Ironmaster's summer villa
WHY does an apartment block in Langland bear the name of a family of Merthyr Tydfil ironmasters? The site of the non-residential Langland Bay Hotel, which was demolished in the 1980s, is occupied by Crawshay Court.
Originally from Yorkshire, Richard Crawshay built up Cyfarthfa ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil in the 1790s to become the largest in the world, and his grandson William erected Cyfarthfa Castle in 1824 and 25. William Crawshay's third son Henry earned the family's disapproval by marrying a foundry worker from Penderyn ''beneath his station''. Henry was placed in charge of Cinderford ironworks in the Forest of Dean, which he managed successfully, and his family (they had at least 13 children) settled near Newnham in Gloucestershire.
In 1856 Henry had a summer villa built backing on to the Newton Cliffs in a Scottish baronial style. Originally known as Llan-y-Llan, this had a kitchen garden where the present car park in Langland stands. Henry died in 1879, and after his wife's death eight years later the estate was sold.
The building was expanded and enlarged into a luxury hotel for 150 guests, with tennis courts and a bowling green, and called the Langland Bay Hotel. But this was not a financial success, and the property was put up for sale in 1900, and again three years later. It was purchased in 1922 by the Workingmen's Club and Institute Union for use as a convalescent home for miners and steelworkers — rather appropriate since their labour had provided the resources for it to be built.
A non-residential Langland Bay Hotel was built on the site of the coachman's house and outbuildings, and for many years this was popular for dances and wedding receptions.
It was demolished in the 1980s, since when several hotels in the area like the Caswell Bay, the Osborne, the Langland Court and the St Anne's Hotel in Mumbles have all closed. The miners' convalescent home was sold in 2005, and the grade II listed building has been converted into 27 luxury apartments, known as Langland Bay Manor.