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Museum shortlisted for national award

By Sue Austin | Mid Wales | Attractions | Published:

A mid Wales museum has been shortlisted for a national award.

The Servants' Hall

The Judge's Lodging in Presteigne is a finalist in the Best Day Out category at the Welsh Hospitality Awards, which are being held at The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff on Monday.

Earlier this year, The Judge's Lodging Trust charity took over the building from former owner, Powys County Council.

"We are absolutely delighted to have again reached the finals of these prestigious awards," said Gabrielle Rivers, The Judge's Lodging's development manager.

The Judge's Lodging was formerly a lodging house for judges and the building also housed the county courtroom and cells. Built in 1829, it remained a working court until 1990, with much of its furnishings remaining in the building, even though judges had stopped staying there in 1970.

One of the rooms in the Judges Lodgings

Restoration work in the 1990s was undertaken under the advice of the last housekeeper to tend the judges. Museum staff have worked hard over the years to develop certain areas with small additions and items of furnishings have been loaned by the National Museum Wales from its collections, where original pieces were missing.

From the lavish judge's apartments to the dingy servants' quarters below and the damp cells, visitors can explore the gaslit world.

The visit includes an audiotour of voices from the past, including Mary, the hardworking maid and the Rev Richard Lister Venables, chairman of the magistrates and employer of the famous diarist Francis Kilvert, portrayed by actor Robert Hardy.

Gabrielle said: "As we close our doors for the season, this is incredibly warming news. However the Christmas tree arrives next week, in preparation for our winter schools programme."

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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