Saturday, 16 January 2016

A potted history of Llandrindod Wells....

Welcome to Llandrindod Wells!

Croseo i Landrindod!

Location


Llandrindod Wells is the county town of Powys, located in Central Wales. 

An Old Victorian Spa Town


Llandod as it is known by the locals, was once a thriving Victorian Spa town with many people coming from far and wide in the 18th and 19th centuries to sample the "healing qualities" of the saline, sulfur and chalybeate spring waters. People would flock to the pump rooms at the Rock Park and Pump House Hotel in order to take the waters which were claimed to have several health benefits.
"It is a spa set in a garden. Nature has shot up its medicinal waters in a rustic glen, and the municipality has, with more than municipal wisdom, improved and cultivated the surroundings. I went to the pump-room in the park and tried a glass of Saline, which I thought pleasant and -just the sort of thing a doctor would offer when there is nothing seriously wrong with you." 
A travel writer's first impression of Llandrindod Wells taken from "In search of Wales" by H.V Morton 1932.
With the industrial resolution, the Heart of Wales railway line reached the spa town in 1865 meaning that it became possible for many more visitors to come and sample the mineral waters thereby boosting the spa towns income and reputation.
Llandrindod Wells lake was dug out of marshy ground near the Pump House Hotel in the early 1870's. Originally the lake was used as a boating lake and was an attraction to the many visitors coming to take the waters. Over the years the area around the lake became developed and more cafes and boat houses were built. 

An old advertisement for boat hire on the Llandrindod Wells lake.

The outbreak of the Great War of 1914-18 meant that visitors unfortunately stopped coming to the town of Llandrindod. In the 1920s and 1930s holidaymakers came again to the town but the fashion for taking the waters became a thing of the past with people preferring seaside holiday breaks. 
Llandrindod Wells became a quiet town and still remains an idyllic, peaceful location to date. 

The town still tells the story of the booming Victorian period that it had the joy of participating in, if only you know where to look.

In the 21st Century

  Llandrindod Wells Lake



Now in the 21st Century, the lake is a popular attraction to visitors with an abundance of wildlife including ducks, geese, and swans. In the last few years, otters have been spotted at the lake and just recently a very rare bittern has been spotted amongst the reeds. The island in the middle of the lake provides an undisturbed habitat for birds, insects and other wildlife. The lake is a haven for wildlife demonstrating that its boating days in the Victorian Era are far in its past. 
The Lakeside Café and gift shop are popular especially in the Summer months when children who have been playing on the park close by require an ice cream or when walkers exploring the surrounding countryside wish for a cup of tea!

The Victorian Boating Lake
Llandrindod Lake in the present day is a
haven for wildlife




A rare bittern spotted at Llandrindod Lake. 
(Photo Courtesy of Kevin Joynes)


Rock Park and Spa


Llandrindod's Rock Park and Spa is one of the earliest public parks in Wales dating from the Victorian Era when the arrival of the railway and the enclosure of common land led to the development of Llandrindod as a flourishing spa town.
The Rock Park Pump room that is still present was built around 1867 to form a base so that people could come to take the waters from the various springs around the park. In the present day, one chalybeate spring is still available to drink from a marble drinking fountain in the park.
A Victorian wood occupies the northern part of the park with native woodland to the West along the banks of the River Ithon. A network of paths connect the different areas and bridges cross the Arlais Brook, which runs through on a south-west diagonal to join the river. At the south-west end of the park a natural rock outcrop above the river, known as Lover’s Leap, provides a viewing point onto the river. 

Winter sunshine filtering through the trees at Rock Park
In the present day, Rock Park has the original Spa Buildings and also an outdoor bowling green. The Rock Park Coffee House and Tea room is open during the Spring and Summer months and the Rock Park is now also host to a health centre. The park is used mainly by dog-walkers and runners and provides a sanctuary for wildlife in the spa town. 
 
The Victorian Rock Park Hotel which hosted guests that came to sample the waters



The entrance to Rock Park and Spa

Architecture


If you find yourself walking around the streets of Llandrindod Wells, it is extremely obvious that the town experienced a boom in the Victorian Era just because of the sheer number of Victorian buildings that remain in the town. The grand architecture that is a very prominent feature of Llandrindod Life can help the community of the town imagine what the town was like in the Victorian Era even if we cannot experience it ourselves.

 

The National Cycle Museum


One of Llandrindod Wells' most notable features today is the UK National Cycle Museum. It is one of the leading cycle museums in the world. The museum was officially opened on 21st March 1997 by Tom Norton and has taken on the form of a charitable trust that relies on donations and entrance fees to maintain income and provide a service for the cycling enthusiasts of Great Britain and beyond. 
Some of the bikes on show at the National Cycle Museum
This is just an overview of some of the attractions that the town of Llandrindod includes. Look out for future blog posts that will go into further detail of life in Llandrindod in the present day! 

A beautiful sunrise over Llandrindod Wells
Llandrindod Wells – the future of the town is in our hands, I look forward to working with all of you in the local community to enhance #llandrindodlife