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


Pen-y-Gwryd Patrol

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On 9 November 1952, The Sphere published the following picture of an AA (Automobile Association) Patrol at the junction of the A498 and A4086 at Pen-y-Gwryd close to the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel.

An image of the junction taken in 2011 by Google Streetview is shown for comparison.


2016: Beddgelert man wins 34th Snowdonia marathon

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As published by News North Wales, 31 October 2016

marathon 31.10.2016

Beddgelert man was roared on to victory as he took advantage of perfect weather conditions to win the 34th Snowdonia marathon.

Russell Bentley, who relocated to Beddgelert from Kent, recorded an impressive time of 2:35:05 seeing off nearest rival Daniel Jones on 2:36:48.

Bentley showed his supremacy in the early miles setting a steady pace on the climb to Pen Y Pass establishing a lead of 40 seconds. Despite pressure from Jones and third placed Rob Bridges in the middle stages, 35 year-old Bentley held his nerve to be the first to cross the finish line and collect the Snowdonia marathon Eryri trophy.

Mr Bentley said: “I am so pleased. But that was tough. It was the toughest race I have ever done! I’m delighted to win and I wasn’t aware that they were closing in on me at the finish. But hey, I’ve done it. It means so much for me to win this race, I live locally and my children are growing up in Wales, learning Welsh, so today I am very, very proud!”

Joanne Nelson was first place for the women clocking a time of 3:03:59 for Darwen Dashers RC.

Nelson showed her fluidity and strength at mile 24 as she stretched her lead to more than one minute as the finish on Llanberis High Street approached.

Racing to the win in a superb new course record of 3:03:59, Nelson was ecstatic as the realisation of her achievement became reality.

She said: “Wow! It’s an amazing feeling to know that I have won this race. After last year I thought I really wanted to come back to try and win it, and I have! Plus I have taken the course record too. It just feels so good. The race is just fantastic, the course, the weather today was brilliant too and the support all the way around is unbelievable.”

Race organiser Jayne Lloyd thanked all those involved as she looked forward to next year’s event.

She said: ““Every year the support gets better on the route, every year I am astounded by how much effort people put in to make it happen, and every year I think that we have the most awesome bunch of runners in the world taking part. Diolch o galon!”


2016: Campaign stepped up over village’s lorry nightmare

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Calls are being made for mandatory signs to be put in place to stop lorries from entering Beddgelert after one was reversed into a shop. For a number of years, residents and businesses have been plagued by large lorries which have been driving through the village and damaging the bridge and properties. Signs have been placed on the route to the village near Tremadog advising motorists not to follow sat-nav systems down unsuitable roads, but calls are now being made for these signs to be made mandatory after two more lorries become stuck in the village in the same week.

Colleen Marsden, who runs the National Trust’s Ty Isaf shop, says more needs to be done after a lorry reversed into the Grade II listed building last Thursday. She said:

“Lorries coming through the village and getting stuck on the bridge is still a problem for us here in Beddgelert. One lorry last week got stuck on the bridge and as it was struggling to turn around it reversed into the shop and took down our guttering. We know there are signs along the route, but they aren’t very effective. The lorries are still coming and causing damage, our house has been hit numerous times and the bridge suffered considerable damage a couple of days earlier because of another lorry.”

A Gwynedd Council spokesperson said:

“We continue to monitor the situation, and we would urge lorry drivers to heed the advice displayed on all traffic signage.”

Cambrian News, 15 September 2016


2016: Royal Goat Hotel sold

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Gelert legend hotel where Ingrid Bergman was a guest has been sold

The Royal Goat Hotel in Beddgelert has been sold for £875,000.

Royal Goat Hotel in Beddgelert
Royal Goat Hotel in Beddgelert

A famous Beddgelert hotel – where the legend of Prince Llywelyn and his faithful hound Gelert was sold to the world – has been bought. The Royal Goat Hotel – whose guests have included Ingrid Bergman – was originally built as the Beddgelert Hotel in 1802 by Thomas Jones, whose wife had inherited the Beddgelert estate. It was conceived to cater for the increasing numbers of tourists visiting Snowdon and was the birthplace of a marketing masterstroke by the first tenant manager David Pritchard. He promoted the story of Gelert, the loyal hound mistakenly slain by his master Prince Llywelyn and created a monument known as Gelert’s Grave in a nearby field in an attempt to further boost tourism.

It worked, as the legend became a talking point in Victorian homes and to this day thousands of people visit Gelert’s grave. The hotel became the Royal Goat in the 1870s to commemorate a visit by Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught. Other famous guests who have stayed at the hotel include Casablanca star Ingrid Bergman, while filming The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. Real estate advisors Colliers International completed the sale of the Royal Goat Hotel to Parkfield Snowdonia Ltd.

Acting on behalf of previous owners Ben and Vicky Doodson, who have sold the business to concentrate on a recently launched restaurant venture in Abersoch, Colliers secured the sale from an asking price of £875,000. The new owners are David and Michelle Cattrall, directors of Parkfield Snowdonia, who operate the recently refurbished Saracens Head pub restaurant with accommodation in Beddgelert, and plan to invest in the hotel. The hotel has 33 en suite bedrooms, two residents’ lounges, a public bar and two restaurants.

