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Rydal Proparatory School (Pwllycrochan)

A Grade II Listed Building in Colwyn Bay, Conwy

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Latitude: 53.2932 / 53°17'35"N

Longitude: -3.7387 / 3°44'19"W

OS Eastings: 284203

OS Northings: 378771

OS Grid: SH842787

Mapcode National: GBR 2ZBC.C6

Mapcode Global: WH655.JHW6

Plus Code: 9C5R77V6+7G

Entry Name: Rydal Proparatory School (Pwllycrochan)

Listing Date: 25 July 1994

Last Amended: 25 July 1994

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 14704

Building Class: Education

Location: Prominently sited in an elevated position overlooking the town near the junction with Old Highway.

County: Conwy

Community: Colwyn Bay (Bae Colwyn)

Community: Colwyn Bay

Built-Up Area: Colwyn Bay

Traditional County: Denbighshire

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The nucleus of an estate, a pre-existing house was rebuilt when the heiress of the estate married Sir David Erskine in 1821, and it was again remodelled or rebuilt in 1841. Lady Erskine sold the estate in 1865, and the house was bought by Sir John Pender, a Manchester and Glasgow merchant who was responsible for the early exploitation of the estate as the site of a new resort. He opened the house as a hotel in 1866, and his agent, John Porter, bought it when Pender sold up following the collapse of his business interests in 1875. The house was massively extended and remodelled as a hotel in 1886-7, by the principal architects of Colwyn Bay’s development, Booth, Chadwick and Porter. The building was sold to Rydal School in 1952.


Roughcast render with stone dressings and slate roofs. The house of c1821-41 forms the right hand section of the present paired gables to either side of an advanced embattled entrance tower. 4-centred arched doorway with swing doors installed on conversion to hotel, and probably of c1900; oriel window above, and 2-light mullioned window with hood mould in the upper storey, below the embattled parapet of the tower. Wider outer gables each have 3-light mullioned and transomed windows on principal floors (the floor-length lower windows enriched with quatrefoil frieze in the woodwork), and 2-light mullioned and transomed windows in the upper storey. Inner gables have 2-light mullioned and transomed windows on each floor. Stone coped gables and parapet rear wing may be partly early C19, but was probably enlarged when the building was used as a hotel: dining room extension in the W-facing angle of the rear wing is certainly an addition of c1887, although the complex ground planning of this room, together with the adjoining room, suggest that it may have been the result of a series of extensions. Canted in plan, with embattled stone parapet and cupola on roof, with mullioned and transomed windows. Angled canted bay window to dining room to its rear.

In 1887-9, the original building was also massively extended towards the E. These additions, also 3-storeyed, comprised an asymmetrical 6 window range, with off-centre tower canted in plan. This has mullioned and transomed windows with leaded upper lights and drop-ended hood moulds. It terminates in machicolated parapet with corbelled turret; To its right, a canted angled bay window with hipped roof and a single window range adjoin the original building. To its left, a 2-window range, with 2 storey shallow bow window with embattled parapet. Advanced gable beyond, with paired sashes with high set transoms on each floor. 2-storeyed bay window wraps around the left-hand angle of this gable. Ground and first floor windows throughout have drop-ended hood moulds, and decorative leading and painted glass in the upper lights; moulded string course as cornice below the eaves.

Parallel rear range linked to the main range by the W wing originally formed part of the hotel outbuildings.


The interior appears to have been entirely remodelled when the building was in use as a hotel, and many of the surviving fittings are probably of c1890: the present library and dining room open off the main hall with rich timber and glass screens, and the dining room has a richly decorated interior with coupled columns, coffered ceiling, and central lantern with pained glass panels. Other notable hotel interiors include the gentlemen’s lavatories, which survive with most of their original fittings, and have richly tiled walls and a mosaic tiled floor.

Reasons for Listing

Pwllyrochan House is of special historical interest as the nucleus for the development of Colwyn Bay, both as emblem of the estate on which the town was developed, and as one of its principal hotels. The remaining interior detail is particularly notable.

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Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Walshaw
    Set back above the road, almost opposite the junction with Walshaw Avenue.
  • II Cotswold
    Between Oak Drive and Lansdowne Road.
  • II Penrhos College Junior School (Ratonagh)
    Set back from the road near the corner with King’s Drive.
  • II Brendon
    Next of Heathfield, just to the S of the junction with Combermere Road.
  • II Hunt House at Rydal School
    Faces Old House across a courtyard and adjoins the school dining hall on the S side of the yard.
  • II Heathfield
    At right angles to the road, almost opposite the junction with Combermere Road.
  • II Dining Hall at Rydal School
    Facing Pwllycrochan Avenue and forming the central range of the 2 courtyards which comprise the main buildings of Rydal School.
  • II Memorial Hall at Rydal School
    Forms two sides of courtyard on the E side of the school dining hall, and bounded by Landsdowne Road and Queen’s Drive.

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