Alice in Llandudno
Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll’s inspiration for the Alice books, was born on the 4th of May 1852 in Westminster, London, at Deans Yard. Her father was at the time the head of Westminster school. When Alice first came to Llandudno she was 8 years old – this was Easter 1861. She stayed at the appartments on the front which are not the St. Tudno hotel. Later on her father, who became the Dean of Christ Church in Oxford in 1856, had a house built on the West Shore of Llandudno. The house was named Penmorfa. The family used the house as a holiday home until the early 1870s by which time Alice was nearly grown up. It is now part of the Gogarth Abbey Hotel.
This is the house and if you look closely you can see that Alice’s brother is on the terrace and it is thought that Alice is one of the girls in the picture. The picture is possibly one taken by Lewis Carroll but that has not been proven.
Whilst the three Liddell sisters were on holiday in Llandudno in 1864 a famous artist, William Blake Richmond R.A. painted their picture. Alice was by then 12 and had left behind her ‘Alice’ mentor. The picture was painted in one of the rooms at the back of the house and the background added later from a view from one of the windows. The three sisters were Edith on the left, Lorina in the centre and Alice on the right. Edith was ten at the time and Lorina was fifteen. Edith died in 1876 but Lorina lived until 1930 and Alice until 1934. The Liddell family had two other daughters and three brothers, two other brothers had died in childhood. Alice was invited in 1933 to unveil the White Rabbit statue near the house but she declined saying she was too unwell to make the journey. There is no firm evidence that Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) ever visited Llandudno, dispite the inscription on the White Rabbit statue, but many people think he did!
Alice herself is, however, a Llandudno celebrity and there is no doubt, from what she said later on, that she enjoyed her holidays in this pleasant seaside town as did the rest of the Liddell family.