Gwrych Castle, Abergele, North Wales
"In 1977 I came from Stockport to live in Abergele at the age of 14. The Castle had a magic draw to it and my paper round took me along its boundaries. During summer holidays, a few of my classmates worked at the Jousting Show held in the Castle gardens, in time the Castle hosted many different events that were significant in my life. There were car rallies, our "Tech Christmas Dance", I fell off my first motorbike on the 180° corner that leads to the main entrance. There was a massive scooter rally held there, and even the world famous Dragon motorcycle rally was hosted at Gwrych over a bitter January weekend in 1983.
The Castle Bar was a lovely place set overlooking the Irish Sea, but unfortunately the restaurants did not pay, the numbers dropped and the they could sustain the overheads. A change of ownership did nothing for the Castle's fortunes and the building was closed down. Essential repairs were ignored and the dereliction slowly crept in.
Tim Roberts, Ian Phasey and myself were the last people to live in the flat above the main courtyard, we used to have some wonderful nights with the fire blazing, cans of beer, no electricity and just the atmosphere of the empty Castle. There was also one roaming Alsation which belonged to Tim!
Since then I have lived in Gwrych's shadow and watched vandals, new age travellers and even a film crew come along and reek havoc with the building. There is also Conwy Council who have neglected their duty and frankly have failed to save this Grade One Listed building. I am sick and tired that the people who should act on our behalf don't do so. For the sake of Abergele and North Wales I want this building Compulsory Purchased and returned to the Trust who can then get the funds this valuable building deserves and we can hopefully restore parts of the building and create a museum for North Wales.
Best wishes to Mark for all his hard work.
Submitted by Andrew Woods, Chairman of the Abergele Chamber of Commerce
©Mark Baker 2003