Buildings at Risk: recent update news from Wales - September 2020

August has seen the 150 or so Buildings at Risk entries in Wales fully updated. The update has identified a number of buildings that have been saved, as well as many promising schemes, including proposals to restore Swansea’s striking Victorian Palace Theatre (pictured above). Several buildings are also currently for sale, while others have been left empty and deteriorating.  

Success stories 

The early 19th-century terraced houses known as ‘Spring Gardens’ on Barn Street in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire have been beautifully restored and re-opened as self-catering accommodation. The Grade II listed buildings feature an elaborate cast and wrought iron veranda and balcony which is composed of elegant scrolled vegetal motifs. The buildings had stood empty for many years but have now fortunately been saved. 

The Grade II listed Priory Farmhouse in Caerleon, Newport has been sensitively restored and is now in use as a family home. The listing entry describes it as an early 17th-century house, constructed of (rendered and painted) local sandstone rubble, which was re-roofed and re-fenestrated in the early 19th century. When SAVE first became aware of the house it was missing its roof and had lost most of its windows.

Still at risk 

The Grade II listed Industrial Building at the Former Ivor Iron Works in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil is sadly still empty and in poor condition. The building was constructed as an ammonia or blast engine house in the 1920s as part of the Ivor Iron Works, which opened in 1839 as was an extension to the adjacent Dowlais Iron Works (founded in 1759). It is the last remaining industrial building of the former Ivor Iron Works and so it is important it is preserved. 

The Shippon at Brunett Farm in Wrexham remains in a perilous condition. The cow-house is a Grade II listed 18th-century timber-framed building (with later brick nogging and a corrugated iron roof). The council believes the building has been purchased and there is valid planning permission and listed building consent in place for its conversion, but at this time it remains in an almost derelict state. We hope the building will be saved and a sustainable use found for it. 

Promising developments 

Built in 1888 by Bucknall and Jennings, the magnificent Palace Theatre on the High Street in Swansea is set to become a ‘home to exciting young tech and creative businesses’. The proposal includes mezzanine floors that look down towards the stage, as theatre audiences would have once done. The stage would be retained for small performances, and auditorium balustrades reinstated. The Grade II listed building had been unused since 2007. Visit the Swansea Council’s website for more information. 

After years of uncertainty, the Grade II listed Former Synagogue on Bryntirion Road, Thomastown in Merthyr Tydfil has been purchased by the Foundation for Jewish Heritage and is to be restored and converted to a Welsh Jewish heritage centre and cultural venue. Built in 1872-75, the building is thought to be the oldest purpose-built synagogue in Wales.

The historic Caerwent House in Caldicot, Monmouthshire is currently being restored by the Spitalfields Trust, with a view to its re-use as two family homes. The Grade II listed house is thought to have been built in the late sixteenth- or early seventeenth-century and was remodelled in the early 19th century. Monmouthshire Council were hoping to restore the building for many years and worked hard to secure an appropriate new owner to take it on. We look forward to following the Trust’s progress in restoring the house. 

For sale 

The striking Tudor Gothic style mansion, Hendrefoilan House in Swansea is now up for sale. The house was built in 1853 by William B. Colling for the industrialist and Liberal MP Lewis Llwellyn Dillwyn. The building is Grade II* listed and has been described by the Victorian Society as ‘a building symbolic of Wales's industrial history and culture.’ Click here for sales details. 

The Grade II listed Calcott Hall near Welshpool in Powys is also up for sale. Calcott is a former dairy farm which is thought to date back to c.1725. It has been empty and in poor condition since the 1970s. The property is currently within the planning process to renovate the hall and convert the farm buildings to up to 7 residential units. Click here for a recent article on the hall.

Lydstep Palace in Pembrokeshire is also currently for sale. The building is a remarkable survival from the medieval period—having thought to have been built in the late 14th or 15th century—and, as such, is a scheduled Ancient Monument and is Grade I listed. The limestone house features a first floor hall and possible parlour, as well as a vaulted undercroft split into two sections, but it is in a ruinous condition. We hope the right owner will come along to rescue this exceptional building.