If you are travelling onto Anglesey by train then Llanfairpwll Station is the first stop after crossing the Menai Straits, over the Britannia Bridge. It's notoriety does not come from it's location or the fact that it is a station more remarkable than any other. It is just the fact that it is located in 'the place with the very long name', Yeah Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch, the longest named village in the world.
History of the Station
Construction of the station began on 1st March (St Davids Day) in 1845. It opened 3 years later when two trains were sent to Holyhead. The railway brought trains from the mainland onto Anglesey over the Britannia Bridge, and Llanfairpwll was the first station. It remained in operation until 1966, just 4 years before the accidental fire that destroyed the Britannia Bridge. The bridge was re-built as a road and rail bridge and the station re-opened again for local stopping trains in 1973. After changing ownership several times the old station house was restored in 1995 to how it would have looked in Victorian times, by James Pringle Weavers.
Trains do still pass through on their way to Holyhead, and will stop on request. It has a very short platform of 40 yards, so on today's trains only one door is opened for passengers to get on and off.
The station is now owned by a co-operative of villagers and it has been fully restored and on the front of the station buildings is the full name plate in its original style.
It is also on the sign on the station platform, with underneath the translation on how to pronounce it.
There have been residents in Llanfairpwll since the Neolithic period, agriculture being the mainstay of the area, and for centuries it was a small rural village. In 1563 there were only 83 people in 16 dwellings. By 1801 there were 385 people in 83 houses, most in the old village. However major changes took place when Thomas Telford brought a new road in 1820 over the Menai Straits in the form of the Menai Suspension Bridge, and later the building of the Britannia Bridge to bring across the railway from the mainland at the beginning of the 1850's. As a result of the building of the station, a number of craftsmen, traders, shopkeepers moved into the village and it became an important commercial centre, and the population grew. It also saw the establishment of a Post Office, 2 schools, a brewery and 6 pubs, a hotel and by 1889 when the population was around 961 there were also 12 grocers in the village. Around 1894 a livestock market was held and in the nearby harbour a slate factory was opened. This was boom time for the village and with the railway bringing in tourists, the villagers needed a way to tempt people to stop and see Llanfairpwll. This led to the creation of the village with the longest name.
So where did the name come from, well it is made up. During the Victorian period it was felt that Llanfairpwll needed something to attract visitors, travellers and 19th century tourists, to make it stand out from the rest, and a local businessman, came up with this very long name. I have seen conflicting stories on who the businessman was in that it is said that the businessman was a cobbler from Menai Bridge and another he ran a gentleman's shop. Whichever it is, the story goes that this businessman apparently had a secret cure to lockjaw, sealed in an envelope, and people would flock to discover what it was. So what was it, well inside was a piece of paper printed with the full name of the village!
So what does the name mean, well if you translate it into English you get:-
Today the village is signposted and on maps as Llanfairpwellgwyngyll and is known to locals as Llanfairpwll or Llanfair P.G.
So how do you say it? It can be broken down into pieces, as shown on the station sign above, but unless you are Welsh, or have studied the Welsh language it doesn't really help so take a look here, where they have a recording you can listen to.
Today visitors visit the station are to be photographed next to the station sign, visit the visitors centre, or have their passports stamped at a local shop. The main village car park is at the station, as well as the James Pringle Weavers shop.
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