History in Structure

Observatory Tower

A Grade II Listed Building in Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd

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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

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 4893

Building Class: Maritime

Also known as: Observatory Tower (Portmeirion)

ID on this website: 300004893

Location: Prominently sited on the shore-line approximately 300m S of Portmeirion Hotel.

County: Gwynedd

Community: Penrhyndeudraeth

Community: Penrhyndeudraeth

Locality: Portmeirion

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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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 IĆ¢, 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.

Reasons for Listing

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.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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