HAFODUNOS, Llangernwy, Denbighshire 2005

HAFODUNOS, Llangernwy, Conwy 2005
Notes on HAFODUNOS, Llangernwy, Denbighshire 2005

A gatehouse stands at the entrance of Hafodunos, elaborate and ruined, and after a short slight upward slope walk to the house Hafodunos unfolds, obviously empty, elaborate and also in a ruinous state.

It is not in a ruinous state due to nature’s reclamation but because of abandonment, vandalism and a terrible fire in the fall of 2004. It is a very large Gothic-style house, built in 1861-66 by Sir George Gilbert-Scott on an earlier site, with a clock tower and octagonal billiard room. Hafodunos is in a desperate state of disrepair, with many of its features either lost to man’s destruction or otherwise stolen.

The conservatories, built a little later than the house, all smashed into many fragments but all beautifully lit. The grounds beneath the layer of undergrowth reveal a once well-maintained and extensive garden. The interior, although vacated some 7 years ago, felt as if it had only been vacated last month. Even so, the walls are brittle and scarred with peeling paintwork and spray-can graffiti and the maze of rooms, corridors and courtyards are littered with burnt furniture, perilous ceilings and rotting staircases.

The fire had all but destroyed the front facade and had left Hafodunas a very pitiful pile. It accommodated many uses throughout its relatively short life: once an accountancy college, a girls school, then a care home and eventually a hotel and restaurant.

I wandered around overwhelmed and with much the same feeling as that of Aberglasney some 10 years previous: of not learning from our past mistakes and just passing on the consequences. Aberglasney was eventually salvaged from the brink of total collapse. Hafodunos however, though greatly admired, may give itself up to the elements, whether human or natural, and it remains to be seen if someone will have the care of attention that this building deserves.
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HAFODUNOS, Llangernwy, Denbighshire 2005

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