Following the successful launch of Wales’s only workhouse museum last summer, the Trustees of Y Dolydd, Llanfyllin Workhouse, are taking on the restoration of the most imposing and challenging part of the historic building: the Master’s House.
This is the hub of the whole complex: the central octagon. It dominates all four courtyards, rising an extra storey, and links the four wings. But the upper rooms are currently empty and the fine roof of Llangynog slate is leaking and in urgent need of repair. The Trust has carried out much-needed maintenance in many areas and the handsome entrance range was re-roofed with the help of the Pilgrim Trust a few years ago. The Workhouse has become a thriving community enterprise with fifteen workshops currently let, a 24-bed bunkhouse, a gallery and a venue as well as the Workhouse History Centre, and the site is used for weddings, music events, ecological activities and horse shows. But the deteriorating condition of the Master’s House at its heart threatens to put all this at risk.
The immediate priority is to repair the roof and safeguard the enterprise for the future. But restoration of the Master’s House offers exciting prospects of opening up the upper floors, not just in the octagon but much of the building, and of making them accessible to all by installing a lift. And it will enable the Trust to reinstate the fine classical cupola which once crowned the roof and was replaced in the 1960s.
An appeal will be needed and a meeting has been arranged in Oriel Y Dolydd on Saturday 18th February at 10.00 a.m. The object will be to let everyone see what is being planned, obtain people’s thoughts and advice and answer any questions. Then the Trust intends to form a team whose members can be involved in applying for grants; organising fund raising events; eliciting donations or helping with publicity: some might like to join a smaller steering group.
The first and essential phase will be the roof repairs, with internal works to follow. The whole project could take several years, but the outcome will be a sound, attractive building with improved facilities for tenants and the public. A small community is undertaking one of the most challenging heritage projects in Wales.
Further information from John Hainsworth at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01691 860549.