Powys Built Heritage
Powys Built Heritage

History of Llandrindod Wells

The development of Llandrindod occurred during a short and well documented period at the end of the 19th century. The apparent reason was the then fashionable activity of “taking the waters”. Llandrindod was a leading spa town.

Although the existence of the springs had been known for centuries, the first proven attempt to take commercial advantage was not until 1732.

The coming of the railway in the 1860s resulted in rapid development of the town. The Central Wales line was fully opened in 1868 giving a through connection from Shrewsbury to Swansea and making Llandrindod within easy reach for the people in the large industrial towns & cities of the North West of England, the Midlands and South Wales. The easing of transport difficulties saw the start of a boom in the town’s popularity. Visitors began to come in large numbers as for the first time the ‘holiday’ was no longer the sole preserve of the wealthy. Pevsner described Llandrindod as ‘an oasis of redbrick in the greenest of landscapes’.

A new spring was discovered in 1867 and a pump room and bath house were soon erected, gardens were laid out and the whole area became known as Rock Park. The area around Rock Park saw rapid development, forming the centre of a new and expanding town. By the early 1870s the surrounding land had been filled with new streets, a market hall, the Congregational Church, shops, hotels and private houses. Progress was slower on the land to the east of the railway. In the early 1870’s the marshy land near the Pump House Hotel was drained to form an ornamental lake. Llandrindod Wells at that time was a town designed to meet the varied needs of Victorian visitors.

The outbreak of the First World War saw a drastic reduction in the number of visitors. The 30s depression followed by the greater availability of seaside holidays added to the rapid decline in the town’s fortunes.

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