Im a Celebrity property Gwrych Castle shown in its former glory in rare archive photos – North Wales Live

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A historic property listing for Gwrych Castle has been shared for the first time this week.

The estate in Conwy has impressed TV viewers as the host of this year’s I’m a Celebrity but archivists have uncovered previously unreleased photos of the Abergele castle’s history.

The property has a complicated past and remained in the same family for nearly 100 years.

The Dundonald’s however listed the castle for auction back in July 1946 ending this tradition.

And the newly released photos – which date back to the early 20th Century – show the Grade I-listed castle before it fell into disrepair following decades of failed transformation projects.

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It was eventually sold for £12,000 to a Mr JR Rennie, of Wrexham, with a report from the Guardian from the time stating that “the sale attracted one of the largest crowds seen at a [local] auction for many years.”

The nearly 80-year-old listing states that Gwrych Castle was built during the Regency Period by Lloyd Bamford Hesketh and is “reputed to have cost a fortune

It notes that there were 26 bedrooms, nine reception rooms and seven bathrooms within the estate – which covered 1,400 acres, including outbuildings, lodges, gardens, woodland and parkland.

Archivists have also uncovered pictures of the castle’s interior, which show how the dining room and reception area would have looked at the time of the auction in 1946.

Ownership of the castle changed hands several times before it was asset-stripped in around 1990, eventually bought in 2018 by the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust – founded by Dr Mark Baker.

The old property listing was found and shared by the North East Wales Archives, with pictures provided by the Gwynedd Archive Service to celebrate Explore Your Archive week.

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The annual week-long campaign is organised by the UK Archives and Records Association, and supported in Wales by Archives and Records Council Wales, and encourages people to discover something new in the archives.

Sarah Roberts, archivist from the North East Wales Archives, said: “Gwrych Castle had kept the Dundonald family in lavish surroundings since the 1870s and would have been a much more comfortable place to live than the viper vaults the I’m a Celebrity contestants are putting up with right now.

“Despite numerous attempts over the years to turn the building into a hotel or tourist attraction the house fell slowly into disrepair until taken over by The Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust.

“It’s brilliant to see it reach households all over the country now and viewers can explore its story and others like this by looking into their local archives.”

 

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