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Project information

Gwrych and The Great War: People and Place

Turning memoirs into stories and play to be performed in and around Gwrych Castle Estate in June 2018.
Looking at the changes that have occurred in relationship to mental health, having fun with people's memories, taking seriously hope people coped with the changes from 1913-1919

October 2017 - June 2018

Charity information: Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust Limited

Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust Limited logo
  • Need


    Showing the massive changes that occurred in this area from 1913-1919 with the Great War and how this still effects us today.
    Looking at mental health attitudes then and now, how we deal with memory and what is good to share and what is not.


    Using plays, poems and stories we will recreate the period, taking people on a journey through Gwrych estate and through the lives of people who lived and worked in the area and experienced the changes.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Turning memoirs into plays, poems and stores


    » Writing groups within the local school to look at the memoirs and write what they see and feel from them.
    » Using the existing group that meets at Gwrych Castle on a Tuesday to look at the memoirs, write what they see and feel from them and writing from
    » Inviting people from other local writing groups to be a part of looking at the memoirs, write what they see and feel from them.

    What success will look like

    By keeping records of the written material, some of which will be published and some which will be on display boards in the Countess's Writing Room at Gwrych Castle.

    Aim 2

    Turn the written pieces into performances


    » Time spent with local people involved in theatre and drama taking advise on how to make writing into performance
    » Rehearsals in and around the castle estate
    » Performances on at the Midsummer Open day in June 2018

    What success will look like

    By keeping a record of visitor numbers to the weekend, and also recording it to go on Gwrych's YouTube account, Facebook page and website

  • Impact


    By involving local schools and others who would not normally be involved in events on Gwrych estate this will gain more local involvement, local "ownership" of the estate and help locals to see more than just on a regular open day the restoration and reasons behind the way the restoration is happening.
    This will be demonstrated by an increase in volunteers which will lead to an increase in events at the Castle.


    Risks could be the lack of involvement from the local community. We are dealing with that now by putting out calls for people to be involved, going to events in the area to promote the project, and gathering a data base of people who wish to be involved.
    We now have the minimum amount of people required to make this project happen


    Via Gwrych's website and facebook page, by emailing the members,, those on our mailing list, and volunteers. We will then ask all contacted to pass on the information to friends, family and acquaintances. We will contact the local media to get this in the local papers.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £12,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £9,000 Performance Have a series of plays held around the estate with sounds, lighting, and gazebos in case of rain
      £2,000 Writing groups to cover local writing facilitator, Barefoot At The Kitchen Table, to host series of writing groups
      £1,000 Advertising posters, flyers, banners, in newspapers

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Cartrefi £2,500 Guaranteed
    Conwy Local Action Group £3,922 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Gwrych Castle is a ruined mock Gothic Georgian castle on the edge of Abergele. The area is struggling due to lack of industry, decline in farming and not being on the tourist highway.
    Abergele itself has a high elderly population but still supports 3 primary and one high school. It is on the boarder of a high Welsh speaking area but the town itself is divided on whether it wants to be a Welsh-speaking or English-speaking majority.


    This project would help to place Abergele on the tourist trail and stem those who just get on the A55 at the end of the M6 and go either straight through to the ferry to Ireland or to the A5 into Snowdonia. Along this events that CADW are promoting it would help to show the diversity of this area.
    Gwrych Castle was once called the "Jewel of Wales" back in the 1940s and 50s. This project would help to make this possible.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Gwrych Preservation Trust is best placed to do this because it has been involved for the last 20 years in making Gwrych be on the local agenda. Since 2013 it has leased 5 acres of the estate from the owners. The owners are now offering the whole estate to the Trust to purchase.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Diane Woodrow

    Education Officer, runs writing workshops on the estate, networks, applies for funding and goes into local schools to promote the events

    Mark Baker

    Founder of Gwrych Preservation Trust and the driving force behind the restoration of the Castle.

    Mark Aronwich

    Site manager, in charge of volunteers and the person does the grunt work, motivates and organises others to do likewise for any events that happen

    Robin Timson

    Events organiser, does advertising, puts dates are on the calendar and that Mark Aronwich knows what needs doing for the onsite events