The Inn of the Sixth Happiness

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The 1958 film ‘The Inn of the Sixth Happiness‘ was filmed at Nantmor and Beddgelert in addition to at Elstree Studios.


The Inn of the Sixth Happiness

The following article was published in the Liverpool Echo on Friday 16 May 1958:

Chinese City Comes To Life On Mountain Slopes Near Beddgelert

Mule trains will be seen above village

Paddy fields where Welsh sheep and cattle graze

Setting for a film

By an Echo Reporter

On the rugged mountain slopes above Nantmor, a picture postcard village, with one chapel, a post office and two shops, near Beddgelert, Caernarvonshire, a Chinese “city” is quickly taking shape.

Called Wang Cheng, it is being built by 20th Century Fox for the film “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness.” Shooting will begin after Whitsun and during the holiday Ingrid Bergman, Curt Jurgens, and other stars of the production and hundreds of Chinese extras will travel on location to the Beddgelert area.

For the past month a team of M.G.M. construction men – they are working for the 20th Century Fox on the locale – have been bringing a breath of China to the hills above Nantmor. The “city” walls have been made out of prefabricated plastercasts clipped onto steel tube scaffolding, and from far or near they look just like the real thing. The set is complete with look-out towers of timber and Masonite, and there is a realistic gateway through which mule trains will pass when filming starts. The sets were brought to Nantmor on special lorries.

When the touch up experts have finished with the city walls and look-out towers, Wang Cheng will have a mellow and ancient air about it. In the meadows outside the city walls where Welsh mountain sheep and cattle graze, paddy fields are being made. Haystacks a la Chinese are of timber and wire netting – corn-grinders, and water treadmills, too, will be part of the scene.

Behind schedule

Mr. Leo Davis (constructional manager on the site, who has a team of 45 men) said that bad weather had thrown the work behind schedule. But the sets had stood up to the severe battering they had got from the wind.

He stated: “Up to a week ago we were making wonderful progress, but the recent bad weather has upset all our plans.”

Before going to Beddgelert, Mr. Davis spent seven weeks in China on research with a party of experts.

The film tells the story of Gladys Aylward – Ingrid Bergman plays this role – a Lancashire woman who went out to China as a missionary. The period it covers is the 1930’s. The main scene to be shot is of an attack by Japanese bombers, and aircraft will be specially commissioned to do the job.

Mules will be brought in from Ireland and some of the horses needed have been hired from North Wales riding schools.  Chinese extras, some of whom will be billeted in youth hostels in the Snowdon area, have been drawn mainly from Merseyside. Many of the extras are young children.

Some four miles from Nantmor, too, in the Sygyn Fawr, a disused copper mine, a Chinese village called Peh Chu is coming to life. Here a temple, a market place, a village square and ornamental gates will be put up and to give the scene a real true-to-nature touch, ditches have been opened up and small ponds made.

Two brothers from Beddgelert, Harry and Robert Williams, both of whom are stonemasons, are doing specialised work on the walls at Peh Chu.

Welcome in area

The Beddgelert area was chosen by producer Mark Robson as a location scene because of its striking resemblance to Northern China. The work has gone well and , said Mr. Davis: “I am very grateful for the friendliness and co-operation shown by everyone here. They have helped us enormously.”

Everyone on the job feels that he is really welcome in the area.

The film is being made in England and North Wales and shooting began at Elstree Studios in March. There Mr. Robson is using the largest set yet constructed in Europe to depict a complete Chinese city. Within the walled city at Elstree are lakes, shops, a winding street and a mandarin’s house which were all built by 750 carpenters and skilled craftsmen at a cost of 250,000 dollars. Another star of the film in Robert Donat, who returns to the screen after an absence of four years. Filming at Beddgelert is scheduled to go on until June 15, provided the weather holds good.


Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman on set


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1945: Welsh Lake Tragedy

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Mr Hywel Griffiths, aged 35, a son of Mr Richard Griffiths, of Carneddi Farm, Beddgelert, was yesterday found drowned in Dinas Lake, about two miles from his home. The inquest will be held today.

Liverpool Evening Express, 4 August 1945

Note: Deceased was Hywel Wyn Griffith, 42, a farmer, born 31 May 1903, died 3 August 1945. Carneddi Farm is in the hamlet of Nantmor.
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1926: Chapel roof blown away

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Shortly after a service at Nantmor Methodist Chapel, near Portmadoc, on Wednesday night, the entire slated roof of the chapel, including the rafters, was blown away, the greater portion dropping on the roofs of three houses 60 yards away and smashing the roofs and windows.  Fortunately no one was hurt, but the damaged houses had to be vacated.

