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Last Updated: Monday, 1 September, 2003, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Town landmark's history traced
Llanelly House, Llanelli
Llanelly House is considered to be a fine example of a town house
The history of a Llanelli landmark is being traced in an exhibition to tempt people across the UK to vote to save it.

Llanelly House, described as Wales' finest 18th Century townhouse, will be featured in the BBC 2 series Restoration, where viewers are asked to choose one of 30 historic buildings that deserve to be rescued from ruin.

Llanelli Town Council hopes the exhibition, which traces the past, present and future plans for the house, will help the building into the Restoration final.

Video footage and pictures documenting the fortunes of Llanelly House will be made available, as will plans to refurbish the building and turn it into a museum and cultural centre.

The exhibition, at the town's parish church, opened on Saturday, and will run until 5 September - the night the episode of Restoration featuring Llanelly House is screened.

Llanelli town mayor Hywel Phillips said: "I hope that the Restoration series will show people right across Britain what a gem we have here in Llanelli.

"The town council's commitment to restore it for the people of the of the town deserves every support," he added.

Griff Rhys Jones
Griff Rhys Jones will uncover the history of Llanelly House

Completed in 1714, the three-storey property was built for Sir Thomas Stepney, but has since been broken up into a mix of commercial and residential uses.

After decades of neglect, the prominent grade one listed building in the centre of the town was bought in 1998 by Llanelli Town Council.

Dilapidated

But it is estimated that returning it to its former glory as a cultural and heritage centre could cost in excess of 3m.

The house was chosen as one of three Welsh entries for the television series, bidding to save one of Britain's dilapidated listed buildings from ruin.

In each of the 10 episodes of the programme, hosted by Griff Rhys Jones, the histories behind each of the buildings will be unravelled.

At the end of each programme viewers will be invited to vote for the building they would most like to see restored.

Each winner will go through to a final shortlist when the series will climax with a live programme where the public will decide which property is most worthy of restoration.

Interior designer Laurence Llewellyn Bowen is advocating the house for restoration in the show.

"It is a very engaging structure and you can actually see people living in it, which is when historic buildings really start to come alive," he said.

Llanelly House will be battling for a place in the final with the other Welsh contenders Parys Mountain and Amlwch Port in Anglesey and Faenol Old Hall near Bangor. Restoration will be on BBC 2 on 5 September at 2100 BST.


SEE ALSO:
Comedian hosts house vote
22 Mar 03  |  Wales


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