The Society urges Kinmel's British Virgin Islands registered owner Acer Properties, which has owned the building since 2011, to come forward with firm plans for Kinmel’s future
The Victorian Society today reveals that Conwy's Kinmel Hall is one of 2015’s Top Ten Most Endangered Victorian and Edwardian Buildings in England and Wales. The Society urges Acer Properties Limited, Kinmel's British Virgin Islands registered owner, which has owned the building since 2011, to come forward with firm plans for Kinmel’s future.
Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society Vice President, launching the Top Ten, said "These are buildings that need help, and we need your help." The national exposure from inclusion in the Society's Top Ten often leads to new inerest in the buildings which can help save them.
It is understandable why Kinmel Hall, with a façade around 500ft long, has been called the ‘Welsh Versailles’ or ‘discount Downton’. In fact, Kinmel Hall is said to have been inspired by Wren's Hampton Court and the 17th century Chateau de Balleroy. The present house was paid for by Hugh Robert Hughes, heir of a huge copper mining fortune. Country Life noted in 1969 that ‘Kinmel is an amazingly palatial house for a commoner to build himself, even a Victorian commoner and a very rich one.’ Queen Victoria herself is believed to have stayed at Kinmel in 1870 when she presented carved wooden panels. Sadly these were stolen in 2013. The owner, British Virgin Islands registered Acer Properties Limited, is since said to have stepped up security but the house remains unused and neglected with plans for a hotel seemingly no closer to implementation.
Director of the Victorian Society, Christopher Costelloe, said: ‘We're grateful to everyone who nominated Kinmel Hall. Kinmel Hall is a Grade I-listed building meaning that the Government has recognised its national importance. It is very sad that what is perhaps the greatest surviving Welsh country house is left lying unused and neglected. I urge the public to share the Top Ten list, and Griff’s message, to help ensure a strong scheme is brought forward soon to ensure its future survival.’
Pictures of Kinmel Hall can be found here.
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