The Times, 1 January 1926FacebooktwitterpinterestmailFacebooktwitterpinterestmail

1921: Grant to poet

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The Prime Minister has obtained a grant of £100 from the Royal Bounty Fund to Mr. G. Williams (Carneddog), a Welsh farmer and poet who lives at Nantmor, a small village at the foot of Snowdon, in recognition of his services to Welsh literature and poetry.

Published by Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail, 14 June 1921FacebooktwitterpinterestmailFacebooktwitterpinterestmail

1913: Temperance Society, Nantmor

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The photograph below is of a group of ladies from the Capel Peniel Temperance Society of Nantmor taken in 1913.

Their names, where known, are shown below with their places of residence.

Back row: 1. Annie Jones (Tanrhiw) | 2. Ann Williams (Ty Mawr) | 3. Laura ? (Hafod Garregog) | 4. Mary Ellen Jones (Williams) (Garddllygaidydydd)

Middle row: 1. Jane Roberts (Tan y Bryn) | 2. Lily Hughes (Tanrhiw) | 3. Annie Hafodgarregog (?) | 4. Martha ? (?) | 5. Laura Williams (Ty Newydd)

Front row: 1. Jane Roberts (Corlwyni) | 2. Jane Hughes (Tanrhiw) | 3. ? (?) | 4. ? (?) | 5. Mary Ann Evans (gwraig y crudd) | 6. Ann Jones (Ty Capel)

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1907: The Snowdon Ranger Hotel – transfer of licence

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Carnarvon County Police Court

Saturday, before Dr Taylor Morgan (Chairman), Meesrs D. P. Williams, G. J. Roberts, J. Isaard Davies, Arthur Williams, T. J. Davies, Robert Roberts, and H. Jones Roberts

THE SNOWDON RANGER

Mr R Pughe Griffiths applied for the temporary transfer of the license of the above house from Mrs Foulkes, who is leaving, to Mr Harrison, who had been schoolmaster at Nantmor for 35 years.

The application was granted, the magistrates remarking that it was desirable that Mr Harrison should become the tenant, and not the manager only.

North Wales Express, 12 April 1907


The Snowdon Ranger

Mr Pughe Griffiths applied for the full transfer of this license to Mr W. Harrison, late schoolmaster at Nantmor. This was granted.

North Wales Express, 3 May 1907

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1903: Carneddau

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NANTMOR, BEDDGELERT.

AFTER 300 YEARS. – Carneddau, which has been the home of the forefathers of Mr R. Griffith (Carneddog) for over 300 years, is to be pulled down. There lived at Carneddau in the olden times some very famous personages in the poetic, musical, and antiquarian world, of whom Carneddog is the only remaining descendant.

Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald, 4 December 1903FacebooktwitterpinterestmailFacebooktwitterpinterestmail

1898: A School Flooded

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A remarkable scene was witnessed last week at Nantmor, Beddgelert, North Wales. The River Glaslyn overflowed the banks, and few children could reach Nantmor Schools. Those children who were able to attend the school had not been there half an hour when the water rushed in under the door, and filled the building to a depth of twelve inches. The children got on the benches, and ultimately had to wade knee-deep through the water to their homes.

Published by Hull Daily Mail, 7 November 1898FacebooktwitterpinterestmailFacebooktwitterpinterestmail

1896: Sudden Death

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Nantmor, Beddgelert.

News reached here on Wednesday morning that Mr R. Hughes, Nantmor, had been found dead in bed, in the barracks of Rhosydd Quarry, that morning. Deceased had a wife and family.

North Wales Express, 7 February 1896FacebooktwitterpinterestmailFacebooktwitterpinterestmail

1895: Death of a Nonogenarian

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We have to announce the death of Mrs Morris, the relict of the late Mr Rhys Morris, Turnpike, Traeth Uchaf, Nantmor, which occurred on the 28th inst. She was in her 95th year, and had ten children, nine of whom are living. Mrs Morris lived to see 60 grand-children, 60 great-grand-children, and 7 great-great-grand children. Her life was peaceful and neighbourly, and she possessed her faculties to the last.

North Wales Express, 1 November 1895FacebooktwitterpinterestmailFacebooktwitterpinterestmail