Saving Penllergare

Following the death of Sir John Talbot Dillwyn Llewelyn in 1927, the family moved away and the estate changed hands several times. Eventually, in 1961, the ‘Big House’ was destroyed and replaced by council offices. Development and vandalism added to the effects of neglect. The woodland gardens were top-sliced by the M4 motorway. Modern houses were built right up to the Walled Gardens and spilled into the old parkland. Penllergare became wild – an adventure playground for the young, a ‘no go area’ for others – and its past Victorian glories became lost in the overgrowth. However, the beauty and tranquillity of old Penllergare still remained in the collective memories of the many people who, over the last eighty years, had walked, played and courted in this secluded valley – as well as being captured for posterity in the superb early photographs of John Dillwyn Llewelyn.