Powis Castle appeal raises £500k to restore entrance used by Queen Victoria
An appeal to restore an historic castle entrance which at one time welcomed Queen Victoria and King George V has raised £500,000 thanks to the generosity of the public.
Supporters of Powis Castle, near Welshpool in Mid Wales, were asked to help restore the castle's crumbling East Front which was once the main, grand entrance which welcomed major figures in British and world history.
The entrance has been closed off to the public since the building was donated to the National Trust back in 1952, but in recent years the steps have been crumbling and the castle's building consultant said the wall of one of the terraces is in danger of collapse.
The retaining wall is falling, which could affect the structural stability of the east side of the castle.
But restoration work is now due to start in December after a successful appeal to raise the half a million pounds needed to pay for the specialist repairs. The appeal looked to raise £300,000 from public donations and the rest from grants.
Ruth Scutter, visitor services manager at Powis Castle, said: "The repairs are estimated to cost £500,000 but we received all the funding we need from the appeal, from the public and then we also put in a few bids for grant funding from conservation trusts.
"I really want to thank everybody who donated. It's been a really good appeal - the best in recent years.
"We've had the planning permission granted and the listing building consent, and we're looking to start the work in mid December. Hopefully it will be done by the time we open again for the new season next year."
All those who donated by the end of February were entered in a prize draw, with a group of winners chosen to enjoy an exclusive hard hat tour while work is progressing, with the chance to talk to the builders about the challenges in working on such an impressive and historic building.
Kenneth Smith, from the National Trust in Wales, said: "The entrance would have seen King George V and Queen Mary and Queen Victoria, as Princess Victoria, walk up its grand staircase to stand on the high terrace and enjoy the magnificent view over the Breidden Hills.
"Once restored, the grand east entrance will be open to the public for the first time in more than half a century, and it is anticipated that the work will safeguard the future of that section of the castle."
Powis Castle is more than 900 years old and was built by Welsh ruler Gruffuth ap Gwenwynwyn to defend his territory from aggressive neighbours to the north.
In the 1580s the mediaeval fortress became a stately home when it was purchased by the Herbert Family. It passed through generations until 1952 when the 4th Earl of Powys left the castle to the National Trust.
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