Portmeirion Part 1 The Italianate Village

Bridge House [1959], the second gateway into this stunning Italianate village in North Wales.

Portmeirion was brought into being by Clough Williams-Ellis [1883-1978], who had it built on his own private peninsula on the coast of Snowdonia National Park.  Clough was deeply committed to the conservation of rural Wales, and spent much of his time campaigning for the protection of the environment.  His motto was: “Cherish the past, adorn the present, construct for the future.”

250,000 visitors come to Portmeirion every year and the admission fee [currently £12.00 adult] contributes to the upkeep of the village and gardens.  Please take a stroll with me around this fabulous wonderland.   

The Roundhouse [1959] was used as Number Six’s residence in the 1960’s series of “The Prisoner”.  It now houses Number Six, the Prisoner Shop.

The Loggia which houses a Buddha [1963].

The gilt statue of Buddha, salvaged from the relics of a film shoot of “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness”, starring Miss Ingrid Bergman, in 1958.

The Bell Tower, also called the Campanile [1928] embodies stone from the twelfth century castle of Gruffydd ap Cynan, King of North Wales.

The Fountain Pool in the Piazza [1965, listed Grade 11 in 1971], built to replace an unsightly tennis court that had been there since the 1930’s.

The Bristol Collonade, designed by James Bridges c.1760, rebuilt here 1959.  Originally built by the Quaker copper smelter William Reeve in Bristol.

Angel holding scroll, in the style of French or Netherlands fifteenth-century sculpture.

View of the village from high up in the woodlands.

Statue of St Peter near the entrance to the village.

The Gothic Pavilion [1965] A gift from Nercwys Hall, Flintshire, N Wales.

A Wishing Well, adorned with a group of copper dolphins. A gift from the staff of Portmeirion, to Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, on his eightieth birthday.

The gardens and extensive woodlands are quite magnificent.

The Prisoner” was filmed here at Portmeirion in the 1960′s.  Patrick McGoohan  starred as Number Six, in the seventeen episode series, which began with him resigning from his top secret government job, being gassed and falling unconscious. He wakes in a sinister village from which there is no escape. The captives are brainwashed but Number 6 is the only one who refuses to be broken: “I am not a number; I am a free man”.

The series was probably one of the most influential pieces of televison of the 1960s and even The Beatles were fans. Its cult status was confirmed with the establishment in the 1970s of the official Prisoner Appreciation Society, Six of One.

Clough Williams-Ellis wrote:

“Patrick McGoohan’s ingenious and indeed mysterious television series, “The Prisoner”, stands alone for its revealing presentation of the place.  When seen in colour at the local cinema, a performance he kindly arranged, Portmeirion, itself, seemed to me, at least, to steal the show from its human cast.”


See also: The Enchanted Wild Wood at Portmeirion:



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