The Grand Hotel – LLandudno North Wales
In 1940 nearly 5,000 civil servants arrived in Llandudno, along with their families, to escape the London blitz and to ensure the Inland Revenue continued to operate. “Finance is the fourth arm of defence,” said Chancellor Sir John Simon in his first war budget and extra revenue to pay for the war effort was imperative.
The Grand Hotel became the wartime home of two Inland Revenue departments: the Assessments Division and the Companies Registration Office, better known as “Companies House” and was headed by registrar Peter Martin.
Since 1844 Britain has operated a system of company registration and it was this department’s role to store information under the Companies Act and to merge and dissolve limited companies, even in wartime Britain.
The hotel register reads like a list from Who’s Who with so many politicians and entertainers staying there.
Top of the list must be Winston Churchill who in 1948 paid his last visit to Llandudno, for the Conservative Party Conference at which Margaret Thatcher started her political career. Others visiting included; Lloyd George, Sir Oswald Mosley, Clement Atlee, Harold Wilson, Anthony Eden and Ted Heath.
The Grand Hotel has featured in a number movies and television dramas including ‘The Card’ (1952) starring Alec Guinness and ‘Yanks’ (1979) starring Richard Gere.
Ref: John Lawson-Reay, of the Llandudno & Colwyn Bay History Society, and Adrian Hughes of the Home Front Museum