Colwyn Bay (Welsh: Bae Colwyn) is a town, community and seaside resort in Conwy County Borough on the north coast of Wales overlooking the Irish Sea. It lies within the historic county of Denbighshire. Eight neighbouring communities are incorporated within its postal district. Established as its own separate parish in 1844 with just a small grouping of homes and farms where the community of Old Colwyn stands today, Colwyn Bay has expanded to become the second-largest community and business centre in the north of Wales as well as the 14th largest in the whole of Wales with the urban statistical area, including Old Colwyn, Rhos-on-Sea, and Mochdre and Penrhyn Bay, having a population of 34,284 at the 2011 census.
Colwyn Bay in March 2006
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||COLWYN BAY|
|Postcode district||LL28, LL29|
|Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament|
The name 'Colwyn' may be named after 'Collwyn ap Tangno' who was Lord of Eifionnydd, Ardudwy and part of the Llŷn peninsula, or the River Colwyn in Old Colwyn.
During WWII the Colwyn Bay Hotel, Marine Road (now demolished) was the headquarters of the Ministry of Food. This also housed the Cocoa & Chocolate division and was the communications hub for the ministry. They continued to use the hotel until 1953. Colwyn also supported the war effort by becoming a significant location for the diamond cutting and polishing industry, which was used to help fund the war effort.
Bay of Colwyn Town Council is a statutory body, covering the communities in the urban area. It is based at the old police station and magistrates court. The mayor for 2019 to 2020 is Councillor Neil Bastow. Conwy County Borough Council was based at the old civic centre in Colwyn Bay before moving to Coed Pella in Conway Road in Colwyn Bay in November 2018.
The town is situated about halfway along the north coast of Wales, between the sea and the Pwllycrochan Woods on the towering hillside. Groes yn Eirias (Welsh:Cross in Torch) was once a separate hamlet centred on the Glyn farmhouse (c1640) but the area is now occupied by the Glyn estate and Eirias Park.
As with the rest of the British Isles, Colwyn Bay experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters, and often high winds. The local climate is well known for the prevalence of Foehn winds - where winds from the South pass over the nearby mountains and warm and dry on their descent, leading to far higher temperatures than otherwise might be expected; the area held the Welsh high temperature record for February at 18.7 °C from 23 February 2012 to 24 February 2019.
|Climate data for Colwyn Bay 36m asl, 1981-2010|
|Record high °C (°F)||16.1
|Average high °C (°F)||8.5
|Average low °C (°F)||2.8
|Record low °C (°F)||−9.9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||74.7
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||56.2||81.8||115.0||162.8||209.0||185.6||189.6||174.7||135.2||108.2||59.9||44.1||1,522|
|Source: Met Office|
Prior to local government reorganisation on 1 April 1974 Colwyn Bay was a municipal borough with a population of around 25,000, but in 1974 this designation disappeared leaving five separate parishes, known as communities in Wales, of which the one bearing the name Colwyn Bay encompassed just the central part of the overall town and in the 2001 Census contained just 9,742 people, with the others as follows: Mochdre (1,862), Rhos-on-Sea (7,110), Glan Conwy (2,290), Old Colwyn (7,626) and Llysfaen (2,652). This gives a total figure for the six communities of 31,382, generally referred to as the population of Colwyn Bay, making it the 16th largest urban area in Wales and the second largest settlement in North Wales. Bringing 2011 figures into account that figure is now 33,549. The area is sometimes referred to by the name Bay of Colwyn.
According to the 2011 Census, 17.9% of the population aged three and above noted that they could speak Welsh. The Census also noted that 29.9% of the population who were born in Wales could speak Welsh.
Colwyn Bay hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1910 and 1947. Also The Victoria Pier hosted many dances and shows during the 20th century and became popular with touring bands and artistes through the 1960s up until the final gig there in August 2008.
The town has parks and gardens and a number of natural amenities such as Eirias Park. Colwyn Bay has received a gold award 8 times in the Wales in Bloom competition. In 2009 and 2010 the town has been invited to enter Britain in Bloom and has been awarded silver gilt in both years. The Welsh Mountain Zoo is nearby.
The Victoria Pier was closed to the public in 2009, when a dispute between Conwy County Borough Council and the pier's owner led to him being declared bankrupt. The fate of the pier was initially uncertain; the council hoped it would be "substantially" demolished for "health and safety and visual reasons to be able to re-open that section of the beach”. In January 2017, the lower end of the pier partially collapsed into the sea and Conwy Council subsequently announced plans to dismantle and store the pier, with a view of restoring it at a later date. The pier was finally demolished in May 2018.
Llety'r Dryw is a Grade II listed house in Abergele Road, built for the uncle of Anthony Eden and now used as the training centre for North Wales Police. Llys Euryn is a medieval manor house on Bryn Euryn, now in ruins. There are a number of buildings by notable local architect Sidney Colwyn Foulkes. These include Williams Deacon’s Bank 1925 and Colwyn House 1933-7 originally occupied by the W.S.Wood department store.
The town is served by Colwyn Bay railway station located in the town centre on the North Wales Coast Line with trains run by Transport for Wales and Avanti West Coast. The A55 road passes through the town, running parallel to the North Wales Coast Line.
