On the site where The Cottage Loaf sits today used to be a bakehouse and warehouse belonging to ‘Dunphy & Sons’ which owned several grocery shops, bakeries and wine & spirit merchants in Llandudno, Craig-y-Don, Deganwy, Conwy & Penmaenmawr.
He married a Catherine nee Phillys of Penrhyn Old Hall, with whom they had four sons. Bernard who joined the Navy but lost his life in the First World War, Jack who became a vet and Richard and Arthur who joined their father Stephen in the grocery business. As times and the area changed so did the challenge of running Dunphy & Sons and sadly decided to close in 1972. The three storey building lay empty for many years but was purchased by Stange & Co and was partially demolished in May 1980 to allow for the conversion to a pub.
The building of the pub
Take a look at a newspaper article we found recently dating back to the 18th September 1980 reporting on the construction of ‘The Cottage Loaf’…we particularly like the quote from Bill our Chairman saying ‘People were very thirfty and gathered wreckage from the beach for building work’…this made us chuckle…..as many of our early projects often followed this mantra, maybe not the beach but bits would be reclaimed from wherever we could and assembled into something resembling a pub!
As the article describes many of the timbers that made up Dunphy’s bakery and warehouse came from a wrecked ship. It is thought that this was a Dutch Brigantine named Catharina which was wrecked on the beach in the middle of the bay in 1869, when she was on route from Runcorn to Riga carrying a cargo of salt. The warehouse was constructed shortly after.
It is also thought that some of the structural beams come from the demolition of Llandudno’s first pier in 1877, that was also destroyed in a storm some years earlier. The dimensions of some of the timbers are an exact match for the main pier supports, the stumps of which are still visible under the present pier. The two pillars holding up the pub’s porch, were most certainly from there.
Llandudno’s Lifeboat Sisters Memorial was launched on 4th November, 1869 to assist the Catharina which was being driven ashore by heavy seas and a north west gale. The crew of five were rescued, and landed on shore.
One of the people who witnessed this rescue was Lady Augusta Mostyn who had named Llandudno’s first lifeboat in 1861. She was so impressed by the gallantry of the lifeboat crew during this rescue, that she gave each one a golden half sovereign.
Lifeboat Crew on 4th November, 1869:
Hugh Jones (Coxswain), Edward Brookes, John Edwards, Jos Edwards, Thomas Williams, George Jones, George Williams, Richard Jones (brother to Hugh Jones), John Jones, William Owen, Ed Jones.
The majority of these timbers were salvaged again during it’s demolition and were reused for a third time in the building of The Cottage Loaf. The mast of the Catharina is clearly visible above you on the left as you enter the building from the front. You will see the original copper strip nailed around it. This strip prevented the boom from wearing out the mast as it swung to and fro. There is also an additional section of the mast standing through the bar and this time you will see the pulley where the ‘lines’(ropes to us landlubbers) would have run through.
We also managed to salvage the original cast iron doors and makers plaques from the ovens in the bakery which you will see dotted around the pub. The most obvious being those mounted on the front of the bar.
In keeping with the mantra of thrift and salvage…. the stone flooring came from streets of Liverpool, when much of it was being demolished in the name of ‘progress and development’! The solid elm flooring in the upper bar area came from the Lybro Jeans Factory in Liverpool when it closed down, the slates on our roof are from the Royal Liverpool Hospital. Even our latest edition the new garden room has a slate hearth salvaged from a billiard table that once sat proudly in a manor in Thorton Hough on the Wirral and the pitch pine beams overhead and above the fire also came from the demolition of the Royal Liverpool Hospital.
Opposite the bakehouse used to be Llandudno’s indoor market and fire station (above) which gave way via the wrecking ball, for the creation of the pay and display car park. You can see in the photos above how the view from the front of the pub has changed just a bit over the past 50 years!
The Cottage Loaf has since proudly remained under the family ownership of Stange & Co.
(Images and contributions courtesy of John Lawson-Reay)
The Anchors at the Helm of the Operation
Simon and Jayne Selby have run the Cottage Loaf for several years now taking what was a pub that had lost its way somewhat to a thriving traditional pub with a fantastic reputation. Simon has now relinquished his role as licensee and handed the reigns over to Jayne. As Simon has taken a central role with the company using his experience and expertise across The Cottage Loaf’s sister sites. Jayne now as licensee is still continuing to grow the reputation of the Loaf as one of the pubs in North Wales. “I love everything that we stand for at the Loaf: classic, traditional pub values….. a great pint and fine food in relaxing and cosy surroundings. Times change, fashions change but one thing that will always stand the test of time is a great pub.’
We don’t like to compromise on quality at the Loaf… the quality of our beer, the quality of our food or the quality of our service so we all work together to create the perfect balance. Our secret is to work hard in the background to make it look easy at the front!”
The Cottage Loaf is a charismatic and thriving country pub hidden away from the usual hustle and bustle of the town centre so next time you are in Llandudno be sure to pop in and say hello.