History in Structure

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The Friends Meeting House

A Grade II Listed Building in Colwyn Bay, Conwy

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.2932 / 53°17'35"N

Longitude: -3.7207 / 3°43'14"W

OS Eastings: 285407

OS Northings: 378739

OS Grid: SH854787

Mapcode National: GBR 2ZGC.86

Mapcode Global: WH655.THF7

Plus Code: 9C5R77VH+7P

Entry Name: The Friends Meeting House

Listing Date: 25 August 2020

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 87796

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Set back from the street in its own grounds.

County: Conwy

Town: Colwyn Bay

Community: Colwyn Bay (Bae Colwyn)

Community: Colwyn Bay

Built-Up Area: Colwyn Bay

Traditional County: Denbighshire

History

A Friends meeting was established in Colwyn Bay in 1894, when the town was emerging as a coastal resort. The meeting house was purpose-built in 1899 and incorporated a small caretaker’s house. A tablet inside the building records that it was built on behalf of Thomas Barlow by his widow. Barlow was a major landowner in the town and his family owned the meeting house until it was conveyed to the Society of Friends in 1987. Minor additions were made to the rear in 2006 and solar panels were installed in 2013.

Exterior

Chapel in red brick, with stone dressings, under a red-tile roof behind coped gables, probably of deliberate modesty and simplicity. Five bay buttressed front, facing E, with large round-headed windows with wooden glazing bars, except for the L-hand bay which has two small sash windows in an otherwise blind round-headed opening. In the narrower central bay is a porch with round-headed doorway, which has a continuous moulding, and double panelled doors. The N gable end of the meeting house is plain except for a round window with Art Nouveau stained glass and leadwork and wooden glazing bars. Cast iron rainwater goods.

The rear is of plain brick, but the bays are defined by buttresses and there are large round-headed windows similar to the front, and central panelled rear door under a round-headed window. A flat-roofed projection in the bay R of centre was added in 2006.

The caretaker’s house is on the S (L) side, and has a 3-window front with 2-pane sash windows under stone lintels and half-glazed field-panel door under an added projecting canopy. An integral 1-storey projection on the L side has a hipped roof.

Interior

Two meeting rooms separated by a cross passage with moveable pine panelled screens on either side. The panels are glazed at the top and fitted with brass handles; a steel track set into the floor enables the hinged panels to fold open. The ministers’ stand at the north end of the large meeting room has a panelled pine front with moulded handrail on brass supports, with folding table on the rear face, a fixed pine bench and panelling to the back wall. The glass pendant lamps may be original.

There are five original pine pews placed around the walls, but the majority of the original pews have been removed. Inside the porch is a granite tablet recording the building of the meeting house in 1899. The roof is ceiled at collar-beam level, up to which the bracketed trusses are exposed. Panel doors lead into the caretaker’s house.

Reasons for Listing

A rare example in Wales of a purpose-built late C19 Quaker meeting house retaining a layout and interior that expresses the Friends’ past approach to worship and meetings.

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