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Report - Gwrych Castle, Abergele - Aug 16

ledgehammer

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
Target Details:
Gwrych Castle was erected between 1819 and 1825 at the behest of Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh, grandfather of Winifred Cochrane, Countess of Dundonald. From 1894 until 1924, when the Countess died, it was the residence of the Dundonald family. The Countess left the castle in her will to King George V and the then Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VIII). However, the gift was refused and the castle passed to the Venerable Order of Saint John. In 1928, Douglas Cochrane, 12th Earl of Dundonald, purchased the castle for £78,000, selling the contents to meet the cost.
During World War II, the Government used the castle to house 200 Jewish refugees run by the Jewish Zionist youth movement Bnei Akiva. Following the war, the castle left the Dundonald family and was open to the public for twenty years. It was called "The Showpiece of Wales" at this time, and attracted many visitors. It was also used as a training venue for the English World Middleweight boxing champion Randolph Turpin in the early 1950s. In the early 60s it was an occasional venue for the famous motorcycleDragon Rally and in the 70s it was used as a centre for medieval re-enactments, attracting tourists with such events as jousting and mock banquets.
The castle was last open to the public in 1985. Thereafter, it started to decline.It was bought in 1989 by Nick Tavaglione, an American businessman, for £750,000. However, his plans to renovate the building were not carried out. As a result, the castle was extensively looted and vandalised, becoming little more than a derelict shell, although it was used in 1996 as the backdrop for Prince Valiant, a film starring Edward Fox, Joanna Lumley and Katherine Heigl.
City Services Ltd, trading as Clayton Homes and Clayton Hotels, bought the castle in January 2007 for £850,000, after it failed to reach its £1.5m reserve price at the 2 June 2006 auction. On 30 April 2007, Clayton Hotels announced a 3-year project, costing £6,000,000, to renovate the castle and convert it into a 90-bedroom 5-star hotel, creating 100 jobs. After Clayton Hotels was placed in administration, new developers obtained fresh planning permission in November 2012 from Conwy County Borough Council for the castle to be converted into a luxury hotel with 75 bedrooms and associated facilities.

Mission Details:
So the first stop on the North Wales tour, getting here much later than planned set us back. The last time we came here we had an easy time, currently the site is actually open to the public on set days and the redevelopment work had started. Access was very tricky, and we spent far longer than the 2 hours we planned. Managed to get round all of the site with the challenges involved, we bumped into some randomers also which was entertaining as for a while we hid thinking they were secca. We didn't have as good light this time round, and it rained for a while - but its good to see something good happening to the place, the place has huge potential. Sadly my mac died on me and I lost 50% of the footage, but scraped together a fairly decent vid despite. Scored it a 6, although I doubt we will however see a building complex like it in the future.

Documentation:

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