History of the park


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Roman

The springs were known in Roman times when the area was known as Balnea Siluria (baths of the Silures).

There are a number of Roman practice camps in the fields to the south of the park, and a Roman Road runs through the park on SW, NE direction; there is also a Roman well beneath the paved area in front of the Spa Buildings, near the entrance to the Health Centre.

Mediaeval

A spring known as Ffynnon cwm y gof (spring of the Blacksmith's Dingle), so called because a blacksmith reputedly cured an affliction of his eye with water from what is now known as the Eye Well, some 10 m downstream from the Chalybeate spring.

1670

The healing properties of the water from the Eye Well had established a modest reputation by this date.

1736

The discovery of sulphurous waters and saline springs made Llandrindod famous.

1749

The rather bleak setting of the wells persuaded a local business man, a William Grosvenor, to build a hotel on the high ground above Llandrindod

1745-55

A Dr Wessel Linden visited Llandrindod and was very impressed with the curative powers of the waters. His publications brought the waters to the attention of a wider market.

1820s

A boarding house, which was to become the Rock House hotel, had been built in the grounds of what was to become Rock Park.

1865

The Central Wales Railway arrived in Llandrindod providing easy access for visitors. When completed in 1868 it ran from Shrewsbury in the North to Swansea to the South. Visitors now started to come to Llandrindod in large numbers as the fashion for taking the waters grew.

1867

With the Enclosure Act of 1862 the common land around Llandrindod was divided into allotments and sold. The area that was to become Rock Park was given to the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of Llandrindod for the free use of the inhabitants and of the neighbourhood.

As Rock Park was laid out more springs were found, including the Chalybeate spring near the Eye Well.

Waters were dispensed from the two main hotels and from small street operations.

1868

This marks the rapid development of the town, which even acquired it's own brickwork's.

1870s

An arboretum was planted in the north-east of the park, and more hotels were built, including the Gwalia, located to overlook the park, and be seen from the park.

1879

Money was raised to enclose and pave the area around the Chalybeate spring, and a marble fountain and drinking basin were paid for by the Lord of the Manor, J.W.Gibson-Watt Esq.

1889

The first edition of the 25" Ordnance Survey shows the layout of the Rock Park, with the springs, paths and planting.

1906

A lithia spring, said to be the only one in the United Kingdom, was discovered by a Mr Heighway.

1908

A pavilion shelter was built next to the Pump Room with an orchestra to enliven the somewhat monotonous business of water drinking.

1910-11

This was the heyday of the town; the population had risen from about 300 in 1871 to 2,780 in 1911, and summer visitors swelled this by a factor of three.

1912

The Ordnance Survey map shows the outdoor bowling greens and a croquet lawn in Rock Park.

Sir Daniel Morris from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew identified the trees in the park, and suggested that metal labels should be attached to increase the interest of visitors as well as being of educational importance.

Of the 400-500 specimens in the park he recommended labelling 60.

1920

During and after the First World War there was a slump in visitor numbers.

1926

The Urban District Council buy the Rock Park with the Pump rooms and Baths.

1929-30

Plans were drawn up to improve the Rock Park buildings and they were reopened in 1930.

1935

The Urban District Council bought land around Loverís Leap, which was a noted beauty spot.

1939-45

As a result of the Second World War the Rock Park baths become uneconomic, and hotels came to rely more on the coach tour trade and conferences.

1951

After rebuilding and refurbishment the Rock Park buildings were reopened as The Winter Gardens.

1958

All regular performances at The Winter Gardens came to an end.

1972

The Spa treatment centre is closed. By about this time the water tower and pump houses were demolished.

1982-83

Radnor District Council and Wales Tourist Board restored the Rock Park Pump Room as a restaurant. The Bath House is opened as a Health Centre.

1995

The Rock Park Spa Treatment Centre is reopened as a Centre for Complementary Medicine.

2000

The derelict Rock Park Hotel and the Studio, within the park, were both demolished.

2004

The restaurant closes. The roof of the pavilion is badly damaged in a storm. Powys County Council agreed to bid for Heritage Lottery money to restore the park and buildings.


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