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Llandudno is a large town on the North-Wales coast and in the county borough of Conwy. It has a permanently-resident population of approximately 20,000 who are mainly of pensionable age. The town is a popular tourist resort and also acts as a retail centre for many outlying towns and villages.
The town fronts Llandudno Bay, between the limestone headlands of the Great Orme and the Little Orme. Traces of prehistoric and Roman occupation have been found on the Great Orme, the summit of which is accessible by tramway, cable lift, road, and nature trail; wild goats live on its slopes. There are caves around the base of the Little Orme.
The town, set in a former fishing and copper-mining region, was developed around the railroad in the second half of the 19th century as an elegant, dignified resort characterised by wide boulevards and gracious Victorian buildings. It was in Llandudno that Charles Dodgson (
Lewis Carroll) told Alice Liddell the stories on which he based Alice in Wonderland. Llandudno in modern times has become somewhat commercialised and is very popular with tourists.
A Brief History of Llandudno
Llandudno - which is now on the Creuddyn Peninsula, a small jut on the North-Wales coast was, about 300 million years ago, in a tropical climate covered in warm shallow seas. When these seas evaporated, calcium carbonate was formed over time producing layers of carboniferous limestone. This process formed Llandudno's most prominent features, the so-called Ormes, the Little Orme and the Great Orme
. These are headlands either side of Llandudno Bay, one of which, the Great Orme
is the Original settlement in Llandudno.
Since this time many changes have occurred to the landscape including glaciation. As well as glaciers flowing down the mountains from further inland, large amounts of ice broke off Scottish ice fields and flowed down the Irish Sea. These pieces of ice shaped the Ormes as well as depositing the numerous glacial erratics that can be seen on the Ormes today.
The limestone that was created so long ago made the headland of the Great Orme an ideal habitat for early inhabitants. Llandudno was first inhabited c. 200,000 B.C. by Early-Stone-Age man in the Palaeolithic Era. At this time the modern
Llandudno was submerged only the Ormes were above sea level. The early inhabitants' remains, tools and hut circles can still be found today on Pen-y-Dinas (a secondary peak of the Great Orme), and, also, on parts of the Little Orme and Nant-y-Gamar Ridge (a third hill located inland from the Little Orme). The Great Orme was also inhabited in the Bronze, Iron and Roman Ages when it was heavily mined for copper. These mines where only heavily mined again in the 19th Century, and Some of the mines have now been re-opened in recent years and form a tourist attraction. Along with its other archaeological, geological and ecological heritage, as well as its tramway, ski-slope, cable car, toboggan and rock-climbing opportunities, these make the Great Orme a prime tourist site and asset to the town. Incidentally the name,
Orme, Nordic for
serpent, was given to these two mountains by Viking settlers who thought the Creuddyn Peninsula looked like a serpent with the Great Orme at its head.
Llandudno was given its name in the period between the Roman rule and conquest by the Saxons when many Christian missionaries went to Wales to preach. One of these, St. Tudno, founded St. Tudno's Church as well as a monastic compound.
Llan is Welsh for an area associated with a Church (originally a sacred enclosure) hence the name,
Llan Tudno, the area around St. Tudno's Church. This is mutated to the name which has been used ever since, originally to refer to the Great Orme, but now to refer to the town situated on the Creuddyn Peninsula.
Llandudno only became a large-scale town situated in the Creuddyn Peninsula as opposed to on the Great Orme in recent years due to the realisation by Lord Mostyn of its potential for tourism. It was a small fishing and mining village before an enclosure order offered it to the Mostyn family in 1843. The year after, the secretary of the mining company, John Williams, suggested to Lord Mostyn over dinner that it would make an ideal area for a tourist resort of the sort becoming more popular with Victorians of the time. The habit of bathing in and drinking mineral water had become more common due to a general concern of Victorians for their health, much like the Romans in earlier times. Llandudno�s warm, dry climate compared with other places in Wales; the flatness of the land; the development of the railways, and its coastal position all made the town an ideal site for the development of a tourist resort. Hon. E. M. L. Mostyn, also the area's MP, proposed an act of parliament to allow the Mostyns control over development of the area. This bill became The Llandudno Improvements Act in 1854. The first hotel, St. George's, also opened in 1854. The resort's development was typical of others of this era such as Brighton. Llandudno is still a
honey pot today with its vast tourist industry.