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Latitude: 52.9108 / 52°54'38"N
Longitude: -4.0993 / 4°5'57"W
OS Eastings: 258925
OS Northings: 336886
OS Grid: SH589368
Mapcode National: GBR 5R.NLP9
Mapcode Global: WH55T.0379
Plus Code: 9C4QWW62+87
Entry Name: Observatory Tower
Listing Date: 14 January 1971
Last Amended: 23 August 2002
Source ID: 4893
Building Class: Maritime
Location: Prominently sited on the shore-line approximately 300m S of Portmeirion Hotel.
Portmeirion was designed and laid out by the celebrated architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis (1883-1978) following his purchase of the estate, then called Aber Iâ, in 1926. The village evolved over several decades and was still being added to in the 1970s.
The Observatory Tower was built 1936-7 to designs of October 1935. In 1939 a Camera Obscura, alledgedly taken from a German U-boat, was installed on the top floor. As in several other of Sir Clough's buildings at Portmeirion, most notably the Gloriette, the detail of the tower has been deliberately scaled down in order to increase its apparent size.
Rectangular tower of whitewashed stone. Of four stages, the 3-storey lower section with small balcony at top level facing N (towards the village). The rendered fourth storey is slightly inset, and has window openings to each face having minute external slatted wooden shutters; plain glazing. Shaped shingle roof with box like structure above with star finial over; wide eaves. The ground floor has an arched entrance to the N face and a double-arched, balustraded opening to the E; arched entrance to the second storey on the W face, accessed via a straight flight of external stone steps; small slit-like windows asymmetrically placed to all faces.
Listed as a finely-conceived and distinctive tower; one of a number of buildings and structures designed by the eminent architect and conservationist Sir Clough Williams-Ellis for his visionary Portmeirion villiage.
Group value with other listed items at Portmeirion.
Other nearby listed buildings