View of the Llandudno seafront

from the Great Orme



History of Llandudno



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Theosophy and Llandudno

The Dion Fortune Connection



Dion Fortune


Dion Fortune was born in Llandudno, North Wales, as Violet Mary Firth on December 6th 1890. The name Dion Fortune come from her family motto “Deo non Fortuna” which means “God not Luck”


She was the daughter of parents with an active interest in the Christian Science and Garden City movements and the running of hydro-therapeutic establishments. Her interest in occultism was sparked in 1916 when, as a psychotherapist, she came across the startling work of Dr. Theodore Moriarty, who became her first esoteric teacher and inspired her series of short stories The Secrets of Dr Taverner.


Her  interest and involvement in psychoanalysis attracted her towards the occult by their apparent overlap. She Studied occultism under Dr. Theodore Moriarty and joined both the Theosophical Society and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1919, in the Alpha et Omega Lodge run by the novelist Brodie Innes.


Later she transferred to Stella Matutina Lodge of the Golden Dawn run by Moina MacGregor Mathers and developed mediumship capabilities in herself whilst continuing the occult/psychological interest.


Her writings in this period reflect this:













Her strong magical-psychological bias was modified by a powerful vision about the need to take on board the Christian dynamic, and she joined, somewhat reluctantly, the Christian Mystic Lodge of the Theosophical Society of which she soon become President. As a result however of strong disapproval of senior figures in the Theosophical Society, and the Golden Dawn, in her view, becoming moribund, she founded the Community of the Inner Light, first at Glastonbury and soon also with a headquarters in London. In 1927 she married Dr. Thomas Penry Evans.


Most of her subsequent non-fiction work first saw the light of day in The Inner Light Magazine and her inner development can be followed fairly straightforwardly from their titles.










The novels were an attempt to give practical exemplification to the theoretical principles given in her important textbook THE MYSTICAL QABALAH.


At the outbreak of war she continued in difficult circumstances, (including being bombed out of her headquarters temporarily), to keep the Fraternity going with a series of Weekly Letters and after the restructuring of the group in 1942 in readiness for the post-war epoch by a series of Monthly Letters, paper rationing having put a stop to magazine and book publication. She also continued work on the novel MOON MAGIC. Her writings of this time have been collected and edited by Gareth Knight under the titles of




PRINCIPLES OF HERMETIC PHILOSOPHY (which includes "Esoteric Principles of Astrology"). Teaching upon the Arthurian Tradition that she initiated at this time has been incorporated into THE SECRET TRADITION IN ARTHURIAN LEGEND by Gareth Knight.


In early January 1946 Dion Fortune returned from Glastonbury feeling tired and unwell. She died of leukemia at the Middlesex Hospital, London on January 8th 1946, at the age of 55





Llandudno is a seaside resort and town on the North Wales coast between Conwy and Colwyn Bay, and at the 2001 census had a population of 20,090 including that of Penrhyn Bay and Penrhynside, which are within the Llandudno Community. The town is just off the North Wales Coast railway line which was opened as the Chester and Holyhead Railway in 1848, became part of the London and North Western Railway in 1859, and part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923. Llandudno was specifically built as a mid-Victorian era holiday destination and is served by a branch railway line opened in 1858 from Llandudno Junction with stations at Deganwy and Llandudno.


Llandudno is styles as the Queen of the Welsh Resorts, a title first implied as early as 1864 is now the largest seaside resort in Wales, and lies on a flat land between the Welsh mainland and the Great Orme peninsula. Llandudno, historically part of Caernarvonshire, has been in recent years a part of Aberconwy within Gwynedd and from 1996 has been part of Conwy County Borough.


