The role of the landowning elites has been the subject of many studies,6 and Dr. Cannadine offers the following resume: until the 1870s, there was an exceptionally high correlation between wealth, status and power for the simple reason they were all territorially determined and defined. Land was wealth: the most secure, reliable, and permanent asset. Land was status: its ownership conferred unique and unrivalled celebrity. And land was power: over the locality, the county and the nation. How the families owning vast areas of land exercised their power and influence is of particular interest, especially during the transition from a rural to an urban society along the coast of north Wales; whilst inland their influence remained dominant until the turn of the century. In the light of Cannadine's assertion, it is proposed to examine the development of three Welsh towns: Llandudno, Colwyn Bay and Rhyl. The interaction of the landed grandees and the newly found industrial and commercial wealth follows no obvious pattern, but both played a significant role in the urbanization of the coastline of Lancashire and north Wales. There was also the contribution made by the railways, which provided a relatively cheap and fast means of transport and this became accessible to an ever increasing proportion of the population. Further, towards the end of the century there was a relative growth in affluence amongst an industrial workforce with increasing time for recreation. There were, then, three principal variables, which constituted the parameters of change: the landowners, the bourgeoisie, and the railways. These components and their interaction played an important role in the metamorphosis of the coast line of Liverpool Bay. There was a contrast in style and development among the Lancashire resorts which would appear to be correlated with similar developments along the north Wales coast. Liddle, in discussing the Lancashire development, observes: The north-west of England provides the most graphic contrast. The ill-planned terraced lodging houses which characterise the area's working class holiday image. contrast sharply with the broad lined avenues of brick middle-class villas which characterise Lytham-St. Annes and Southport. "For example J. Davies, Cardiff and the Marquesses of Bute (Cardiff, 1981); J. V. Beckett, The Aristocracy of England, 1660-1914 (London, 1989); F. M. L. Thompson, English Landed Society in the Nineteenth Century (London, 1969); D. Cannadine, The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy (Yale, 1990). 7 D. Cannadine, op. cit., p. 16. 1 1 Liddle, 'Estate Mangement and land reform politics; the Hesketh and Scarisbrick families and the joking of Southport, 1842 to 1914' in Patricians, power and politics in nineteenth century towns, ed. D. Cannadine (Leicester, 1982), pp. 134-35.