymro reported indignantly that the licence had been renewed by a “weak” licensing bench, and that the pubs were a curse on the town.

The pub did eventually close – but not until 1990. Years of chronic traffic congestion had taken their toll on Conwy’s trade, but the town quickly recovered after the A55 Conwy Tunnel took away most of the traffic in 1991. Ye Olde Mail Coach reopened in 1993.

With thanks to Ray Castle

Postcode: LL32 8DE

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