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Llandrindod Wells, its
Waters and its History
its name implies, the history of the town is linked with the health
giving waters which it has to offer. It is therefore surprising
to find that, although the beneficial effects of taking the waters
were known to the Romans, the development of the town did not
take place until the mid 19th century with the coming of the railway.
It then grew at an astonishing rate, as the taking of the waters
became a fashionable part of Victorian Life. However when tracing
the history of our town and the surrounding area, the Roman occupation
of Britain provided the first evidence of spa waters in the area.
best known Roman settlement in the area was situated at Castell
Collen, just outside Llandrindod Wells. Today it is an important
archaeological site. As already mentioned, the health giving benefits
of the many types of waters coming from local springs were already
known to the Romans but it was not until the end of the seventeenth
century that the saline springs were mentioned in local reports
from the area, although no development of note followed.
At that time the
town of Llandrindod Wells did not exist and the area comprised
just a few scattered farming communities, the Llanerch Inn and
two 13th century churches, both of which still see regular worship.
The one is the former parish church, which is almost 1,000 feet
above sea level and overlooks the present town and the other,
Cefnllys Church, just over a mile from Llandrindod Wells in a
beautiful and remote beauty spot known locally as Shaky Bridge.
1749, a gentleman called Mr. Grosvenor, an astute and far-sighted
entrepreneur, bought and extended a few local houses to encourage
visitors and, more speculatively, built a large hotel overlooking
the present lake and just below the parish church mentioned earlier.
With rooms for several hundred guests it offered a wide range
of facilities for visitors, including hairdressers, milliners,
For entertainment there was billiards racing and rooms to cater
for balls and assemblies.
And of course, the
local spring waters could be sampled, encouraged by a work on
the beneficial effects of taking the waters', which had been prepared
by Dr. Wessel Linden in 1756. This enterprise was open for about
forty years but during this time acquired a somewhat dubious reputation
and the building fell into disrepair and closed some time after
site of the hotel is now occupied by the Hall Farm, nestling beneath
the Old Parish Church.
area then reverted to its former anonymous state until the coming
of the Central Wales Railway in 1865. The railway made the area
much more accessible and coincided with the Victorian fashion
for taking the waters.
The town began to grow, only slowly at first but speculators soon
saw the potential offered by good rail access, a bountiful supply
of building land and the profusion of medicinal waters.
1880 Radnorshire County Council established its offices in the
town and the phenomenal growth of the town was now well under
Hotels, apartments, new treatment centres, two pavilions, a golf
course, bowling and putting greens and a 14 acre boating lake
were all built within a few years to cater for as many as 80,000
visitors a year.
visitors, who represented in the main the gentility from all over
the land, brought their own entourage of servants, further swelling
the numbers in the town. Local papers listed week by week the
names of visitors resident in Llandrindod Wells, reflecting the
importance not only of being there but of being seen to be there.
The growth of the town continued unabated into the early twentieth
century, with the railway at one stage running through trains
to destinations as far apart as London, Birmingham, Manchester
the outbreak of the First World War saw a drastic reduction in
the numbers of visitors and the area was slow to recover after
the cessation of hostilities. Also the depression, followed by
the growth of seaside holidays, which were becoming more readily
available to the ordinary working people, saw the decline continue.
The Second World War heralded what appeared to be a terminal decline
in the popularity of visiting the town and taking the waters.
Llandrindod Wells saw an opportunity to consolidate its role as
an administrative Centre, and established a light industrial base
in the town. Increased housing to encourage new businesses, and
a good range of shopping facilities, enabled the town to grow
at a steady and sustainable rate.
years have seen a welcome increase in visitors holidaying in the
town, and Llandrindod Wells boasts a variety of accommodation
to suit all tastes and pockets, including large, well-appointed
hotels, licensed guest houses, bed and breakfast, farmhouse accommodation,
caravan and camping facilities.
are many regular attractions to cater for visitors, the best known
of which are Drama Festival Week at the beginning of May each
year, and the Victorian Festival at the end of August. The Royal
Welsh Show, the largest agricultural show in the U.K., is held
in July each year at Llanelwedd, six miles south of Llandrindod
Wells and is an extremely popular family venue.
to the future for Llandrindod Wells, there are plans to develop
the former Rock Park Spa and provide up-to-date treatment as a
Hydrotherapy Centre. This will make full use of the beneficial
effects to be obtained from the local mineral waters. Improvements
in the Rock Park plus the new 'Heritage Trail', mean that Llandrindod
Wells can look forward to the 21st century with a sense of excitement