We have been introduced to the pleasures of Llanfairfechan by Jon Savage, the historian of Punk. It’s a beautiful, early twentieth-century model development, designed by Herbert North, who lived here (his grandfather, Richard Luck, settled here in the 1850s), having previously worked as an assistant to Lutyens. He published books on The Old Cottages of Snowdonia and The Old Churches of Snowdonia.
His own house, Wern Isaf, but previously called ‘Rosebriers’ is the best, up on the hill and constructed on a curious inverted butterfly plan and beautifully preserved, with elaborate arts-and-crafts detailing, not big. This is his signature over the front door:
Next is the Church Institute, down in the village, which North designed free of charge and where he liked to perform pageants. They would have performed Under Milk Wood this year if it hadn’t been banned by the Thomas estate. It was opened in 1911, incorporated a rifle range during the first world war, and still has a strong atmosphere of pre-war village life:
Beyond is the Churchmen’s Club, built in 1927 for the Church of England Men’s Society and now surrounded by chickens:
Above the Church Institute is The Close, a planned development of model houses, each of which was expected to cost no more than £1,000. £1,000 could buy you a lot in those days – a small garden, a hipped-roof garage, an inglenook, all designed in a spirit of art-and-crafts utopianism. Everyone was out trimming their hedges: