CD Clough

Portmeirion Cymru CD Clough

Item: 9000031037


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Product Description

A CD recording of interviews given by Clough Williams-Ellis, the architect most well-known for creating the Italianate village of Portmeirion in North Wales.

  • Running time: 67 minutes
  • Recorded: April 1948
  • Release date: 19th June, 2008

On 19th June 2008 at 11.00am in the Hercules Hall, Portmeirion a CD of six talks given by Clough Williams-Ellis was released, 60 years since they were recorded in April 1948. What stands out is that Clough's message remains relevant to this day.


This CD contains five talks which were recorded aboard ship by Clough Williams-Ellis on his way home from New Zealand in 1948 and were thought destroyed in a fire at his home at Plas Brondanw in 1951. Fortunately this was not the case and the recordings were later rediscovered in an attic at Portmeirion and can now be heard for the first time in 60 years. The five talks are as follows;

  • No private right to do public wrong
  • The wonderland of tomorrow
  • A blind spot for architecture
  • Giving beauty and grace their proper place
  • A place of general pilgrimage

Clough wrote about these talks in his autobiography, Architect Errant, published by Portmeirion in 1973 (also available at portmeirionONLINE). He had travelled with his wife Amabel to New Zealand in 1948, where his daughter Charlotte had recently settled, and where he spent several weeks on an architectural tour:

"In New Zealand a welcoming party given by the Prime Minister started off a blazing and exhilarating row between myself and his highly bellicose Minister of Housing, which crackled in the newspapers for days with the utmost gaiety.

But the P.M. took the affair seriously and...laid on a second placatory reception and generously put an official chauffeur and car at the disposal of Amabel and myself for as complete a reconnaissance of both islands as we cared to make...

Of course I met architects and planners wherever I could, all over New Zealand. When I left, in return for so much fraternal friendliness I thought my most useful gift would be a sort of testament, a planning credo and commentary with special reference to New Zealandâ??s many problems.

So this I left in the form of recorded talks which it was arranged should be fired off at the same time on successive Monday evenings...What, in fact, I said I don't now know; for though I was generously presented on ship-board with a copy of each recording, they were all on enormous discs that, at that time, apparently, no machine in this country could cope with and they are anyhow now burnt.

All the same, as the successive Monday nights came and went as I crossed first the Pacific and then the Atlantic oceans homewards bound, and I knew that my poisoned shafts were being punctually discharged, I did feel a little cowardly at not being around to take the come-back.

I was really just trying to pass on the fruits of experience and the consequences of our own mistakes in our increasing efforts to manage our own national estate at home."

Architect Errant, Golden Dragon Books, 1971 pp 251-254 

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