Windows, Materials and Features
of Llandrindod Wells Architecture
Right:- Llandrindod Wells
There are an interesting and coherent selection of Victorian window types found within Llandrindod. Bay and dormer windows predominate, generally with sash type openings, and there are a significant number of smaller stained glass panels adding colour and interest. Window details include segmental and round arches in brick or stone, sometimes sculptured.
The Gwalia building at the top of Ithon Road, has eight, nine-panelled circular windows on the top floor of the two fine corner turreted blocks. On the opposite side of Ithon Road, Roma Mansion has a plain circular window, called a 'Bullseye' on the third floor, and above, a further three smaller bullseyes in clock-like dormers. The re-develop ment of the Christchurch site is also to include a circular window removed from the former church
In High Street the large and important building Clovelly offers perhaps the largest number of stained glass window panels in the town. While 'The Cottage', at the junction of Spa Road and Temple Street, has two Venetian inspired windows on the third floor set in the gables.
Left:- Llandrindod Wells
Sash type windows predominate throughout the Conservation Area, of which there are a great variety. The simplest have a single transome (horizontal member dividing the window) while the more ornate may have multiple panels and one or more mullions (vertical members dividing a window into 'lights').
However, perhaps the most important characteristics of Llandrindod's windows is the powerful rhythm and repetition of strong shapes which provides the essential order. If bays or dormers are removed rather than repaired the terrace or street will be robbed of its most important feature. New kinds of windows and new shapes of openings will only lead to disarray and the pleasant, rhythmic line of the terrace or street will be lost. The absence of the original bay of dormer will draw attention to itself and the accompanying erosion of quality.
In many of Britain's historic towns there has been much unnecessary destruction of character in the alteration of windows and dormers destroying the scale of the existing pattern. Llandrindod is fortunate in that the original Victorian fabric remains largely intact. However, there are signs that all is not well, and action and guidance is necessary to safeguard the Victorian character in the future.
Right:- Llandrindod Wells
The Victorian core, of Llandrindod is predominantly built of red and yellow Ruabon brick with a lesser number of buildings of natural stone. This uniform surface treatment provides each building with a certain dignity which would be spoilt by an assortment of diverse materials. Each terrace is united by a similarity of texture.
The texture of the roof plays an important part in holding together the composition of each street and terrace. If a property is re-roofed in another material a disjointed appearance will result upsetting the integration provided by continuous slate roofs. Thus, in order to protect the existing character, slate should always be preferred when a building is to be re-roofed.
The external cladding of buildings in surfacing stone, render or pebble-dash should be strongly resisted. Such treatment would only serve to destroy the essential Victorian texture, drawing attention to the building as an incongruous, alien surface in the streetscape. The original surface and texture should be respected as that which is 'right' for the building, and, as the need arises, should be cleaned or repaired.
As identified in the original report "Llandrindod Wells - A Conservation Area" perhaps the most important and characteristic features of Llandrindod are the cast iron and glass verandas or canopies, and the iron and wooden balconies. These features are an important part of the streetscape and often an integral and essential part of particular buildings.
Important corner buildings are frequently topped with turrets of various design, sometimes circular, sometimes square, with pointed or flattened tops. The Hotel Metropole has two fine copper turrets to its rear though most turrets in the town are of slate.
However, because of the age of many of these features and, in many instances, a lack of maintenance over the years, increasingly urgent action is necessary if they are to be retained as part of the town scene. It is important that these characteristics are respected and protected in the future for their own sake, as an inheritance from the past, for the sake of the town's people, and for tourists re-discovering Llandrindod as part of the increased interest in spa towns.
Because of their great architectural, historic and aesthetic interest, these important features require exact replacement of missing or decayed parts. Such genuine Victoriana commands respect and very special attention must be given to every part.
Reproduced from the booklet
'Victorian Architecture of Llandrindod Wells'
Copyright Powys County Council - Visit http://www.llandrindod.co.uk
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