The Loreto Sisters (IBVM) came to Llandudno from Manchester in 1919. They acquired two properties on the West Shore side of the great Orme, “Eithinog” and “Clifton Lodge”, and established a boarding and day school there, Eithinog being the School and Clifton the Convent and boarders’ dormitories.
The school expanded and further accommodation for boarders was gradually added, these areas now being used as part of the Centre, namely, The Wing and The Anniversary Suite, the latter named in 2009 in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of lBVM by Mary Ward.
In 1921 the two houses were connected by the Hall, and classrooms added above it.
Originally the Chapel had been a room in Clifton Lodge (now Room 101) but it soon became too small and, through the generosity of a benefactor a large Chapel was built adjoining Clifton Lodge in 1925, on the ground which is now the Centre Car park. This chapel was demolished in 1977 when it was no longer needed.
In 1931 the province Novitiate was transferred from Manchester to Llandudno and a purpose built property was erected now known as St. Joseph.
In 1939 the Sisters acquired a third property Bron Meillion, (today known as “the Convent”) mainly to accommodate a Preparatory School and more boarders dormitories. The building had a previous history of long neglect and had at one time been requisitioned by the military as a base for Servicemen working at the signalling station on the Great Orme.
Further school developments took place over this period, adding a science laboratory and a home economics section where today’s Dining Room and Our Lady’s are.
By 1970 the numbers in the novitiate no longer warranted a building of this size and, following Vatican IIs encouragement of the place of the laity in the Church’s mission, the novitiate buildings and science block were developed to accommodate groups for the spiritual formation of the laity. The groups were provided with accommodation and meals, and were led by their own facilitator. About this time an extra Chapel was built for the use of the groups using the centre.
Also in 1970 it was decided to close the boarding school, there being less need, and the Diocese of Menevia were anxious to acquire the property for a Middle (9-13) School, for Catholic children in the area. The school continued in the Eithinog-Hall-Clifton complex for over ten years, when numbers of Catholic children fell off and the Local Authority/Diocese could no longer support it financially.
In 1987 the buildings were reacquired by Loreto and it was decided to expand the work of the Centre into Clifton Lodge and The Hall for self-catering options for “quiet time”, retreats, and day meetings.
In 1990 the Provincial Offices were transferred to Eithinog and then in 1998 they were re-sited in Manchester. Early in the 1990’s also, St Buenos’ Outreach asked to use the lower part of Eithinog for its Ignatian Spirituality programme in this part of the Diocese.
During the 1990’s, part of Eithinog’s extension was set aside for the use of needy people needing some quiet space, on a self-catering basis, and in 2009 the upper part of the same building was dedicated to self-catering accommodation for small groups, in honour of the 400th anniversary of the founding of IBVM by Mary Ward.
At the present time then:
- The Centre occupies the former Novitiate property, boarding school science room and home economics room.
- Clifton occupies the former Convent and School dormitories, bedrooms, Art and Music rooms; Middle School Woodwork Dept.
- The Hall occupies the former School Hall and class rooms, Middle School Home Economics, today – apartment and meeting room.
Eithinog occupies the former boarding school/day school classrooms, dining room and utilities, today Sisters’ rooms; the extension, formerly Sister’s dining room and kitchen with boarders rooms above, today Centre accommodation, attics, formerly Sister’s bedrooms, today, the same.
Car Park formerly Chapel for Sisters and School; today Centre Car Park
Bron Meillion formerly: below, preparatory school classrooms, above, boarders’ dormitories; today The Convent – Sisters’ accommodation.