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Walking Trail around New York Cottages
This short trail shows how the quarrying industry dominated the development of this part of Penmaenmawr in the nineteenth century. ‘New York’ cottages were the first to be built in the open fields between Plas Celyn and Plas Mawr in the 1840’s by the then owner of Graiglwyd Quarry. By the end of the century as the Graiglwyd Quarry prospered especially under the ownership of the Darbishire family, buildings replaced the steep fields. This walk takes about 30 minutes and has some steep sections.
1) New York Cottages – the beginning of the trail.
From New York Cottages turn right towards the town centre
and stop at New York Bridge.
2) New York Bridge
Beneath the bridge today can be seen the conveyor which carries aggregate to the railway loading hoppers near the shore.
The conveyor replaced the self activating incline on which loaded wagons, on their way down to the shipping jetty
and railway hoppers, pulled up empty wagons on their noisy journey to be reloaded.
The half-sphere formed stones on the bridge parapets are a testimony to the skill of sett makers.
At the Bridge cross the road and turn left. The cottages are now to your left on the opposite side of the road.
3) The Stables
Below the railways to your right once stood two of the New York Cottages which served for many years as local council workshops and stores. In 1872, the stables were used as ‘isolation wards’ fro those suffering from smallpox
Continue until you come to the old National School.
4) The National School
The National School was built between 1872-4 for Boys & Girls aged 4 to 14. From 1930 the New York School, as it was known, became an Infant/Primary school when eleven year olds were moved to Charles Darbishire Secondary School
(Pencae). It finally closed down in 1961 and the school moved to Ysgol Pencae.
Since then it has been a community centre,
clinic and youth club.
5) Eglwys Dewi Sant
Adjoining the school is Eglwys Dewi Sant which was completed in 1897 in answer to a need for a Welsh language Anglican Church. Previously, Welsh language services had been held in the ‘Mission Hall’ in Penmaenan.
From the Church look at the two buildings across the road.
6) Army Cadets Hall and Cepel Seion
To the left the new brick building houses the Army Cadets H.Q. The previous building on the site,
a large corrugated iron called the Drill Hall, was built sometime in the 1890’s by CH Darbishire.
It became the H.Q. for the local Volunteers (Territorials) which Dirbishire himself led. For a while it was called
St. David’s Town Hall.
To its right and directly opposite Eglwys Dewi Sant is Capel Seion.
The Baptist congregation ceased to use the chapel in the 1970’s and it is now used as a carpenters workshop.
Cross Bangor road and walk up St. David’s Road.
7) Site of the Head Office
The empty area to the right once contained the Head Office (Offis Fawr) of the Penmaenmawr and Welsh Granite Company. Originally this was a villa called “Talarfor”. The offices were vacated in the 1970’s and later destroyed by fire.
Above this area at the end of a narrow passage is ‘Roy Hall’. This was built and presented to the Boy Scouts of the town in 1930 by Colonel Darbishire and named Roy after his grandson. Unfortunately the cub/scouts group folded in 2001.
8) Quarry Housing Schemes
The terraced houses to the right and left of St David’s road were built by the Graiglwyd Company.
The upper row of St David’s Terrace on your left was built for staff in 1900. The lower row was built later as can be seen by its contrasting style.
Erasmus Street and David’s Street were built in 1897-9 to house the quarrymen and their families.
These terraced houses were built by Erasmus Jones of Llanfairfechan and his son David hence the name of the streets.
At the top of St. David’s road is ‘Top Steps’. Here a 25 ton gantry crane was constructed in 1931
to lift new heavy machinery into the quarry area.
Turn left along David’s Street until you reach the incline. Follow the incline downhill until you come to an open area.
9) Cae Bach
This is ‘Cae Bach’ which was the informal playground of children for many years. In 1970 an equipped playing filed was established and named after Charles (Charlie) Clarke in recognition of his 100th Birthday.
Mr Clarke took an active part in the social life of the town and was well respected by the children of the area.
Go through Cae Bach into David’s Lane.
10) Hewn Hall
Below the plaque and small garden dedicated to Mr Clarke is the Masonic Hall.
Known originally as Hewan Hall this was yet another hall presented by C.H Darbishire, to the young men of the town.
At first is was a social centre but later became known as the practice room of the Penmaenmawr Silver Band.
It became the Masonic Hall in 1960.
11) The Old Co-op
To the left is Maen Alaw. This was originally the main premises of the New York Co-operative Society.
Built in 1887 it replaced the original Co-operative store at No 2 New York Cottages. It finally closed its doors in 1971.
More recently it has become known as Maen Alaw, a community and drop-in centre.
12) New York Cottages
To the right, the empty area and Masonic Hall car park was the site of ‘Springfield’ one of the New York Cottages.
At its eastern gable was to be found the smithy while next to the gable end of the existing cottages was the
little corrugated iron tuck shop, “Siop Tommy Hughes” and later “Siop Gwenda”.
Turn right on Bangor. You have now returned to the cottages which have given their unusual name to this small area of industrial Penmaenmawr.
The walk was kindly given by Mr D Roberts