The Academy is housed in a chapel built on the site of the Three Jolly Sailors pub. In 1855, the Three Jolly Sailors’ landlord, Thomas Edwards, was fined for “keeping his house open at improper hours”, after PC Isaac Morgan had heard the noise of people drinking there at 1am on a Sunday. By c.1870 the pub had closed and the building and its forecourt were used by hatter William Jones, who later helped create Aberystwyth’s camera obscura. Subsequently the building was occupied by butcher Cornelius Roberts .
In 1875 or 1876, the Welsh Wesleyans bought the Three Jolly Sailors and two adjoining houses for £300, to build a replacement for their Salem Chapel in Queen Street. Local MP and industrialist David Davies laid the foundation stone for St Paul’s Chapel and donated £100. He was a staunch Methodist and disapproved strongly of drinking alcohol.
The Academy entrance is framed by dramatic classical columns. The Ten Commandments and a psalm are still displayed on the walls and you can also still see the chapel’s pulpit inside The Academy.