Once the centre of the Roman Empire (sort of), the seaside town of Porthcawl has reinvented itself into an international haven for millionaires, billionaires, playboys and exotic women. Oh. And boy racers in souped-up Corsas. Here are 10 things you never knew about Porthcawl
1. Porthcawl is built on the remains of an extinct volcano that last erupted in 342 BC. The volcanic explosion was so loud that they heard it down at Rest Bay.
2. The word ‘Porthcawl’ can be translated as ‘Gateway of Soup’. The word ‘Porth’ means ‘door’ or ‘gateway’. Cawl, of course, is a famous Welsh soup consisting of root vegetables, a sprinkling of fresh herbs plus loads of dead baby sheep.
3. Porthcawl’s promenade used to be home to a 300ft statue of Welsh actress, and famous Porthcawlian, Jan Anderson. Jan played the role of Chloe Hill in BBC’s Casualty from 1998 to 2002. Her statue was removed in 2008 to make way for a bus stop.
4. Porthcawl is renowned the world over for traditionally holding the Elvis Festival every September. Elvis himself never attended the festival, having died in 1977.
5. Trecco Bay was built in 1902 to directly compete against Barry Island, some 15 miles down the coast. Only a few weeks after it was created, a passing horde of Irish gypsies parked their caravans on top of the hill, and the area was later converted into a holiday park once the gypsies had moved on by local police.
6. Porthcawl won the prestigious City of Culture Award back in 1982. Sadly, the award had to be handed back as an administrative error meant that it should never have gone to Porthcawl in the first place. Instead, it was handed to the rightful recipient – the French capital, Paris.
7. Porthcawl Life Station was completed in 1995 and was built specifically to help underprepared dickheads when they get into trouble in their £4.99 dinghies five miles out to sea.
8. Surfing is a popular pastime in Porthcawl. During the summer months, elderly people from the nearby nursing homes can be spotted riding the waves during the daytime. Later in the evening, they are all roped together and brought back to their nursing homes, surgical stockings flapping in the summer breeze.
9. Porthcawl was used as the location for the 2000 adventure drama film The Beach, starring Jack from Titanic. Many locals were used as extras and the film crew dedicated the movie to the people of Porthcawl after its premiere.
10. Negotiations are currently underway to completely flatten Porthcawl and to build a car park over it. The local Council is tempted by the money on offer but are currently sifting through the amount of back-handers that will need to take place.