One time home of William (Klondyke Bill) Jones, who became the Mayor of Bootle
William Jones (1840-1918) was born in a house named Pen Cefn in the village of Bodwrog, the son of Robert & Elizabeth Jones. His paternal grandparents – Hugh & Mary Jones – lived at Hafod, Llangwyllog, whilst his maternal grandparents – John and Margaret Jones – lived at Penrhyn Oer, also in Llangwyllog – all of the above places being on Anglesey.
William was a carpenter who left Anglesey around 1860 – like many before him – to find work in Liverpool. He must have done extremely well because by 1861 he was able to purchase such estates as Bootle Hall, which he demolished to make way for much needed new housing developments in the area. This became his modus operandi, buying up estates and building on the land
Extending the areas that he was building in beyond Everton and Toxteth Park, he bought land in Orrell which he also built on. In the process, he, of course, became a wealthy man, and apart from his main residence – Monfa in Bootle – in 1889 he and his wife Eleanor purchased a house in Llanerchymedd named Llwydiarth Fawr, an estate of some 300 acres. They and their children divided their time between these two dwellings.
On the 1881 census, William states his place of birth as Ceidio, Anglesey. His wife Eleanor was born in Trefor, in Denbighshire. Their children were Owen Kendrick Jones then aged 10, Elizabeth Ann Jones aged 8, Robert Arthur Jones aged 4, Edith Mary Jones aged 3, and Marion Eleanor Jones aged 1 year. William states his occupation as a Builder and Brickmaker employing 64 men and 7 boys. Their abode at the time was Mount Pleasant, Bibby Lane, Bootle cum Linacre, Liverpool. They had 2 house servants in their employ, both born in Wales. Although all of his children were born in Bootle they all spoke fluent Welsh.
Owen Kendrick Jones had a daughter Eleanor Mary, who married a shipbuilder named William Thomas in Amlwch on the 15th June 1928. They produced two sons, one of whom was Garry Thomas – born 1935, died 2002. Garry had a daughter named Pippa Thomas – now Pippa Lord, who kindly let us have a copy of the photo of her great-great-grandfather in his robes as mayor of Bootle.
During this time William played an active player in the political scene of Liverpool, and by 1886 he was elected Mayor of Bootle.
Around 1901, realising that the land at Llwydiarth Fawr was barren, he had the ground analysed. It showed that the reason for the low fertility of the ground was the heavy clay deposits therein. He turned this to his advantage when he built a brickworks on the site. He erected a dome-shaped kiln powered by an enormous steam engine, and production began in earnest utilising the very thing that made the land barren – the clay. The bricks were transported the short distance to the nearby railway station in the village, from where they were transported to Liverpool to fuel the endless requirement for building materials. The rail wagons, in turn, brought back the coal that would feed the steam engine at Llwydiarth Fawr.
Building bricks of more than one colour were manufactured – some still evident in the houses of Llanerchymedd, as well as roof and floor tiles. They also produced various useful ceramic household items, and ceramic pipes that enabled farmers to drain the land, and thus produced more fertile lands for agriculture.
That William Jones was well-liked and respected appears beyond doubt. He was a religious and fair man, and of course, the work that he had provided was a Godsend to the community. In 1901 he was elected high sheriff of Anglesey, and in 1903 made Justice of the Peace. William had been Knowlsey town council from 1879 until he died.
By the early 1910`s William had he had built more houses in Bootle than any other builder, and he was the major landlord in the area.
In 1917 William laid to rest his beloved wife Eleanor, and he was to join her just 19 months later. They are buried in the 6th-century church at Llangwyllog, the parish where his grandparents had lived. Buried with them is their daughter Marion Eleanor Jones who died in 1944 aged 64.
By the 1920s the brickworks closed, not able to compete in the market place post-war, which had been weakened by the economic climate.
William had named many of the streets after his loved ones – Marion Road, Eleanor Road etc, and their memories will live on as long as the Liverpool streets do.
Llwydiarth Fawr was sold but was kept in the family until 1932, previously owned by William’s nephew. Today it provides first-class accommodation, and the present owners have built up an estate of 1000 acres. It still the aura of a Welsh Victorian country house. It is bright, and is well maintained with open gardens.