Colwyn Bay has three secondary schools - one private and two state. Eirias High School is in Eirias Park and Ysgol Bryn Elian is in Old Colwyn. Ysgol Bryn Elian mainly serves Old Colwyn and Eirias High School mainly serves Colwyn Bay, Rhos on Sea and Penrhyn Bay.
Rydal Penrhos School is a Methodist public school, which is on multiple sites in the town. Fees at this elite public school exceeded more than £34,000 per year for boarding in 2021 and boasts the only Eton Fives courts in Wales. Former alumni include Princess Maria of Romania, a cousin of Prince Charles.
The town's primary schools are Ysgol Nant y Groes, Ysgol Pen-y-Bryn, Ysgol T Gwynn Jones, Ysgol Hen Golwyn, and Saint Joseph's R.C. Primary and the Welsh-language Ysgol Bod Alaw.
Churches in and around the town include the parish church St Paul's Church, St David's Welsh Church, St John the Baptist's Church, St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church and Christ Church, Bryn-y-Maen to the south of the town.
The local football team is Colwyn Bay F.C. who play in the Cymru North, the second tier of Welsh football. The local cricket team is Colwyn Bay Cricket Club who play at Penrhyn Avenue and the rugby union team is Colwyn Bay RFC. As of 2012, the RGC 1404 rugby team play at Eirias Stadium in Colwyn Bay as part of a development venture by the WRU.
Colwyn Bay Golf Club (now defunct) was founded in 1893. The club and course closed in 1959 and the land was used for a housing development.
The Black Cat Cycling Club, founded in 2014, is based in Colwyn Bay with members made up of cyclists from the town and the surrounding area.
- William Davies, a Welsh Roman Catholic priest and martyr, beatified in 1987. It is believed but not confirmed that he was born at Groes yn Eirias in 1555.
- Paula Yates, British television presenter and writer.
- Carl Dale, footballer for Chester City and Cardiff City, as well as several non-league clubs.
- James Bond actor Timothy Dalton.
- Richard Ellis, the California-based astronomer, was born and went to school in Old Colwyn
- Cricketer Tony Lewis who captained Glamorgan.
- MP Alun Michael.
- Soap star William Roache, (Ken Barlow in Coronation Street), who attended Rydal Penrhos, a private school in the town.
- Rachel Taylor - Welsh women's rugby international player
- Mickey Thomas who played for Manchester United, Chelsea, Shrewsbury Town and Wrexham lives in Mochdre.
- Mike Walker ex professional footballer and former manager of Everton FC and Norwich City FC
- Helen Willetts, a BBC weather reporter.
- Terry Jones actor, Comedian group of Monty Python
- The Vivienne drag queen, winner of season 1 RuPaul's Drag Race UK
- Ash Dykes Welsh adventurer and extreme athlete. Grew up in Old Colwyn.
- Mochdre, a village to the west that was originally part of the Borough.
- "Colwyn Bay Built-up area". Nomisweb.co.uk.
- The history of the parishes of Whiteford, and Holywell. quod.lib.umich.edu. October 2009. Archived from the original on 12 May 2018.
- "History Points - Penmaen Head, Old Colwyn". historypoints.org. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
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- Cadw. "Police station and magistrates court (14707)". National Historic Assets of Wales. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
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- "Flats plan for Conwy council's old civic centre". North Wales Pioneer. 6 September 2019. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
- "Flagship £58m Colwyn Bay Coed Pella base could be left partially empty". North Wales Pioneer. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
- Office, Met. "UK climate". Metoffice.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 3 January 2018.
- "Colwyn Bay 1981-2010 averages". Met Office. Archived from the original on 7 October 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "Comisiynydd y Gymraeg - 2011 Census results by Community". Comisiynyddygymraeg.cymru. Archived from the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
- "LC2206WA (Welsh language skills by country of birth by age) - Nomis - Official Labour Market Statistics". Nomisweb.co.uk. Archived from the original on 27 October 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
- "Dixieland – Colwyn Bay Pier". Link2wales.co.uk. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
- "Britain's ugliest new buildings named". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014.
- Powell, David (14 August 2016). "Ask Daily Post: What is going on with Colwyn Bay Pier?". dailypost.co.uk. Archived from the original on 1 November 2016.
- "Engineers assess collapsed Colwyn Bay Victoria Pier damage". BBC News. 2 February 2017. Archived from the original on 4 February 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
- "Collapsed Colwyn Bay Pier to be dismantled for 'protection'". BBC News. 11 February 2017. Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- "End of the pier as demolition completed at Colwyn Bay". BBC News. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- "[:en]Town Centre Heritage Walk[:cy]Llwybr Treftadaeth Canol y Dref[:]". Colwyn Bay Heritage. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
- "Sidney Colwyn Foulkes". Colwyn Bay Heritage. 15 August 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
- The Golden Age of Tramways. Published by Taylor and Francis.
- “Colwyn Bay Golf Club” Archived 27 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine, “Golf’s Missing Links”.
- "The Black Cat Cycling Club Club profile". British Cycling. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016.
- "Glamorgan Cricket". Glamorgan Cricket Tickets and Memberships. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
- Davies, William (d. 1593) Archived 5 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine at National Library of Wales Dictionary of Welsh Biography
- Squad Profiles: Wales Women Archived 11 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine at Welsh Rugby Union, 2012