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First weekend away -- South Wales - Helen's journal and online home
heleninwales
heleninwales
First weekend away -- South Wales
The weekend before last it was time for our annual pilgrimage to Caerleon. In G's case, this was to attend the exam board meeting at the university to discuss his students' assignments and dissertations; in my case, it was just to have a day enjoying being somewhere different.

We'd travelled down the previous day because the meeting started early, so we parked at the university and G trotted off to work and, because rain was forecast, I walked down into the town straight away.

Recent archaeological excavations have revealed that Caerleon was even more important than previously thought. It was a major port back in Roman times. I wandered, as usual, past the remains of the legion's barracks.

Roman barracks, Caerleon

Then I continued on past the amphitheatre where a woman was exercising three lurchers. The dogs were having great fun, racing and bounding around the arena, which of course is all grassed over now and not covered in sand as it would have been when people watched rather more ferocious animals galloping around.

Unfortunately, it then began to rain so I hurried back up the hill to wait in the car. Usually the meetings take less time than predicted, but this time it dragged on and on. I didn't mind, I had taken plenty to do. I had a scarf to crochet and my iPod and books so I could revise my Welsh in preparation for the summer school the following week.

When G finally appeared, we drove on to Merthyr Tydfil where we were to spend the night before trundling home on the Sunday.

Merthyr is a place we'd always drive past, but on our last trip down south we did actually venture into the town centre. This time, we not only walked into the centre, where there are a number of splendid Victorian buildings, we carried on up the hill and found Cyfarthfa Park and Castle.



Merthyr High Street

As you can see, this building has been nicely cleaned and looks rather good, especially with that lighting.

Cyfarthfa Castle

And here is Cyfarthfa Castle, which is not an ancient castle but was built in the 1820s as the home of the Crawshay family, ironmasters of Merthyr Tydfil.

Despite the stormy sky in the second photo, the rain held off and we walked around the castle grounds (now a public park) and down past the lake before heading back to our hotel.
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Comments
cmcmck From: cmcmck Date: July 10th, 2014 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gorgeous Victorian Gothic!

What was/is the building in the High Street?
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: July 10th, 2014 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Unfortunately, I couldn't see a sign, so it will take a bit of research to identify it. I might have time to have a look at the weekend and if so, I'll let you know.
del_c From: del_c Date: July 11th, 2014 07:59 am (UTC) (Link)
It's the Old Town Hall. I wanted to say it was by Alfred Waterhouse, who did the Natural History Museum, a ton of town halls, and almost every Prudential Assurance building you've ever seen. But actually it turns out to be by a Welsh architect, E. A. Johnson.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: July 12th, 2014 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for identifying the building. It looked very town hallish and the location was appropriate, but from where we passed by some distance away, I couldn't see any sign.

I don't know what it is now. The modern council offices are some distance away in new buildings.
del_c From: del_c Date: July 12th, 2014 05:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
On a hunch, I just checked Ealing Town Hall, the very town-hallish building where I used to live, and it too is by a local architect. Obviously I need to tune my Gothic Revival Architects senses more finely. It's still in council hands, but they sell it hard as a wedding venue because the Registry Office is inside.

My now-local town hall, Reading Town Hall, which for once *is* by Waterhouse, has been vacated by local government and is the site of Reading Museum, a theatre venue, and a coffee shop. I think it's a good idea and a better use of a fine building in a town-centre location, to use it as a cultural centre.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: July 12th, 2014 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
del_c has identified the building as the Old Town Hall. I nearly mentioned in my post that that's what I suspected it was because it looked very town hallish and the location was appropriate, but I thought I'd better not just guess in case I was wrong.

Here's what del_c discovered:

"It's the Old Town Hall. I wanted to say it was by Alfred Waterhouse, who did the Natural History Museum, a ton of town halls, and almost every Prudential Assurance building you've ever seen. But actually it turns out to be by a Welsh architect, E. A. Johnson."
cmcmck From: cmcmck Date: July 13th, 2014 10:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I did wonder if it might have been a town hall and Johnson would explain the quality!

Thanks :o)
arkessian From: arkessian Date: July 10th, 2014 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
My mother went to school in Cyfarthfa Castle. Had to leave to find work when she was 14, and then the war took her and her family to Birmingham, but she spoke of the place very fondly.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: July 12th, 2014 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Towns like Merthyr really struggle these days now that the industry has gone, though it looks like it's had some money spent on it in recent years. But the people are usually very down to earth and genuine.
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