Kinmel Hall, Conwy, Wales

The now disused Kinmel Hall is the largest surviving country house in Wales. The lavish house has 52 bedrooms plus accommodation for 60 servants.

Kinmel Hall aka Cuckoo Hall or Lotus Hall, Wales
 

Hsitory of Kinmel Hall, Conwy, Wales

Kinmel Hall was built 1871-76 on the same site as two previous houses to designs of the famed architect William Eden Nesfield. The house has 52 main bedrooms and quarters for 60 live-in servants. The huge house even included a room solely for ironing newspapers! 1

The house was commissioned by Hugh Robert Hughes, affectionately known as “HRH” when the Kinmel Estate was passed to him following the death of his uncle William Lewis Hughes, second Lord Dinorben. The estate had only been handed down to William 8 months prior following the death of his father, William Lewis Hughes, Dinorben of Kinmel.

The impressive Neo-palladian style stable block was added in the 1850s to designs by William Burn. 2

The Hughes family remained in the home until 1929. By this time the estate was considerably smaller than when the hall was built, owing to the lavish lifestyles of the family and the extensive building programme embarked upon by HRH. The house was converted for use as a ‘rheuma spa’, a health centre to treat people with rheumatism. The house was used as a hospital during World War II.

Kinmel Hall - The house had extensive landscaped gardens

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Kinmel Hall – The house had extensive landscaped gardens

Clarendon Girls School and Christian Conference Centre

After the war the house became Clarendon Girls School and suffered a large fire in 1975. The school was forced to close but the house was restored by businessman Eddie Vince to become a Christian conference centre.

As is often the case with large properties such as this, a number of failed redevelopment opportunities took place. Currently plans have been proposed to convert the house into a hotel but work is yet to begin.

Our Visit
I have visited Kinmel Hall, also sometimes referred to as Lotus Hall or Cuckoo Hall, on a couple of occasions with various people. My first visit was in September 2013. Unfortunately by my revisit in August 2014 a few things had changed – notably the carpets downstairs had been removed and unfortunately the wood carvings above the library fireplace had been stolen. They were a gift from Queen Victoria so are historical significance (see further reading at the end of this article). The house was still just as grand, and the sunny day offered a good opportunity for shots of the stunning exterior.

 

Kinmel Hall - Grand Main Hallway

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Kinmel Hall – Grand Main Hallway

Kinmel Hall - Main hallway

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Kinmel Hall – Main hallway

Kinmel Hall - Main Staircase

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Kinmel Hall – Main Staircase

Kinmel Hall - Through the archway on the main staircase

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Kinmel Hall – Through the archway on the main staircase

Kinmel Hall - On the stairs

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Kinmel Hall – On the stairs

Kinmel Hall - View from top

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Kinmel Hall – View from top

Kinmel Hall - Top of stairs

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Kinmel Hall – Top of stairs

Kinmel Hall - View up the stairs

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Kinmel Hall – View up the stairs

Kinmel Hall - Arch in hallway

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Kinmel Hall – Arch in hallway

Kinmel Hall - Hallway with red carpet

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Kinmel Hall – Hallway with red carpet

Kinmel Hall - Grand entrance hall

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Kinmel Hall – Grand entrance hall

Kinmel Hall - Looking into the red room

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Kinmel Hall – Looking into the red room

Kinmel Hall - The red room

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Kinmel Hall – The red room

Kinmel Hall - Red room fireplace

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Kinmel Hall – Red room fireplace

Kinmel Hall - Ballroom ceiling in all white with gold highlights

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Kinmel Hall – Ballroom ceiling in all white with gold highlights

Kinmel Hall - The white ballroom

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Kinmel Hall – The white ballroom

Kinmel Hall - Ballroom balcony

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Kinmel Hall – Ballroom balcony

Kinmel Hall - The library after the carvings were stolen

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Kinmel Hall – The library after the carvings were stolen

Kinmel Hall - Carvings gifted by Queen Victoria

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Kinmel Hall – Carvings gifted by Queen Victoria

Kinmel Hall - Feature-full rooms

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Kinmel Hall – Feature-full rooms

Kinmel Hall - Door to the Clarendon Room

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Kinmel Hall – Door to the Clarendon Room

Kinmel Hall - Clarendon Room

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Kinmel Hall – Clarendon Room

Kinmel Hall - One of the 52 bedrooms

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Kinmel Hall – One of the 52 bedrooms

Kinmel Hall - Another staircase

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Kinmel Hall – Another staircase

Kinmel Hall - Ironwork through window

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Kinmel Hall – Ironwork through window

Kinmel Hall - External view from the front

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Kinmel Hall – External view from the front

Kinmel Hall - External angled

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Kinmel Hall – External angled

Kinmel Hall - Stable block

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Kinmel Hall – Stable block

Kinmel Hall - Lion outside the stable block

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Kinmel Hall – Lion outside the stable block

Kinmel Hall - Neo-palladian style stable block

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Kinmel Hall – Neo-palladian style stable block

Further Reading If you liked this report you might also want to check out Proj3ct M4yh3m's Lotus aka Cuckoo Hall Report

Queen Victoria's gift stolen from Kinmel Hall BBC News article.

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