The first visitors to the Great Orme's Summit Hotel would never feel they were in the same place if they set foot in it now. The red-plush seated interior, genteel smoking room and 18 hole sweep of golf course had given way to a cafe for day trippers, slot machines, a bar and souvenir shops. Not at all the world envisaged by the builder, Mr. Thomas McDonald, who planned the Hotel and Golf Course. He built it as the Telegraph Hotel; shipping signals would be relayed from Port Linas to Merseyside via the Orme in 1909. A bronze plaque near the Hotel marked the highest point of the Orme in those days, pointing out the seven counties that you could see in good visibility. The plaque has since vanished.
In 1941, the Hotel was requisitioned by the R.A.F. as a Radar Station and it did not really make the news again until 1952 when it was taken over by Randolph Turpin, World Middleweight Boxing Champion with his business partner, Mr. Leslie Salts. The previous year Turpin had beaten Sugar Ray Robinson to win the World Title for Britain for the first time in sixty years.
The Hotel had been known since the war as the Great Orme International Sporting and Holiday Centre. Turpin restyled it the Summit Hotel. Ex Flyweight Boxing Champion of the World, Jimmy Wilde, opened the Bar. Turpin was very popular in Llandudno, he put on open air boxing shows outside the Hotel and many people would go to see him. In 1961 Turpin was served with an Income Tax Writ for £16,000, dated back to his boxing days. He sold the Hotel to the old Llandudno Council and in 1966 he shot himself.
Later, Llandudno's successors, Aberconwy Borough Council, let the Cafe to Forte's of North Wales in a series of short leases. The Souvenir Shops are also leased. The old Hotel's nine bedrooms are empty and unused. The Cafe, Bar and Shops are closed in Winter as is the Amusement Arcade and a sign used to warn of 'Dog Patrols'.
Original Index No. D0892.