The very first buildings in Llandudno, were built on the promenade near the pier. These houses had stables and coach houses at the back.
The Llandudno Improvement Act (1854) brought into being the town commissioners. They built the first town hall in Church Walks. The first gentrys’ houses had their own stables and carriage houses.
The pier was built in 1876/77. The original pier joined Happy Valley Road and was poorly located so an extension was built linking it with the promenade. A bathhouse was built out towards the sea in 1855. Beyond the baths, a small pier was built, but it didn’t last long and was demolished by the same hurricane that wrecked the royal charter clipper in 1859.
The Saint George’s Hotel first opened for business in 1854; it was soon to be the first hotel in Wales to incorporate a lift to the upper floors. Similar in design to those used in London hotels of the day. The lift was water powered using a system of pulleys, cables and a counter balance.
The hotel was refused a Llandudno postal address at first because it was considered too far from the village!
Before 1850 Llandudno was a marshland and collection of small fisherman’s cottages. In 1840’s and 1850’s a person called Lord Mostyn purchased the land around the Great Orme and had an idea to build a special seaside resort with the streets being in a grid pattern. The surrounding sea provided good catches of fish and an abundance of shipwrecks and plunder.
The Victorian town centre of Llandudno was created primarily for tourism between 1849 and 1912. The land of Llandudno was common ground used for agriculture by local farmers and villagers. The land was enclosed by an act of parliament in 1845 guided by the Mostyn family. In welsh the enclosure act was sometimes referred to as “Deddf Y Lladrad Mawr” which translates as “The Great Theft Act”.
In Victorian times visits to the seaside became fashionable. Taking this into account, the landowner Lord Mostyn decided to develop Llandudno into a seaside resort.
The majority of the town as we know it today was laid out in 1849 by the Mostyn family, who leased most of the plots for development and influenced the building design and uses of land.
The new railway link built in 1858 brought increased numbers of visitors, and the money which they spent helped to further develop Lladudno town. The original pier was completed in 1875 and you can still stroll along the 2,300 foot long pier today.
Llandudno continued to improve with the developments of marine drive running around the base of Great Orme and the delightful gardens in Happy Valley Park. The Great Orme tramway was completed in 1902
John Bright was famous for supporting policies such as the repeal act giving the working classes the right to vote. He was a great Victorian politician.
After his formal schooling came to an end, Bright joined the rapidly expanding family businesses.
John Bright also became involved in local politics and joined the campaign to end compulsory tax support of the Anglican Church in Rochdale.
In 1843 Bright was elected to represent Durham in the House of Commons. He also supported those Whigs advocating universal suffrage and the secret ballot.
With Richard Cobden, he campaigned for the repeal of the Corn Laws, and supported the abolition of capital punishment.
However, unlike most Radicals, Bright was opposed to Parliament regulating the hours of factory workers. Bright
feared that factory legislation would lower wages and threaten Britain’s export trade and ad a result voted against the 1884 Factory Act.
Bright first toured around the Welsh coast with Llandudno becoming a favoured holiday resort for his family. His young son, who died in Llandudno aged five of scarlet fever, is buried in St Tudno’s churchyard. It was a grave Bright visited every year until his death in 1889. Bright’s interest in education, and his connections with Llandudno, help to explain why John Bright School was named after him.
John Bright, a leading 19thcentury politician, had regularly visited Llandudno with his family. Bright was a constant supporter of education. When he died in 1889, a collection was made in his name and it was used to create the original school as long as it was named after him.
Ysgol John Bright first opened in February 1896 in a temporary premises – which is now the Risbro Hotel. It was bought for £567 and had 62 pupils. By 1905, there were nearly 80 pupils and 5 teachers. It had 5 classrooms and specialist rooms for cookery, music, art and woodwork, physics and science.
The headmaster was J.M. Archer-Thomson, a leading Welsh mountaineer.
The school later moved to Oxford Road and then it officially opened on September 25th 1907. World War 2 bought a crisis to the school because of the arrival of children of civil servants who had been evacuated from London.
By 1945, there were 1000 pupils making it one of the biggest schools in Wales. On the old site, new playing fields were bought in 1951, between the school and Conwy Road. This field was previously used to graze donkeys.
Over time the school was extended and became a comprehensive in 1969. The £50,000 extension was opened in 1979, when the total number of teachers became 71. In 2004, a new, top of the range building was built, and the old one demolished. The new building cost £20million.