Bid launched to repair 'Versailles of Wales'
4th March 2021
Grade I listed hall stands empty and rotting, with repairs urgently needed to save it.
SAVE Britain’s Heritage has called on Conwy County Borough Council to issue urgent repairs notices on the offshore owners of Kinmel Hall, Abergele. The grade I listed French chateau style house and adjoining stables has lain empty since 1999, with little to no repairs or maintenance undertaken to the building’s fabric.
We have urged the council to take immediate action to avoid further decay, and issue urgent repairs notices as a matter of urgency.
Despite plenty of support locally for action to be taken on the state of the house, the present offshore owners Acer Properties Ltd have yet to start urgent repairs. Recent drone footage has revealed a rapid deterioration in the building’s condition, including missing roof tiles and sky lights, substantial lengths of hip and ridge flashings missing, and large parts of flat roof coverings ripped off.
Kinmel’s alarming condition has now attracted the attention of a range of conservation groups who believe action is needed to save the landmark.
Known as the 'Welsh Versailles', Kinmel was built by Hugh Robert Hughes in 1876 on the back of a fortune made mining copper in Anglesey. The palatial home was designed by architect W. E. Nesfield, with the adjoining Venetian Gardens designed by his father, W. A. Nesfield. The Neo-palladian stable block next to the hall is attributed to the accomplished Scottish architect William Burn.
Kinmel Hall remained the Hughes family home until 1929 when it was converted to a school and subsequently a health spa, a military hospital, and finally a Christian conference centre until closure in 1999.
The current owners of the house, British Virgin Islands registered Acer Properties Ltd, purchased the property for £1.45m in 2011 with no indication of their intended use of the hall known to date.
The Hall has appeared in several SAVE publications, including Tomorrow’s Ruins (1978) and Up My Street (2017-18), and is a longstanding entry on our Buildings at Risk Register.
Kinmel has since been added to the Victorian Society’s Top 10 most endangered buildings list.
Note to editors
1. For more information and images contact Ben Oakley, Conservation Officer at SAVE Britain's Heritage: firstname.lastname@example.org/ 07388 181 181.
2. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architectural historians, writers, journalists and planners. It is a strong, independent voice in conservation, free to respond rapidly to emergencies and to speak out loud for the historic built environment.