History - One House - Past & Present

Still Privately Owned.

Allt-Y-Gof (Grove), now known as Ael-Y-Bryn (Brow of the hill), had now changed hands and the new owner was Edward Nunes Phillips who acquired the house from Thomas James Motley of Felinfoel. Phillips along with John Winkworth (a dentist of bath), had established the first Llanelli tinplating works in Dafen in 1856.

It is interesting that Phillips and Smith, another of his partners, had purchased the license to make tinplate from Sir Henry Bessemer who had invented the revolutionary method of making steel bars. But, for technical reasons it did not progress favourably and the firm ceased to operate as of September 1897.

Prior to this Phillips of Ael-Y-Bryn in 1872, having ceased his interest emigrating to the United states of America and pioneered tinplating in Pennsylvania. This had become a Mecca for many local tinplate craftsmen. The close of the century did not see the end of the English entrepreneurial interest on the local industrial landscape. Metal working had become dominant coal production having gone into decline, and once more an English family appeared on the local manufacturing scene, residing in Ael-Y-Bryn.

Ernest Trubshaw who was born in Stafford in 1845, together with his brother-in-law Joseph T.Smith moved into the metal making business in Llanelli steel and tinplating in actual fact, and their first venture appears to have been the 'Western Tinplate Company in Station Road which is now demolished and the site of municipal residential estate.

Later, he became chairman of the 'Llanelly Steel Company Ltd' in 1907. His influence on the Welsh steel and tinplating industry was great and he chaired the 'Manufacturers Association' from 1899 to 1910. He was succeeded in these ventures by his son, Harold. Ernest Trubshaw became a very influenced figure in the County of Carmarthen, being both a magistrate and High Sheriff in 1900.

His wife, whom he married in 1882, was the eldest daughter of J.G.Smith of Rhine Hill in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Smith was a prominent industrialist in the Midlands, and the marriage was typical of the social structure of the Victorian era and he joined his brother-in-law Ernest in the Llanelli area. There is unsubstantiated information that some financial arrangements had been made with the dowager Lady Reading at this time, but it is difficult to fit the aspect into the Trubshaw's scene.

The last family of Trubshaw to live there, Ernest, his wife and three children, Harold, Gwendoline and Kit, lived in considerable style. During the Second World War, Ael-Y-Bryn was used as a hostel for children and evacuees. The Diplomat Hotel is owned and run by the Jenkins family.

Considerable development has been carried out over the years. The hotel has 50 luxury bedrooms, 3 restaurants and five function suites. It has recently been restored and refurbished and is considered to be one of West Wales finest hotels.

Perhaps it would be well to finish this story of a fine house, bound with Felinfoel more than 200 years by mentioning a famous member of the last Trubshaw family who lived there. Brian Trubshaw the first Concorde Test Pilot was an extremely important contributor to the success of the Anglo-French airliner.

This is recorded in a picture of his visit to The Diplomat Hotel, formerly the family home and now a hotel of considerable luxury, contributing not only to the local community but to tourism on an international level.