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Our history

sir john williams

Sir John Williams 1st Baronet of the city of London – Wikipedia photo

‘The Glengower’ has evolved over many years but is fundamentally made up the conversion of two seafront Victorian terraced villas. The most northerly of which was named ‘Blaenllynant’, interestingly this was the home to Sir John Williams 1st Baronet, of the City of London, founder of the National Library of Wales, physician to the Royal family and more interestingly one of the suspects in the Jack the Ripper case. The case for which is covered in the book ‘Uncle Jack’ by Tony Williams.

As with many seaside resorts the grand villas and houses of Victorian industrialists and statesmen, became too large and expensive for a single family to inhabit and so got converted into B&Bs, guesthouses, or boarding houses. This happened to many houses along the front at Aberystwyth. One of these was the Glengower guesthouse on Victoria Terrace. It is unclear as to where the name came from, the only local reference to the name being a paddle steamer called The Glen Gower built in Scotland in 1922 to operate between resorts in South Wales and Ilfracombe in Devon. Other than when she was requisitioned as ‘HMS Glenmore’ in the Second World War. The only other Glengower reference is the slightly less local South Wales of the ‘New’ variety, Glengower being a small town in New South Wales….in Australia.

In the 1980s the building next door to the Glengower was purchased and the two properties were combined to create the Glengower as it appears today.

The Glengower was purchased by us in 2001 at which point it was a very different animal, a student nightclub offering “pound parties” and “vodka redbull” nights, complete with bouncers, DJs, disco balls and even a pole on the dance floor. Not really being our bag, and what we thought of as a bit of a waste of such a beautiful building in such a great spot, we sailed the Glengower into more familiar waters of quality food and drink and smart guest bedrooms. There were differing opinions at the time, our neighbours were delighted, the students dismayed, and most thought we were mad, the Glengower being synonymous with cheap student nights and late night dancing for many years. But we saw the potential in the old girl for quality hospitality and persevered. We even featured on the front page of the local paper at the time for our ‘radical’ decision. Thankfully we’ve enjoyed a following wind and a cracking crew and the Glen has flourished in its new reincarnation.