Modern Llandudno takes its name from the ancient parish of Saint Tudno but also encompasses several neighbouring townships and districts including Craig-y-Don, Llanrhos, and Penrhyn Bay. Also nearby is the small town and marina of Deganwy and these last four are in the traditional parish of Llanrhos. The ancient geographical boundaries of the Llandudno area are complex. Although they are on the eastern side of the River Conwy (the natural boundary between Caernarvonshire and Denbeighshire), the ancient parishes of Llandudno, Llanrhos and Llangystennin (which includes Llandudno Junction) were in Caernarvonshire. Today, Deganwy and Llandudno Junction are part of the town community of Conwy even though they are across the river from Conwy and linked to Conwy only by a causeway and a bridge.


Llandudno Bay and the North Shore


This wide sweep of sand and shingle extends two miles in a graceful curve between the headlands of the Great Orme and the Little Orme.


For most of the distance on Llandudno's North Shore there is a wide curving Victorian promenade separated from the roadway by a strip of garden. The road, collectively known as The Parade, has a different name for each block and it is on these parades and crescents that many of Llandudno's hotels are built.


Near the centre of the bay is the North Wales Theatre and next to it The North Wales Conference Centre. The Llandudno Yacht Club and a roundabout mark the end of this section of The Parade and beyond are more hotels and guest houses but they are in the township of Craig-y-Don.


At Nant-y-Gamar road, The Parade becomes Colwyn Road with the fields of Bodafon Hall Farm on the landward side but with the promenade continuing until it ends in a large paddling pool for children and finally the Craigside residential development on the lower slopes of the Little Orme.


Llandudno Pier


The town's award winning pier is on the North Shore; it was built in 1878, and is 1,234 feet in length and a Grade II listed building.


Looking back towards the town from the end of the pier, on a clear day one can see the mountains of Snowdonia rising over the town. A curious major extension of the pier in 1884 was in a landwards direction along the side of the Grand Hotel to provide a new entrance with a pier pavilion theatre at the North Parade end of the promenade, thus increasing the pier's length to 2,295 feet.


In the summer, Professor Codman's Punch and Judy show (established in 1860) can be found on the promenade near the entrance to the Pier.


The Great Orme


This great limestone headland has many attractions for the tourist including the Great Orme Tramway that takes tourists effortlessly to the summit.


Two features of the Great Orme should be mentioned here because the both start at the end of the promenade where North Parade becomes for a short distance Happy Valley Road, which in its turn becomes the Marine Drive.


Happy Valley


The Happy Valley, a former quarry, was the gift of Lord Mostyn to the town in celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. The area was landscaped and developed as gardens, two miniature golf courses, a putting green, a popular open air theatre and extensive lawns. The ceremonies connected with the Welsh National Eisteddfod were held there in 1896 and again in 1963. In June 1969, The Great Orme Cabin Lift, a modern alternative to the tramway, was opened with its base station adjacent to the open air theatre. The distance to the summit is just over one mile and the four-seater cabins travel at six m.p.h. on a continuous steel cable over two miles long. It is the longest single stage cabin lift in Britain and the longest span between pylons is over 1,000 feet. The popularity of the 'Happy Valley Enertainers' open air theatre having declined, the theatre closed in 1985 and likewise the two miniature golf courses closed and were converted in 1987 to create a 280 metre artificial ski slope and toboggan run. The gardens were extensively restored as part of the resort's millennium celebrations and remain a major attraction.


Marine Drive


The first route round the perimeter of the Great Orme was a footpath constructed in 1858 by Reginald Cust a Trustee of the Mostyn Estate. In 1872 the Great Ormes Head Marine Drive Co. Ltd. was formed to turn the path into a carriage road. Following bankruptcy, a second company completed the road in 1878. The contractors for the scheme were Messrs Hughes, Morris, Davies, a consortium led by Richard Hughes of Llandudno. The road was bought by Llandudno Urban District Council in 1897.[3] The four mile drive (it is one way only) starts at the foot of the Happy Valley and is a pleasant drive or an excellent walk. After about one and a half miles, a side road leads to St. Tudno's Church, the Great Orme Bronze Age Copper Mine, and the Summit of the Great Orme. But, continuing on the Marine Drive one passes the Great Orme Lighthouse (no longer operational) and at the half way point the 'Rest and be thankful' Café is very popular with both walkers and motorists.


