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Lottery money for historic Welsh workhouse

By Sue Austin | Llanfyllin | News | Published:

Funding has been secured for vital repairs to one of mid Wales' historic properties.

The Master’s House at Y Dolydd, Llanfyllin Workhouse, has been awarded £31,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund towards repairing the roof of the building, which stands at the heart of the Workhouse complex. It will also pay for restoring the classical cupola which was once its crowning glory.

It brings the total raised for the work to £70,000.

Llanfyllin Workhouse has been called the best preserved of all the New Poor Law workhouses in Britain.

It houses the Workhouse History Centre, Wales’s only workhouse museum, as well as workshops for local enterprises, a gallery and venue and a 24-bed bunkhouse.

Members of the building's preservation trust says that the grant will help ensure the future of the complex.

The funding will also cover a series of educational initiatives and community projects, including training for roofing apprentices, local awareness days and an exhibition on the Border Architect, Thomas Penson.

Director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Wales, Richard Bellamy said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, neglected or run-down historic buildings are not only rescued but conserved for future generations.

"Repairs, education and training at The Master’s House, Llanfyllin Workhouse will rejuvenate a much-loved building, showing how it can provide an important link to a community’s roots,

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while being adapted to meet the needs of today.”

The grant was awarded on condition that the Llanfyllin Dolydd Building Preservation Trust, which owns the workhouse, raised another £40,000 in match funding. This has now been achieved with a further grant of £20,000 from the Pilgrim Trust, one of Britain’s most highly regarded conservation charities, and £15,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation. The Trust’s Sponsor a Slate campaign has raised more than £2,500, and help has come from Cadw and from Powys’s Community Regeneration and Development Fund.

The Mayor of Llanfyllin, Councillor Simon Baynes, said: “Congratulations to everyone involved in the Llanfyllin Workhouse who have worked so hard over so many years to save and restore this magnificent building. I was a trustee of the Workhouse for seven years so I know from first-hand experience how difficult it is to raise money and win grants like these.

Work on the Master’s House should begin at the end of August, when the long-eared bats have finished breeding in the roof space. The Trust’s ecologist, Dr Mike Worsfold, has been consulting with Natural Resources Wales to make sure that they, and the lesser horseshoe bats that roost in other parts of the building, suffer the minimum disturbance. A special ‘bat flat’ will be built to provide them with alternative accommodation.

As part of the project the Dolydd volunteers are working with the Meifod Local History Group to find out more about the Workhouse Masters, Matrons and their families who lived there. On May 11 the public are invited to join them at a free history day when they can learn more about the workhouses bosses.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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