An extensive programme of conservation works is currently underway to conserve a historic Mumbles monument.
The Oystermouth Castle Conservation Project is being led by Swansea Council in order to conserve, repair and improve access to the important Swansea landmark. The £3.1 million partnership project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Welsh Government, Cadw and Visit Wales, European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) and the City and County of Swansea. The project has also received great support from the Friends of Oystermouth Castle, a locally formed volunteer group.
The main contractor for the project is WRW Construction Ltd, Llanelli and the architects are Davies Sutton Associates, Cardiff.
In a rich and varied past, the 12th-14th century Oystermouth Castle has seen the likes of Kings, Lords and Ladies residing within its thick stone walls. The monument was originally built as a stronghold to keep people out, but in 2010 the dilapidated castle opened its doors to the public once more.
Initial works included the construction of new access points and footways to enable people to enter the castle whilst at the same time reconnecting the structure to the Victorian seaside village of Mumbles.
Visitor facilities have been provided within the castle, including Alinas Chapel which has never been opened to the public. In addition, a modern glass bridge has been inserted at the chapel level in order to represent the addition of a 2011 layer of history to the medieval structure.
During the works, the discovery of medieval murals, inscriptions, coins and even staircases within staircases have provided puzzles for conservationists and architects to resolve.
The people of Mumbles – particularly local traders and community groups – have been delighted at what they see as a huge boost for local tourism. A Phase One July 2011 Open Day was a huge success and now follow-up events are being planned in partnership with the City and County of Swansea.
Between July 2011 and September 2011, 13,000 people visited the castle whilst works were still ongoing.
From October 2011 to May 2012 further works will take place to stitch back together the ruinous structures rising from the limestone bedrock within the castle walls. In June 2012, a medieval labyrinth of vaults, chambers and rooms within the walls of the castle will be waiting to be discovered by the public, who will be able to explore the mysteries of the mazelike castle structure.