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Our story

The Glengower's journey

Victorian villas form seaside retreat

The Glengower forms part of Victoria Terrace at the north end of Aberystwyth’s grand Victorian promenade.

"The Glen" as it is affectionately known has evolved over many years but is fundamentally made up of the conversion of two seafront Victorian terraced villas. 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.


1860s Prom


Extension of the Promenade

In 1870s the promenade only stretched from the University College of Wales (south end near the Pier) to the Queen's Hotel (north end near Constitution Hill). The university of Wales was built in 1795 by John Nash and is a Grade I listed building. Before this, stood Castle House on the land. The college still remains part of the university today.

The promenade was extended towards Constitution Hill at the end of the 19th century and in 1901-04 the great sea wall around Castle Point from the Pier to South Marine Terrace was built. The stone came from Ystrad Meurig Quarry, bought by the council in 1881. The completion of this section made the promenade a mile-and-a-quarter long. The South Promenade extension was completed in 1931.

(Photo credit: Prom around 1860. Bath house of 1810 to the right. The plot to the left of where the prom extension terminates would be used for the Queen's Hotel in 1866.

Aberystwyth beach early 1900s D97 P9 J

Early 20th century

Pre World War I

The boatmen of Aberystwyth enjoyed their heyday before World War I. 70 rowing boats were kept on the beach for summer visitors to enjoy, plus six sailing yachts, three sailing boats, four motor boats and a steamer offering trips to Aberdyfi. Many of these boatmen were Naval Reservists and served in the war. Appropriately, a memorial to Aberystwyth's war dead was built at Castle Point, overlooking the sea. Until World War II the promenade consisted largely of hotels and boarding houses.

During the war the Government took over other hotels and boarding houses but few were later put back to their original purpose. The council tried in vain to prevent the loss of holiday accommodation on the promenade.

(Photo credit: Alamy)

Sir john williams


A notable resident

The Glengower occupies two former houses. The northernmost house (on the left as you look from the pavement) was built c.1870 and named Snowdon House. It was a lodging house until the proprietor, Mrs Kensit, moved in 1882 to bigger premises in Ocean View, the house next door (now the other half of the Glengower). Later it was home to stonemason John Jenkins, who owned slate quarries north of Aberystwyth and was once the town’s mayor.

Sir John Williams 1st Baronet, of the City of London, president 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. He paid £1,530 at auction for Snowdon House. He renamed it Blaen Llynant, after his childhood home, Blaenllynant, in Gwynfe, Carmarthenshire.


Old postercrp


3/4 Victoria Terrace

Originally two separate lodging houses/apartments - 3 Victoria Terrace was 'Ocean View House' and No 4 was 'Snowdon House'. No 4 was run by a Mrs W H Kensit up until 1882 when she moved into the larger No 4.

One of them seems to have become the Glengower before 1934, but the OS 25-inch map of 1969 indicates that 3 and 4 were still separate. They were combined into a single hotel in the late 1970s.



Severe storms

In January and February, 1938, storms washed away much of Victoria Terrace. Sea defence continued to be a major headache for the council and in the 1960s it was found necessary to deposit shale from Constitution Hill on to the beach to protect Victoria Terrace. Meanwhile the promenade was extended northwards a little.

Until about 1940, Aberystwyth's chief popularity was as a resort where families spent a week or a fortnight, often returning in successive years.

(Photo credit:

Aberystwyth prom


The Glengower was born

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.

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


Glen Gower leaving Newhaven
First Eastbourne steamer notice 1937 John Megoran collection


The origin of the "Glengower"

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.




Under our stewardship

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 Glengower has flourished in its new reincarnation.

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With a number of changes over the years and a few nip and tucks, we decided it was time to give the pub a bit of an overhaul investing in a new larger commercial kitchen, an overhaul of the bar area and adding some cosy drinking and dining areas throughout the pub. Our 16 bedrooms have also been refurbished over recent years offering a warm and homely stay.

We feel now that the Glengower is the perfect local's local as much as it is the visitors retreat. Sat right on the stunning Promenade adds to its unique and charming character.


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Stange & Co. Ltd
Registered Office: 19 Trinity Square,
Llandudno, LL30 2RD
Company registered number: 639690
VAT number: 160 2262 07

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