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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
'Alice in Wonderland' home sold
Alice Liddell
Alice Liddell spent holidays at the house in Llandudno for nine years
A seaside hotel in Conwy which was once the holiday home of Alice Liddell, the little girl who inspired Alice in Wonderland, has been sold for 2.25m.

Developers plan to turn the 37-room Penmorfa hotel, on the West Shore at Llandudno into luxury apartments.

They say the link to Alice will be at the heart of the new plans.

Young Alice spent holidays at the house, built by her father, between 1862 and 1873.

Anwyl Construction has exchanged contracts with hotel owner Shelton Fernando and Conwy council confirmed it had received plans.

Penmorfa was designed by the Reverend Henry Liddell, the dean of Christ Church, Oxford, as a holiday home for his family.

He commissioned the house during a holiday to north Wales in 1861 and it was ready to move into the following summer.

A deacon at Christ Church, Charles L. Dodgson - alias Lewis Carroll - met Liddell's young daughter Alice and was inspired to write Alice In Wonderland and Alice Through The Looking Glass.

Ivor Wynne Jones, a local historian and member of the Lewis Carroll Society, said although Carroll never visited Llandudno - despite local legend to the contrary he only saw Beaumaris - the house's connection with the original Alice was still a strong one.

"The family would bring five servants with them and spend long holidays there - there's a letter from Alice to her father, in which she's still on her Christmas holiday at the start of February."

'Particular importance'

Visitors to the house also included future prime minister William Gladstone.

Mr Jones is convinced too that Alice spent her last time at the house, aged 21, in a final tryst with Queen Victoria's son Prince Leopold.

"It is one of the most significant houses, historically and architecturally, on the north Wales coast," he said.

"But Llandudno has never really got to grips with it, it's been too busy chasing the ghost of Lewis Carroll.

The hotel, which has panoramic views across the Conwy estuary, reverted to the original name Penmorfa last year, after it was renovated following a fire.

It had previously been called the Gogarth Abbey Hotel.

As well as two new buildings, the developers plan to refurbish the Victorian part of the hotel.

Anwyl Constuction director Jeff Fleet said: "It's important to emphasise that we're going to retain that part of the building which is associated with Alice Liddell - it has particular importance and the whole idea is to put it at the heart of what we're doing."

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31 Oct 01  |  Entertainment

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