Evidence of the origins of Cei Llechi can be found as far back as 1611, where according to maps, it appeared to be a levelled area with a face cut into the bed-rock on the east bank of the river Seiont. Eighteenth century views of the area such as Richard Wilson’s painting Caernarfon Castle (1745) also depict various activities such as netting and boat-repair taking place in this area:

Around 1780, this area was developed into a ‘quay’ of sorts by Thomas Hughes, a local merchant. Wheelbarrows were later introduced by Robert Griffith, a psalm-singer from Llanbeblig church, to move the slates and planks to slide them down into the vessels’ holds.

Established in 1793, The Caernarvon Harbour Trust soon built a wharf immediately adjacent to the castle, and around 1805 a ‘New Wharf’ to the south followed. Later construction joined them and by the 1830s, the whole area was bustling with copper, lead and coal-bins, ship and wood yards, limekilns and foundries.

In 1840 the Harbour Trust office was added to the north-westerly end to the design of John Lloyd, architect of Caernarfon, and David Williams’ iconic clock was also incorporated into the original front which still stands to date.

The quay became an important part of the area’s transportation system as it enjoyed a direct rail connection to the Nantlle quarries from 1828 and to the national rail network from the 1860s.

The distinctive group of structures forming present-day Cei Llechi have gone through considerable changes over the centuries, hosting a variety of spaces, skills and trades such as:

  • offices
  • a block and pump maker’s workshop
  • coach house
  • blacksmith’s shop
  • coal yard
  • sheds & yeards
  • warehouses

Cei Llechi was also home to the De Winton office, the most famous of Caernarfon’s engineering firms and a major supplier of equipment to North Wales’ slate quarries.

Tying the old and the new, modern-day Cei Llechi will offer a place to create, experience and buy and sell. The “new” Cei Llechi will provide a space for makers to design/build and sell their products, bringing manufacturing (albeit on a smaller scale to the olden days) back to this important area of the town.

© 2019 Cei Llechi. Website by Delwedd