Author Topic: Llandudno's Aquarium that never was....  (Read 2964 times)

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Offline DaveR

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Llandudno's Aquarium that never was....
« on: November 21, 2014, 09:15:39 am »
When looking back in history, it's always interesting to see the ambitious plans for new buildings that never became reality due to problems of one sort or another.

Back in March 1877, plans were announced in the Building News for a Llandudno Gardens & Aquarium, to be built roughly where the Arcadia Theatre used to be (left hand section of what is now VenueCymru on the Promenade).

Architect's impression of Llandudno Gardens & Aquarium

Costing £25,000 and designed by Driver & Rew, of London, the building contained a Winter garden constructed of iron and glass on its upper floor, with a large Aquarium constructed of brick and slate in the basement below. At the centre of the building was a 60ft high Dome, that would certainly soon have become a Llandudno landmark. Surrounding the building was to be a small park, surrounded by railings. It was also planned that thirty or forty mansions 'of a suitable character' were to be built to either side of the Winter Gardens and the land had already been reserved.

Plan of Basement Aquarium

So why was it never built? History doesn't record the reason, but a seaside resort can only support so many attractions and projects of this nature. Could it be that the Llandudno Pier Company's plans for the Pier Pavilion (eventually built 1884-1886) scuppered this project?

It's also interesting to speculate as to what would have happened to it if it had been built all those years ago. Possibly a devastating fire in the 1960s or 70s would have finished it off? Maybe it would have limped on into the 1980s with the aquarium being rebranded a SeaLife Centre and the Winter Gardens themselves being used for roller skating or similar, then it would have been demolished in the 1990s after the local Council deemed the structure unsafe...

Originally published in July 2010