a brief history...
An early start
The cafe was built in 1908, following the completion of the Orme's Marine Drive in 1878, by Hogan Hughes. It initially consisted of a simple shed, with no services, and functioned in that form for more than 60 years. In the 1980s the shed was removed and the new cafe built, which became what is now the smaller of the cafe's two rooms. Electricity and a 'phone line were supplied but no water. This had to be brought up to the cafe in plastic containers by the owners.
In 1993 a 'Great Storm' hit Llandudno, flooding 1850 homes and forcing the evacuation of 3000 people. It was caused by a slow-moving and severe thunderstorm, which centred on the Orme, depositing 5" of rain in about two hours. One major effect of that was to wash away significant tracts of land above and below the Marine Drive, ensuring its closure for over a year, and effectively driving the owners of the cafe at that time out of business. The cafe was subsequently bought by a local businessman of Polish extraction, who was also a founder member of the Llandudno Heritage Trust - a philanthropic organisation dedicated to the improvement of Llandudno. In 1999 the Trust itself bought the cafe, and applied for a grant from the EU to extend the building, which was successful, affording the creation of the larger room and an indoor toilet. However, the problem of water - or the lack of it - remained.
In 2001 Ffynnon Gaseg, a spring whose name literally means "Mare's well", was tapped. The spring had been discovered in the 19th Century during the construction of the Marine Drive and had been ideally situated to refresh the horses on the five mile carriage drive round the Great Orme.
Today the water is piped from the spring to two huge underground tanks in the car park from where it is pumped to two smaller tanks: the first serves the toilet and wash basin, while the second is a specialised container from where the water is sterilised and filtered before being used in the cafe itself.