Crunch time for rotting ‘Versailles of Wales’ as Victorian Society urges suitable buyers to come forward

The Victorian Society urges Grade I-listed Kinmel Hall’s owners, Acer Properties Ltd BVI to work with Conwy Council to find a suitable buyer and prevent the historic mansion from falling further into ruin.

The Victorian Society welcomes the news that the Hall’s owners have commissioned a conservation report to identify the works needed to save the building from ruin and urges Conwy Council to use enforcement action to ensure that the urgent works are carried out quickly. The Society stresses that a viable plan for the building’s long-term future is urgently needed. It asks those with the resources and expertise to take on the sprawling mansion and stables to get in touch.

Joe O’Donnell, Victorian Society Director, said, ‘Something needs to be done soon to save what is perhaps the greatest surviving Welsh country house. Kinmel Hall is a Grade I listed building, meaning it is of exceptional national interest. Only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I. We welcome news that the urgent repair work needed is being assessed, but after years of lying empty and unused this amazing building should be taken on by someone who has a long-term vision to bring it back to life. We understand that Conwy Council would serve a compulsory purchase order if a new owner can be found to transfer it to, but time is running out if it is to survive.’

Kinmel Hall in Conwy featured on the Victorian Society’s Top 10 Endangered Buildings list back in 2015.Since then, much of the interior has been stripped and the state of the building has recently drastically deteriorated after the roof’s lead was removed. The Society is now supporting The Friends of Kinmel Hall’s calls for enforcement action to stop the building being damaged beyond repair.

Kinmel Hall is widely known as the ‘Welsh Versailles’, due to its opulent 500ft long façade and once lavish interior. Kinmel Hall is said to have been inspired by Wren's Hampton Court and the 17th century Chateau de Balleroy. The present house was paid for by Hugh Robert Hughes, heir of a huge copper mining fortune. Country Life noted in 1969 that ‘Kinmel is an amazingly palatial house for a commoner to build himself, even a Victorian commoner and a very rich one.’ Queen Victoria herself is believed to have stayed at Kinmel in 1870 when she presented carved wooden panels. Sadly, these were stolen in 2013.

Photos of Kinmel Hall can be found here.


© 2017 The Victorian Society

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