Shrewsbury photographers to capture Gwrych Castle's transformation

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[gallery] A pair of photographers from Shropshire have embarked on a three-year project to document the transformation of a 200-year-old derelict Welsh castle into a five-star luxury hotel.

Partners Scott Cartwright and Tracy Williams from Shrewsbury have been signed up to photograph ambitious plans to develop Gwrych Castle in Abergele into a Country House Hotel and Spa.

The pair will be producing a time-lapse record of the entire project using both stills and video as well as documenting all major steps during the building work to be compiled into a book by local historians.

Mr Cartwright, 24, said the pair had got involved with the project by chance when they visited the castle in November 2011.

"It happened a bit by accident. We went up to take some photos because we wanted to take some of the property," he said.

"We got talking to the site manager and he got us in touch with the developers."

He said the pair were signed up to take on the project, which will be the biggest assignment of their careers so far.

"This is the first big commission we have taken on this scale. I should imagine we will probably go there once or twice a month. If there are major parts going in, we will be going up there to cover that."

Mr Cartwright said that a book detailing the transformation of the castle is in the pipeline, while he is also hopeful their pictures will be shown somewhere on the site once work is completed. "There is nothing set in stone but there is going to be a visitor centre and cafe shop. There is talk of our work being shown," he said.


"We have not done anything on this scale before – it is not every day a castle of that age is going to be transformed."

As part of the first few stages of documenting the planned changes to the castle, a series of aerial shots were captured last May.

Mr Cartwright said: "My brother is a pilot so we were able to fly over and get a few shots. I was just by myself because it was a light aircraft."

He said he has not yet been given a date for when the work should start but added developers have indicated they are hopeful building will be able to start at some stage this year to get the site open in by 2015.


Castell Developments has been given planning permission to transform the Grade I listed 19th century building into a five-star country hotel complete with 75 bedrooms, a spa, swimming pool, bar, cafe and banqueting facilities. A spokesman for the company said the building has been derelict for about two decades.

"Until relatively recently Gwrych was capable of occupation. Only since the early 1990s following neglect by an absentee owner and damage through unauthorised occupation and continued vandalism has the castle fallen in to the derelict state we find today," he said.

"Tragically, all that remains of Gwrych is the external shell. The roof structure, all intermediate floors and practically all of the interior finishes have been lost.

"The condition of the building is a daunting prospect for any developer. However, we consider this is outweighed by the unique opportunity Gwrych provides.

"The challenge is to ensure that the restoration of Gwrych is established on the basis of a financially sustainable future for this outstanding building."

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