Oystermouth Castle, Gower
Paul Bowen, WRW Project Manager, pictured at Oystermouth Castle, Gower where the Company has won a major new contract with the City & County of Swansea.
WRW has secured a contract with the Swansea Council to significantly conserve and enhance the Grade I listed Ancient Scheduled Monument, Oystermouth Castle.
Founded by William de Londres in the early 12th century, its origins are in the Norman conquest of Wales and it has visible remains from the 12th up to the early 14th century. Its compact size and relative completeness means that visitors can easily explore the site.
However, the castle has fallen into disrepair with approximately 50 per cent currently closed off to visitors. In a 2003 report, Cadw assessed Oystermouth as the castle in the worst condition of those that were open to the public in Wales and concluded that restoration work was critical in order to avoid its inevitable closure.
With the support of HLF, conservation work is now underway on the historic building and a new indoor interpretation centre is being built within the disused chapel block which will provide hands-on experiences for visitors. The aim is to give visitors access to 95 per cent of the castle and increase visitor numbers from 4,500 to 20,000 per year.
As part of the Oystermouth Castle project, the City and County of Swansea has implemented its Beyond Bricks and Mortar Policy, which encourages training and employment opportunities where public money is being invested to further develop economic opportunities within Swansea.
Paul Bowen, WRW Project Manager, said: “It’s fantastic to be working on such a major project in the local area, it’s great for business and, on a personal level I’m really keen to help secure this significant landmark for the future.
“This scheme, which is part conservation and part new build, requires a variety of traditional skills. Currently there is a real shortage of these skills, such as stone masonry so this will provide an opportunity to train a local apprentice with the skills they need to secure a job in the future.”
Cllr Graham Thomas, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Recreation and Tourism, said: “It’s vital we look to the future in Swansea but it’s equally important we celebrate our proud heritage and this is why schemes of this nature should be welcomed.
“Oystermouth Castle is one of our historical gems and this scheme means the attraction will be conserved for future generations and will offer a visitor experience that’s befitting of the 21st Century.
“It’s also encouraging that local contractors have been appointed to lead the scheme and this will mean jobs for local people in this tough economic climate.”