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Today (28th May) is the birthday of architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, born in 1883, who most famously designed the Italian style village Portmeirion, just outside Portmadog in Gwynedd, North Wales. Sir Clough Williams-Ellis was selected for inclusion in the 100 Welsh heroes website.

The Welsh library in Main Arts has several books written by Sir Clough Wiiliams-Ellis, including his autobiographies Architect Errant and Around the World in Ninety Years; a book called England and the Octopus, published in 1928, which complained about the way towns and cities spread out octopus tentacles into the countryside; three pamphlets about Portmeirion; and books on Welsh slate roofs, cottage building and the pleasures of architecture. We also have a collection of 80 drawings by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, in a book authored by Richard Haslam, and a couple of biographies. All the books can be found by searching the library catalogue for Sir Clough Williams-Ellis.

Paul Vallely wrote an article for The Independent, in 2008, about Portmeirion and the classic television series The Prisoner.

There is an official Portmeirion website, and you can also visit Sir Clough Williams-Ellis’ former home Plas Brondanw, which is not far from Portmeirion. I particularly like the story of how he acquired Pentwr, the ruined tower near Plas Brondanw. I’ve visted the Brondanw gardens, which are lovely, and the ruined tower,  although I didn’t actually realise they belonged to Sir Clough Williams-Ellis’ estate until researching this blog post!

Sir Clough Williams-Ellis papers are held at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, and our own Bangor University Library Archives have the diary of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis’ great great grandmother, Patty Clough, covering the years 1786 – 1836.


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