J. M. (John Merry) Porter (1863-1942) moved to Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, when he was three years old. His father, John Porter, of Pwllycrochan, Denbighshire, was the agent for John Pender, a Manchester businessman concerned mainly with promoting transatlantic cables. John Porter converted the Pwllycrochan Mansion into a hotel, under a lease from Pender in 1866, and eventually bought it. It remained the property of the Porter family until 1938, when it was sold to Rydal School. J. M. Porter was articled to Messrs. Farrer and Company of Manchester, Lancashire, where he trained as an architect and surveyor. After qualifying in 1886, he returned to Colwyn Bay and became a partner with Lawrence Booth and Thomas Chadwick, architects, surveyors and estate agents, who had formed their original partnership in 1876 to act as agents for the Colwyn Bay and Pwllycrochan Estate Company. Porter became the local agent. In 1905, it became Porter and Hunter, until Charles Ernest Elcock was taken into partnership in c. 1907. In 1912, the firm became J. M. Porter and Company, and kept this name until it was dissolved in 1973. J. M. Porter married Catherine M. Hawksworth (1875-1935) in 1891. They had three children, Graham Hawksworth, who was killed in action in France, 1916; John Lawrence, who joined his father's practice and Catherine Margaret, who married Norman Milne Harrop of Garth Gynan, Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd. In 1973, the partners in J. M. Porter and Co., (John Lawrence Porter and Leonard Mosely) who had joined in 1920 and became partners in 1940, decided to retire and closed the business. The records of J. M. Porter and Co. reflect the development of Colwyn Bay, from a rural village to thriving seaside resort, since the company was involved in the design and alteration of many of its buildings, and, as estate agents, managing properties for sale and rent.
Scope and content: Letter books on general matters, 1889-1972, of the Colwyn Bay and Pwllycrochan Estate Company, 1877-1948, agency, 1925-1942, and miscellaneous, 1884-1917; financial, 1885-1947; diaries of J. M. Porter, 1886-1941; diaries of J. L. Porter, 1933-1960; from the office, 1893-1970 and drawing office 1900-1905; office papers, 1881-1958; sale particulars for properties in Denbighshire, 1896-1961; Flintshire, 1887-1941; Caernarfonshire, 1888-1960; Anglesey, 1890-1942; Breconshire, 1950; Cardiganshire, 1920; Glamorgan, 1918; Merionethshire, 1893-1947; mixed Welsh counties of Denbighshire and Flintshire, 1893-1920 and Denbighshire and Caernarfonshire, 1884-1958; English counties, 1891-1932; photographs, [c. 1880]-[c. 1960]; plans, and drawings, 1864-1968; and J. M. Porter's personal papers, consisting of letter books on Braeside, 1914-1940; Pwllycrochan Hotel, 1900-1938; Surveyors' Institute, 1911-1923, and miscellaneous, 1894-1930.