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18 June 2014
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Legacies - North West Wales

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North West Wales
Portmeirion Village
© The Portmeirion Foundation
Portmeirion - Architectural Fantasy Becomes Dream Location

One man's dream

Clough Williams-Ellis
© The Portmeirion Foundation
Clough William-Ellis first began to plan Portmeirion at the age of 5 or 6 when he had already decided to become an architect and planner of towns. In his book about the village, 'Portmeirion - The Place and its Meaning,' he wrote, "Some day, somewhere, I would even assuredly erect a whole group of buildings on my own chosen site for my own satisfaction; an ensemble that would body forth my chafing ideas of fitness and gaiety and indeed be me".

In 1925, after exploring many small islands off the British coast, Williams-Ellis found the ideal location for his project near his home at Plas Brondanw in North Wales. The private peninsular was originally called Aber Ià, which he changed to Portmeirion: Port to reflect its coastal location and Meirion to place it in Meirioneth. In 1926 he opened the main house on the shore as the Hotel Portmeirion to finance his venture. Over the years Williams-Ellis designed and added many buildings to the village, completing his work in 1976, when he was over 90 years old.

In 1969, BBC Wales made a film about Williams-Ellis and Portmeirion - click here to view a short extract from it.

Sir Clough Williams-Ellis 1883-1978
1883 23rd May, Born at Gayton, Northamptonshire. Educated at Oundle School, Trinity College Cambridge and the Architectural Association School, London.
1906-14 and 1919-78 Private practice interrupted by war service, where he served in the Royal Tank Corps and was awarded the Military Cross.
1915 31st July, Married Amabel Strachley (1894-1984)
1925 Began work on Portmeirion.
1926 Founder member of the Council for the Protection of Rural England
1928 Member of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, of which he became President for over 20 years.
1951 Presented the demarcation of Snowdonia National park boundary to King George and Queen Elizabeth.
1971 Knighted for his services to Architecture and the Environment.

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