Believe this or not, but our New Legacy School of Woodworking is the lower right two window section of this picture
I walk by Penrhyn Castle and its surrounding countryside most days to reach the high mound to our New Legacy workshop. The workshop is actually in the physical Castle proper. I cannot go into the history of this 350-room Mansion too much because it would take just too long.
I want to show you what influences my work through my many walks in and around the region and within Penrhyn Castle because these walks so inspire my work and fuel my economic drive to re-establish craftsmanship into our culture.
As a woodworker I wanted to present some masterful woodworking by craftsmen from the past. Much of the work was carried out by boat building craftsmen and workmen from the region who worked building ships and boats and also making boat chandlery. Quarrymen too were responsible for hewing slate and timber mills sawyering scattered around the region, though now extinct, wrought locally sourced wood and other materials to create some of the furnishings, joinery and woodworking you will see over the next few posts on Penrhyn I will be posting.
Though formal gardens are not my favourite features of manorial living, I appreciate the work they took to create and maintain.
If you take time to listen, the tour guides in Penrhyn Castle are extremely knowledgeable and well trained. I can’t help but want to snuggle up in my mind’s armchair and listen to each one for an hour or so. But I want to start with a splash of colour from the spring display of the gardens and acknowledge the excellent work of these outdoor craftsmen gardeners and of course their many volunteers. There are hundreds of bushes of every hue, too many to see here, but stunning bee havens that host wild honeybees throughout the seasons yet to come.
My friend Randy Johnson from American Woodworker magazine toured with me and we were stunned by the magnificence we encountered both in the nature and the work of men’s hands. Standing on the huge stone balcony overlooking the mountains and the sea over to Llandudno is breathtaking on a warm Spring day. Farmland tumbles away below and you cannot help but wonder what kind of mind would conceive to build a castle for a home.
Before we arrived at this point we had already visited the famous Railway Museum next to the New Legacy School of Woodworking. These old steam locomotives were pivotal to the removal of slate from the slate quarries tis region is so notedly famous for. It’s nice the see them preserved this way. Children love seeing them even when they are in their sixties and seventies.
Inside the entrance the furniture makes a significant impact on everyone as they realise the craftsmanship was often from a pre-machine era. As Randy and I walked the corridor leading to the main Great Room we realised we were in for a woodworking treat par excellence.
Look at this serpentine fronted cabinet. In the surface imagery is the date “Ano 1746”.
No one can deny the personal workmanship of this 18th century craftsman. I wonder how he fared back then and what was he thinking as he shaped each piece of wood?