Powys Built Heritage
Powys Built Heritage

Llandrindod Wells Architectural Styles

As a leading spa town Llandrindod became a showcase for the latest design fashions and as a result almost every recognisable type of Victorian and Edwardian design detail can still be seen around the town. Every property is different and there is evidence of the influences of many architectural styles including Gothic, Arts & Crafts, Art Deco & Art Nouveau.

Creating the right impression was very important in Victorian culture and the exterior of the building was just as necessary as the interior, it was a reflection of the occupant’s wealth and status.

The town’s architectural language and elegance is the direct result of its evolution as a spa resort that explains the impressive scale and quality of the built environment found within the town. The town still contains fine examples of period design, construction and materials. The dominance of redbrick and slate was a direct result of their ease of importation and houses had spectacular profiles – rich ornamentation in terracotta, marble or cast iron, and the use of banded stone and brick. The influence of the arts & crafts movement at the end of the 19th century can be seen in tall chimneys, tile hung walls with fish scale tiles, sash windows with glazing bars only in the upper sash, porthole windows and a plethora of balconies. Art Nouveau with its swirling lines and writhing plants.

Buildings in central Llandrindod are invariably three or four storeys with a distinct vertical emphasis which is accentuated by their individual elements, such as sash, dormer windows, turreting and tall ornate chimney stacks.

Verandas, Balconies, Canopies & Railings

The most characteristic feature of the town are the cast iron and glass verandas or canopies and the wooden and iron balconies. They define the particular character of the centre of town. Unlike other elements of Victorian design which tended to be influenced by the fashion trends in cities, local craftsmen embodied stylistic influences from their particular areas and this provides a fascinating insight into local taste and heritage.

Chimneys & roofs

The sky line of Llandrindod has been enriched by the variety of detail and ornamentation of chimneys, ridge tiles, finials the ornamental detail of which is to be cherished. The most common detail of Victorian roofs is the decorative finials of either wood or terracotta, decorative feature used to terminate a gable. Practical yet decorative brickwork chimneys and chimney pots can be seen on many a roof around the town. There is also a wealth of decorative fascias to be seen around the town. Welsh slate is the predominant roof covering material in the town.

A wide variety of dormer windows are also in evidence across the town ranging in size and detail.

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Doors

The most prominent and often the most decorated area of the exterior was the doorway. The doorway and its surround is a key feature of a Victorian or Edwardian property. Panelled wooden doors, often glazed panels were richly painted and set within surrounds of appropriate proportion to increase the sense of importance of the entry way. Moulded brickwork piers and archways, terracotta decoration and tiling are amongst the treatments which typically complemented the doors. Pilasters with flutes and voluted capitals to porches are interesting evidence of the fashion of the period. Door furniture: handles, knockers etc are also often bold.

Towers & turrets

Important corner buildings are frequently topped with towers and turrets of various designs, sometimes circular, some square with pointed or flat tops. Providing exciting examples of copper, lead and tile work.

Shop fronts

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Fortunately for Llandrindod many original Victorian shop fronts have been retained, which greatly enhance the town’s character. These incorporate ornate iron work, moulded timber, classically inspired pilasters & consoles, ventilation grills and panelled stall risers. There is quite often intricate detailing to many shop fronts in the town centre, with curved glass featuring in a number of shop windows and original mosaic detailing remaining on many of the shop thresholds.

 

Windows

Windows form one of the most significant construction elements of a building, their style and proportions always affect its character and appearance. At the start of Victoria’s reign the common form of window was the 12 panel vertical sliding sash found in most Georgian and Regency houses. The abolition of the window tax in 1851 and of the duty on glass in 1857, together with the commercial availability of polished sheet glass encouraged designers to respond with four and six pane windows. A revival of the use of bay and bow windows allowing more light and space into rooms was soon to follow. By the end of the nineteenth century even working class parlours had a bay window, but by then the middle classes were demanding that the bay be carried up to the next storey to include the front bedroom. In the 1870’s architects began to decorate windows with stained glass. There are many examples of stain glass panels within Llandrindod adding colour and interest.

Case Study ...



Grantley, Spa Road

Grantley before and after restoration
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