Summary: Combermere Gardens is a small but attractive raised paved area overlooking the sea. It incorporates some benches, and attractively planted flower beds.
Location: On the seaward side of Rhos Promenade, close to the junction with Rhos Road.
Map Reference: 843805.
In Victorian times, before the promenade linking Rhos on Sea to Colwyn Bay had been constructed, this site was the grounds of a house variously known as Combermere Lodge or Combermere Cottage.
The house appears to have been pulled down in the early 1900’s as a result of either constructing or widening this section of the Promenade. The Cayley Arms Hotel made a contribution towards the cost of pulling down the buildings between the hotel and the sea, presumably to improve its view.
There was a lively correspondence in the local press in 1909 as to the best use for the site. Some writers wanted it used for public conveniences, some for public gardens, and there was also an application made to the council to rent it from them for a “café chantant”, which attracted both supporters and opponents. This would have provided refreshments, musical entertainments, dancing and lights at night, but does not appear to have progressed – some of its opponents feared it might pose a commercial challenge to Colwyn Bay’s attractions!
It’s unclear what decisions were taken at the time, but certainly underground public conveniences were erected at some point and by the time of the Second World War the local nick name was “Lavatory Square”, although the official name was Combermere Square. There was also a rudimentary bandstand with a small canopy.
These public conveniences were demolished at some point after the war, and curved enclosing walls erected around the “square” with coloured glass inserts. These in turn were demolished in the 1990’s and the current attractive raised gardens and seating were built in their place giving fine views across the bay.