Gwrych Castle: A Pictorial History, 2000

Following on from the success of The Rise and Fall of Gwrych Castle in 1999 many people suggested that a picture postcard collection should be assembled. During the summer of the year 2000 I started to collate a selection from the vast archive of material which I had assembled during the several years prior to this. It was a rather different experience than writing a book. When I fell ill with chickenpox this meant lots of rest and recuperation which allowed more time to be devoted to the book. I remember being asked to open the Llanddulas Millennium Festival together with Brian Jones, co-author of ‘Llanddulas – Heritage of a Village’, but I was so ill and covered in spots I was unable to leave the house! The chickenpox lingered on for so long that most of the talks with the printers Gee and Son, Denbigh were done over the phone via a third party. As the gentleman in charge had never had chickenpox himself and his grandson had neither also, returning to school was delayed by a few weeks but this gave me more time to edit the selection of images and to finalise the captions.

The colour of the cover was taken from the back leaf of a little volume I had bought some years previously, on Celtic history. It was a cross between a Victorian bottle green and the colour of ivy. When the book was printed I was hugely impressed by the quality of the printing and of the materials used; the closure of Gee and Sons has been a tremendous loss to North Wales. I asked Liz Legge, the chairperson of the Llanddulas Village Hall Association to write the forward as the association had been a great support to the campaign for the rescue of Gwrych. It was at the village hall, on November 25th 2000 that the book was launched and despite the changeable weather over one hundred people attended. Looking back, this book really proved to cement the campaign for Gwrych.

Book Details:

Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Brampton House Publishing (26 Nov. 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0707403499
ISBN-13: 978-0707403496
Product Dimensions: 20 x 14.6 x 1 cm

Back Cover:

The successor to 1999’s Rise and Fall of Gwrych Castle was published in November 2000 when Mark Baker was aged fifteen years old. It is a Victorian style picture-postcard collection, with images taken from the vast archive that has been collected over the years. It illustrates the history of Gwrych, Estate and the campaign to find a resolution to the dereliction of the Castle. Following winning an award as ASDA’s Local Hero for Mark’s involvement with saving the built heritage, this book is sponsored by ASDA.


Foreword by Liz Legge, Chairperson of the Llanddulas Village Hall Association
Hesky’s Old Library (Hesketh Family)
The Formidable Lady Dundonald (Dundonald Family)
The Estate
Views of Gwrych
Entertainment Years
The Sad Decline
The Campaign
Contact Organisations

Book Reviews:

Schoolboy Gives a History Lesson

A book charting the history of a crumbling mansion in pictures will be launched this weekend.
15 year old Mark Baker has compiled a unique pictorial history of Gwrych Castle, a Grade 1 listed building in Abergele. Using pictures sourced from as far as Australia, this fascinating collection shows the castle throughout the changing seasons – as you’ve never seen it before.

“Although publishing this book has been expensive, I think it is important to our community to try to make an effort to save the castle. I would like to thank the Friends of Gwrych Castle (ASFOG) and Margaret Lambert Jones for all their help”, said Mark, who will attend the book launch at Llanddulas Village Hall on Saturday.

“Hopefully the book will make an unusual Christmas gift for people”, he added.
Mark’s dedication to saving the 200 year old derelict pile began when he was just 12 years old and in recent months he has taken his cause to the top, appearing on TV with Esther Rantzen and meeting Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Abergele and Pensarn Visitor, 2000

Mark Relives Castle History
A teenager who has fought to save Gwrych Castle has published his second book about the historic landmark. Mark Baker, 15, from Prestatyn has put together A Pictorial History of Gwrych Castle using postcards and pictures donated and loaned by people who visited the castle in its heyday, the National Library of Wales and private collections.

The book also features pictures taken when Mark, a pupil at Rydal Penrhos in Colwyn Bay, met Prince Charles for private talks about the future of the castle on a visit to North Wales. The teenager, who has also written the book ‘The Rise and Fall of Gwrych Castle’ which traces the history of the building and the many families who lived there, said “I am very pleased to get this second book done and hope that it is well received by the public. I am not sure whether I will start work immediately on the next book, as I have my GCSE’s coming up and need to prepare for them.

The book was launched at an exhibition held at Llanddulas Village Hall, which included memorabilia concerning the 19th century folly. Invluding printed maps of the estate dating back to the 1840’s.

• The American owner of Gwrych Castle has promised to inject $3 million into giving the folly a facelift. In a phone conversation with Mark, Californian Nick Tavaglione said he hoped to return the exterior and part of the grounds to its former glory, as well as some of the interior.

Rhyl and Prestatyn Journal, 2000

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