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Rhiwbina Garden Village

After a great weekend catching up with Tom, Laura, Mark and friends in Cardiff, I visited Rhiwbina Garden Village in north Cardiff. The village layout was designed in 1913 by Britain’s leading Garden City architects, Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin, to the ideals of the Garden City Movement; this championed better living conditions for the working class and aimed to offer a healthy alternative to the poor living conditions of overcrowded inner city slums – simple, well-planned houses, with lovely gardens and plenty of open space, at an affordable rent.

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There is a Light That Never Goes Out

When I was a young boy, my bedroom window looked out over fields towards Strumble Head lighthouse. I used to fall asleep to the comforting rhythm of the lighthouse beam scanning across my window: one, two, three, four, then a dark gap of four, then it would start up again. It was a nocturnal equivalent to counting sheep, only for Welshmen, possibly more wholesome. I often used to wonder what it was like for the Lighthouse keepers out there on Ynys Meicel . . .

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The Homewood

The Homewood is a stunning modernist house in Esher left to the National Trust by Patrick Gwynne, its architect and resident for 65 years. Gwynne was the son of a wealthy naval officer who had Welsh roots. They lived in a large Edwardian villa set in 10 acres which Gwynne senior had spent 20 years turning into gorgeous gardens. The Edwardian house was right next to the busy Portsmouth Road and the Gwynne’s crockery would shake every time a lorry passed. Read more →

Mid-Century Modern Cardiff

I spent last Saturday exploring some cool mid-century-modern buildings in Cardiff. Laura and I met for lunch in Penarth, then we drove along the coast to Sully. The old Sully Hospital is one of the few great Modernist buildings in Wales. The Art Deco structure was designed by William Pite, Son and Fairweathers and built between 1932 and 1936. It was purpose-designed for the treatment of TB sufferers – it was partly funded by wealthy mine owners and the coastal location plus huge windows reflect the era’s fascination with natural light and airy interiors.

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