Neil Thomson, associate director, hotels agency at the Manchester office of Colliers International, believes it demonstrates a materially improved hotel landscape throughout North Wales during the past 12 months. Mr Thomson said: “We’re very pleased to announce this sale. This improved hotel landscape throughout the region has been, and continues to be, driven by a strengthening economy and the subsequent rise in hotel trading performances within popular destination locations such as the Snowdonia National Park. There is no indication there will be any slowdown in demand, and Colliers remains prominently and pro-actively involved in hotel transactions and advisory work throughout the area.”

The Gelert story, as written on the tombstone reads:

“In the 13th century Llewelyn, prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, ‘The Faithful Hound’, who was unaccountably absent. On Llewelyn’s return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The prince alarmed hastened to find his son, and saw the infant’s cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood. The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound’s side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog’s dying yell was answered by a child’s cry. Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but nearby lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here. The spot is called Beddgelert.”

Published by: The Daily Post, Monday 6 June 2016


2012: Beddgelert school gets ready to celebrate 100th birthday

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PUPILS in Beddgelert will celebrate the school’s 100th birthday next week.

Children, teachers and pupils past and present will celebrate the impact Ysgol Beddgelert has had on the community over the past century.

There will be two days of celebrations at the school on Lon Caernarfon on Friday, May 25-26 to mark the event.

Pupils will dress up in past uniforms and learn about how school life was different a century ago. They will take part in role plays and will also perform a Welsh song accompanied by the harp for visitors. There will be commemorative slates and coasters handed out to pupils and a special poem written for the centenary will be read out.

On Saturday, people with links to the school will be invited to share memories and to view old photos. It’s also hoped current pupils will go up against adults in a commemorative football match.

Catrin Gwilym, headteacher, said the school’s 100th birthday was an important event to mark.

“It’s something that gets the community back together and in to the school. We’ve had people from the village who used to attend the school come in and the children have asked them questions. Some can remember funny stories when they were in school and how it’s different now.”

Megan Corcoran, a parent governor who is helping to organise the festivities, urged people to go along and celebrate the day. She said: “From a heritage point of view local history is important in the community to realise how education has come along in the last 100 years.”


Source: North Wales Daily Post, published 17 May 2012FacebooktwitterpinterestmailFacebooktwitterpinterestmail

2010: Hotelier’s drive ban

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A hotelier was banned from driving after he admitted using a mobile phone at the wheel.

Ben Doodson, a director of the Royal Goat Hotel in Beddgelert, was disqualified for six months after he accumulated 12 penalty points.

Magistrates at Pwllheli heard the 37-year-old already had two speeding tickets and another driving offence on his licence when he was stopped at Tremadog last September. The court heard he was seen by officers holding the phone to his left ear while driving through the village.

Doodson, who lives at Tan y Gaer, Abersoch, argued a driving ban would cause hardship for himself, his family and the business. His solicitor Richard Williams said he worked long hours and would not be in a position to employ someone else to undertake his duties at the hotel. He added it was financially not possible to employ someone to drive either.

Bench chairman Gareth Haulfryn Williams said they had considered everything that had been said but they had concluded it did not amount to exceptional hardship. “It may amount to exceptional inconvenience but we do not consider it to be exceptional hardship,” he said.

Doodson was also fined £60 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.

North Wales Daily Post, 24 June 2010FacebooktwitterpinterestmailFacebooktwitterpinterestmail

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.

1944: For Sale: The Royal Goat Hotel

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For Sale, Freehold, £9,750. – The Royal Goat Hotel, Beddgelert, N. Wales. The valuable fully-licensed Hotel in a lovely district; 35 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 8 w.c.s, 6 lounges, large dining-room, &c., large cafe building for 170; garage 15 cars; main electricity and water. Farm buildings, gardens and land (let). The hotel is requisitioned. In all about 47 acres. Salmon and trout fishing. – Sole Agents, Chamberlaine-Brothers & Harrison, Shrewsbury (Phone 2061).

Published by Liverpool Daily Post, 15 July 1944FacebooktwitterpinterestmailFacebooktwitterpinterestmail

1940: A C.O.’s Mistake

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Two applicants were placed on the military register by the North Wales Conscientious Objectors’ Tribunal at Caernarvon yesterday. They were Gwilym Thomas Evans, Penlon, Rhosgadfan, and Henry E. Hughes, Bron Hebog Farm, Beddgelert.

Hughes said he was farming 200 acres at Beddgelert. Owing to a misapprehension he had registered himself as a stone-waller, but in fact he was only engaged occasionally as a waller. It was pointed out to Hughes that if he had registered correctly he would have been in a reserved occupation and would not have been called for military service.

Published by Liverpool Daily Post, 11 May 1940FacebooktwitterpinterestmailFacebooktwitterpinterestmail