The programme of works to preserve and improve Denbigh Castle and Conwy Castle is now complete.
The improvement scheme was implemented by Cadw – the Welsh Government’s historic environment service – in order to preserve the unique history of each Castle and improve visitor facilities. The scheme included conservation & consolidation of the Castle curtain walls and construction of a new visitor centre at Denbigh Castle, along with the extensive refurbishment of an existing visitor centre at Conwy Castle.
Grosvenor Construction Limited was the main contractor for both visitor centre projects. B3 was the architect for Denbigh Castle and R. V Williams was the structural engineer. Ferguson Mann Architects Limited was the architect on Conwy Castle Visitor Centre.
Rory Moore of Grosvenor Construction Limited carried out the conservation and consolidation repairs at Denbigh Castle, whilst William Mellor was responsible for the construction of the new visitor centre.
Conservation works at Denbigh Castle included the removal of cement based mortar – left over from previous restoration work – and the removal of vegetation.
A series of rebuilding and stabilisation works were then carried out using locally sourced lime stone to match the existing masonry.
Work also included re-pointing stonework using natural hydraulic lime mortar.
Cintec anchoring systems were also installed to help stabilize & conserve the remains of the Castle’s structure.
With the conservation repairs at Denbigh Castle now complete, a brand new visitor centre was constructed to detail the Castle’s rich history. Features of the centre include a shop, cafe and a multisensory interpretation area.
A short film designed to help children and families uncover the history of the Castle will play out to visitors entering the centre, whilst interpretative panels that combine reconstruction drawings and informative text have also been incorporated. A display of medieval artefacts found during excavation works and a collection of replica objects are another interesting feature that visitors can now enjoy.
Sustainable features include solar panels, a Sedum green roof and a ground source heat pump, whilst LED lighting is installed throughout the building.
The new visitor centre at Denbigh Castle was funded through Cadw’s £19 million European-funded Heritage Tourism project, which is backed by £8.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
To complete the conservation and improvement scheme on the two Welsh Castles, the existing visitor centre at Conwy Castle received an extensive makeover. Similar to Denbigh Castle’s visitor centre, the facility includes an informative piece of animation created by Dinamo Productions – producers of BBC Children’s cartoon Rastamouse – and artwork detailing the history of the Castle.
The artwork includes an effigy of Edward I, a digital fireplace, stained glass windows and a wooden guard that has been constructed using medieval joinery techniques. All of the artwork is accompanied by information boards detailing the reconstruction works at the Castle.
David Penberthy, Head of Interpretation and Lifelong Learning for Cadw, said:
“We’re always looking for innovative and creative ways to hook visitors into our history, and using artists opens up a whole new way of examining our past. Being able to offer the story in a variety of ways – be it through a children’s trail, information boards, or through works of art – will open up Conwy to a wider audience.”
A smart phone app for the Castle has also been created, whilst the popular Time Detectives trail will remain in use at the Castle.
Grosvenor Construction Limited
With years of experience in the restoration and conservation sector, Grosvenor Construction Limited has successfully completed work for CADW, English Heritage and the National Trust. Grosvenor Construction Limited boasts a team of skilled professionals that includes stone carvers, carpenters, plasterers and fixer masons, along with a bank of tried and tested subcontractors all well versed in the specialist needs required when working within this industry.
Health and safety is taken very seriously, with Grosvenor Construction Limited employing a full time H&S manager trained to NEBOSH level.
Rory Moore, Grosvenor Construction Limited, said:
“My own experience is in masonry restoration and conservation and my colleague William Mellor has considerable experience in construction – specialising in new build, design and build and reordering works within Churches and historic buildings.
“This experience and our track record enable the company to offer a service that provides clients with modern construction technology in a way that is sympathetic to the historic environment.
“Due to the specialist nature of our work, we cover most areas of the UK and Wales.”
All of Grosvenor Construction Limited’s staff hold CSCS Heritage Gold Skills Cards and are trained to a minimum of NVQ Level 3 in masonry. Grosvenor Construction Limited is also a member of the Contractor Health and Safety Assessment Scheme, Considerate Constructors Scheme, Stone Federation and has an ongoing programme of CPD.