History & Regeneration

Cei Llechi (1611 – 2022)

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 a painting by Richard Wilson (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.

In 1793 an Act of Parliament enabled the formation of Caernarfon Harbour Trust. The trust created a new slate quay by widening and deepening the river Seiont and continued to develop the area. By the 1830s the whole area was bustling with industry including:

  • 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. The Harbour Office is Grade II* listed.

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.

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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 & yards
  • 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.

Cei Llechi in 2022 provides a home for different industries, including:

  • Blacksmith
  • Artists
  • Food producers
  • Restaurant
  • Graphic design / letterpress printing
  • Craftsmen and women
  • Hospitality
  • Art displays (an outcome of a project let by artist Bedwyr Williams)

Pictures Before

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During Construction

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Completed Project

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Tying the old and the new, modern-day Cei Llechi offers a place to create, experience and buy and sell.

The GSB1 salmon boat

Located in Cei Llechi is a This is GSB1, a Caernarfon built salmon fishing boat that has been saved, renovated, and given a new lease of life as a unique bench.

Built in the 1960s, this was the last salmon fishing boat used on the Menai Straits during the early 1990s by Robert Watkinson (Wax), the last owner/captain as a working boat.

The boat was found outside a property on the Foryd, beign used as a flower planter. Alun Lewis Jones (Al Pents / Alun “Shipwright”) and Robert “Wax” arranged for the boat to be emptied of tons of soil and transported to his Felinheli workshop with the aim of preserving the boat so that the history of salmon fishing boats was not completely lost. Unfortunately, Al passed away in 2018, but thankfully his son, Bryn Granville Jones took on the challenge of rescuing the GSB1 and in doing so brought new life to this wonderful boat as a bench for everyone to enjoy.

We are delighted to have the GSB1 on display here in Cei Llechi as it was Al Pents’ wish for the boat to be on display for the public. It is understood that only two Caernarfon built salmon fishing boats exist – the GSB1 and “Cacwn” which has been preserved and is in stored by the National Museum of History, St Fagans.

The work was commissioned in 2021 by Galeri Caernarfon Cyf and the Caernarfon Harbour Trust. The renovation was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

© 2022 Cei Llechi. Website by Delwedd