The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion

Recognising the contribution of Wales in contemporary society

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home > Transactions > Volume 21 - 2015 > Origins, Benefits, and Values of Four Cultural Projects in Wales

Origins, Benefits, and Values of Four Cultural Projects in Wales

This is a talk about the ideas that lay behind the creation of four major cultural projects which have helped to de ne a contemporary vision of Wales and its heritage. The four projects in which I was involved are the establishment of the National Botanic Garden of Wales, the restoration of Aberglasney, the creation of Artes Mundi, and the restoration of Llanelly House.

The National Botanic Garden
The origins of the Botanic Garden were wrapped up with the origin of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust. My late aunt was a keen naturalist and went on a walk organized by the West Wales Naturalists to the site of Middleton Hall where the county council owned woodlands which were being opened up for walkers under a job creation scheme. She came back and reported to me that there were some structures lurking in the undergrowth which she thought might interest me. Shortly afterwards I took her advice and went to explore. What I saw astonished me. Within the mess and dereliction were the remains of what, in my judgment, looked like a highly sophisticated late eighteenth-century intervention of neo- classical geometry which made outstandingly beautiful use of the existing landform. In due course the whole astonishing scale of the park would emerge as one became aware of the network of drained and silted-up lakes, all filled with alder carr.

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