P365_115 Castle in ruins
An early morning visit to Gwrych Castle, Abergele this morning to capture some of this great structure.
Sadly, one owner after the other has let the castle fall into a state of disrepair and of late, thieves have stolen many of the internal finishes such as oak panelling etc. Also, vandals have breached the security fencing and there was evidence of widespread trespass and damage to the limestone masonry features, especially to the castellations.
It is not a true historic castle, but was built in 1819 as a folly and later extended to its current extent. It had cast iron window frames and as you can see these still remain in many cases.
It was commanded by the government between 1940 and 1945 and housed over two hundred Jewish refugees.
The castle was purchased and opened to the Public in 1948. Randolph Turpin and Bruce Woodcock, famous boxers, trained here and many people came to see them in their practice sessions.
During the 1970's, I remember going to the castle with my parents and sister as a small child and seeing medieval jousting and mock battles between knights. It was purchased by an American businessman in 1989 with the intention of converting it into a hotel. This never materialised and it was around this time that many of the doors and finishes were stolen and there was widespread vandalism and even a number of small fires set by trespassers.
Currently, a business consortium own the building and did start work on tidying up the structure, but this ceased some 12-18 months ago, the excuse being that the current economic climate was not right to convert the structure into the proposed hotel and conference facility.
It is about time that CADW stepped in and served notice on the owners to undertake consolidation and protection works before this fine structure deteriorates further. The castle is grade I listed, by nobody seems to be able to get this poor soul stabilised.