West Shore


The West Shore is the quiet beach on the estuary of the River Conwy. It was here at Pen Morfa that Alice Liddell (of Alice in Wonderland fame) spent the long summer holidays of her childhood from 1862 to 1871. There are few hotels and a few quiet residential streets. The West Shore is linked to the North Shore by Gloddaeth Avenue, a wide dual carriageway.


Mostyn Street


Running behind the promenade is Mostyn Street leading to Mostyn Broadway and then Mostyn Avenue. These are the main shopping streets of Llandudno and Craig-y-Don. Mostyn Street accommodates the high street shops, the major banks and building societies, two churches, amusement arcades and the town public library. The latter is the starting point for the Town Trail a carefully planned walk to facilitate the viewing of Llandudno in an historical perspective.


Victorian Extravaganza


Every year in May Bank Holiday weekend, Llandudno has a great three-day Victorian Carnival and Mostyn Street becomes a fairground. Madoc Street and Gloddaeth Street and the Promenade become part of the route each day of a mid-day carnival parade. The Bodafon Farm fields become the location of a Festival of Transport for the weekend.


Alice in Wonderland


Llandudno has a link with Lewis Carroll; because the family of the "real Alice" regularly spent holidays at their holiday-home Penmorfa, later the Gogarth Abbey Hotel and recently the Penmorfa Hotel on the West Shore of Llandudno. Contrary to local myth, Alice Liddell did not meet Carroll in the town, and was not told the Alice stories in the town.[4] It is, however, just possible that she may have first read the Alice books in print while on holiday in the town. There is no evidence that Carroll ever visited Penmorfa, and he probably would have been unwelcome if he had. Indeed, there is contrary evidence; a letter exists, written by one of Alice Liddell's sisters when grown-up, saying she had no memory of Carroll ever visiting the girls in Llandudno.


Venue Cymru


The North Wales Theatre, Arena and Conference Centre, built in 1994, extended in 2006 and renamed "Venue Cymru" is located near the centre of the promenade on Penrhyn Crescent. It is noted for its productions of Opera, Orchestral Concerts, Ballet, Musicals, Drama, Circus, Ice Shows and Pantomimes.


Llandudno Lifeboat


Llandudno is unique within the United Kingdom in that its lifeboat station is located inland, allowing it to launch with equal facility from either the West Shore or the North Shore as needed. Llandudno's active volunteer crews are called out more than ever with the rapidly increasing numbers of small pleasure craft sailing in coastal waters. The Llandudno Lifeboat is normally on display on the promenade every Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from May until October.


Early History of Llandudno


The town of Llandudno developed from stone age, bronze age and iron age settlements over many hundreds of years on the slopes of the limestone headland, known to seafarers as the Great Orme and to landsmen as the Creuddyn peninsular. The origins in recorded history are with the Manor of Gogarth conveyed by King Edward I to Annan, Bishop of Bangor in 1284. The manor comprised three townships, Y Gogarth in the south-west, Y Cyngreawdr in the north (with the parish church of St. Tudno) and Yn Wyddfid in the south-east. By 1847 the town had grown to a thousand persons served by the new church of St. George, built in 1840, the great majority of the men working in the copper mines with others employed in fishing and subsistence agriculture.


In 1848, Owen Williams, an architect and surveyor from Liverpool, presented Lord Mostyn with plans to develop the marsh lands behind Llandudno Bay as a holiday resort. These were enthusiastically pursued by Lord Mostyn. The influence of the Mostyn Estate and its agents over the years was to become paramount in the development of Llandudno and especially after the appointment of George Felton as surveyor and architect in 1857. During the years 1857 to 1877 much of central Llandudno was developed under Felton's supervision. George Felton also undertook architectural design work including the design and execution of Holy Trinity Church in Mostyn Street.






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