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Latitude: 52.5636 / 52°33'49"N
Longitude: -3.3698 / 3°22'11"W
OS Eastings: 307246
OS Northings: 297080
OS Grid: SO072970
Mapcode National: GBR 9Q.CM00
Mapcode Global: WH79Z.6TLJ
Plus Code: 9C4RHJ7J+C3
Entry Name: Fir House
Listing Date: 31 January 1997
Last Amended: 31 January 1997
Source ID: 18144
Building Class: Domestic
Location: Located at the end of a farm road on S side of a minor road between Tregynon and Bwlch-y-fridd, approximately 2.9km SW of parish church.
Traditional County: Montgomeryshire
Constructed in unreinforced concrete c1870 by Henry Hanbury-Tracy as part of the Gregynog Estate. Hanbury-Tracy's use of the material at Gregynog was intended to demonstrate the benefits of building in concrete, which it was said reduced the cost of a house by nearly a half compared to brick or stone. The concrete was made from river gravel and brick fragments bonded with cement. It was laid in wet courses directly onto the wall using timber shuttering and finished with a skim coat of render. Concrete was also used for mullions, chimneys, floor and roof slabs, partition walls, fireplace and stair construction. Fir House is one of 3 houses built to the same design (the others are at Gwaentrebeddau, Tregynon, and Brynycil, Bettws). It remained part of the Gregynog Estate until it was sold off in the 1920s. The 1881 census shows that the house was originally divided between the farmhouse and servants' quarters. The building remains separated into 2 units: a farmhouse and holiday cottage.
2-storey, of rendered concrete, with slate roof, and Gothic detailing. Integral lean-tos to R and rear. The 4-window front has angle pilaster strips, moulded architraves and a plat band. The windows have concrete mullions with round-headed lights (3-light in the upper storey, with 2-light above the porch, and 4-light in the lower storey). Each incorporates an iron frame casement. The porch is to L of centre and has a pointed arch and slate roof. Axial stacks at L end and R of centre. The lean-to to R has a C20 casement in its lateral wall. The rear elevation has similar windows to front, with plainer architraves. To L is an original lean-to (with further lean-tos added late C20).
The interior retains its original subdivision (although internal openings between them are now blocked off), the servants' quarters, now holiday cottage, occupying the unit to R with lean-tos. All internal partition walls are of concrete and the ground floor is said to be laid with concrete slabs. The roof is said to be constructed with cast iron rafters and concrete slabs, over which slates were laid. The main house has a central stair hall with straight concrete stair, which has a concrete handrail moulded into the wall. 2 units in the lower storey. The room to R has a fireplace with a concrete overmantle on brackets, and a timber spine beam with exposed joists. The servants' quarters is single unit. The lean-to to R is said to contain a timber stair and concrete steps to a barrel-vaulted cellar in concrete.
Of special interest for its experimental use of unreinforced concrete and as one of an important series of concrete farmhouses on the former Gregynog Estate. The building also makes an important contribution to the surviving group of concrete buildings in Tregynon.
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