PORTMERION

Grid Ref: SH 589 370
Dates: 10 May 2017

 

Portmerion
General view across the village square


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Portmeirion is a tourist village in Gwynedd, North Wales. It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village, and is now owned by a charitable trust. The village is located on the estuary of the River Dwyryd, 2 miles south east of Porthmadog, and 1 mile (from Minffordd railway station. Portmeirion has served as the location for numerous films and television shows, most famously as the village in the 1960s television show The Prisoner.

Williams-Ellis designed and constructed the village between 1925 and 1975. He incorporated fragments of demolished buildings, including works by a number of other architects. Portmeirion's architecture is said to have influenced postmodernism in architecture in the late 20th century.

The main building of the hotel and the cottages "White Horses", "Mermaid", and "The Salutation" had been a private estate called Aber Iâ (Welsh: Ice estuary), developed in the 1850s on the site of a late 18th-century foundry and boatyard. Williams-Ellis changed the name (which he had interpreted as "frozen mouth") to Portmeirion: "Port-" from its place on the coast; "-meirion" from the county of Merioneth (Meirionydd) in which it was sited. The very minor remains of a mediaeval castle (known variously as Castell Deudraeth, Castell Gwain Goch and Castell Aber Iâ) are in the woods just outside the village, recorded by Gerald of Wales in 1188. (Gerald's book, The Itinerary of Archbishop Baldwin through Wales recounts how Gerald accompanied a party led by the Archbishop to the main castles and places of worship in Wales to recruit men for the Third Crusade.)

In 1931, Williams-Ellis bought from the estate of his uncle, Sir Osmond Williams, Bt (1849-1927), the Victorian crenellated mansion Castell Deudraeth with the intention of incorporating it into the Portmeirion hotel complex, but the intervention of the war and other problems prevented this. Williams-Ellis had always considered the Castell to be “the largest and most imposing single building on the Portmeirion Estate" and sought ways to incorporate it. Eventually, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund as well as the Wales Tourist Board, his original aims were achieved and Castell Deudraeth was opened as an 11 bedroom hotel and restaurant on 20 August 2001, 23 years after Williams-Ellis's death, by the Welsh opera singer Bryn Terfel.

Source.

Abridged from a Wikipedia article

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