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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Portmeirion celebrates 80 years
It took 50 years to complete the village of Portmeirion
Portmeirion, the Welsh Italianate village made famous by 1960s cult television series The Prisoner, is celebrating its 80th anniversary.

Sir Clough Williams-Ellis built it to prove a naturally beautiful site could be developed without being spoiled.

Portmeirion - the Place and its Meaning, a book first published in 1963 outlining his vision, has been republished to mark the birthday.

His daughter, Susan, was in the village on Monday to sign copies.

Portmeirion gained a later generation of fans through TV when it was featured in the final episode of the ITV series Cold Feet.

You can be in Wales one day and then walk a few miles into Italy - it's a thrilling experience every time you go there
Dewi Lewis, local councillor

The book tells how Sir Clough Williams-Ellis discovered and gradually acquired the 70-acre property, as well as how he financed the development.

"The main purpose of the village was to demonstrate in bricks and stone that you could develop a naturally beautiful site without defiling it," said Robin Llywelyn, managing director of the site, and grandson of Sir Clough.

He said his grandfather had been unwilling to put down his reasons for building the village in the book because if it were that simple he would not have gone to the trouble of designing the village, he would have just written everything down instead.

Scene from ITV's Cold Feet
ITV's Cold Feet staged a poignant final episode in the village
"He wanted to prove that architectural good manners can also be good business," added Mr Llywelyn.

The village attracts 250,000 visitors every year and had a positive effect on the economy of the area, said Penrhyndeudraeth councillor Dewi Lewis.

"They employ 200 people, have two top class hotels and are known world-wide," he said.

"It's amazing really that the place has blended well with the area.

"You can be in Wales one day and then walk a few miles into Italy - it's a thrilling experience every time you go there."

The latest edition contains previously unpublished historical photographs of Portmeirion and of Sir Clough, his family and others closely associated with the village.

Susan Williams-Elis was signing copies of the book at the Hotel Portmeirion at 1800 GMT on Monday.

Watch the attractions of Portmeirion, aged 80

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29 Nov 05 |  North West Wales
Village plaque for Prisoner role
13 May 05 |  North West Wales
TV villain's Portmeirion wedding
02 Jun 03 |  North West Wales

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