Everyone remembers the place where they spend their childhood. Whether it is a park, a playground or a school, the place keeps dwelling in the mind. That was the case with Dr. Baker who spent his childhood days in Gwrych castle.
Doctor Baker, who fell in love with a fairytale castle in his childhood, saved it from ruin after 20 years. The 33-year old used to play around Gwrych Castle, located in North Wales, as a schoolboy.
When he was 11, he saw the castle going into decline and at that time he managed to set up a trust to save the castle. After 20 years, Baker gets to know that the castle was on auction for £600,000 but feared that he could miss out on the auction. But the doctor was lucky as a day before the auction, the trust bought the castle with the help of National Heritage Memorial Fund.
While giving an interview, Baker said that when he was a schoolboy, he visited the castle daily on returning from the school and also set up a trust at that time for the castle. And now after two decades, that trust helped him to buy the castle, the doctor added.
The trust founded by Dr. Baker was registered under the name of “Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust” and he also raised funds for the castle. When he was 14, he wrote a book on the castle named “Rise and Fall of Gwrych Castle.”
As a part of the campaign, he also met Prince Charles and Tony Blair. He said that it is amazing to see how his 20-year-long campaign helped the trust. The doctor wished that in the next ten years, the whole building will be restored like in its glory days and will also be opened for the public.
Gwrych Castle was constructed from 1812 to 1822 and had an area of 160 acres. It was also reported that the castle has more than 18 towers and there are almost 120 living rooms in it.
The founder of the castle was Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh who built it in the memory of his mother’s ancestors. Then in 1894, Winifred Bamford-Hesketh inherited the castle but she died in 1924 and then the castle was supposed to hand over to King George V so that the Royal Family can live in it.
But that wasn’t the case, the castle was given to St. John of Jerusalem. Then in 1925, Winifred’s husband bought the castle back for £78,000. The castle was then used as a place for refugees during the Second World War.
The decline of the castle started in 1946 when the family left it. After that with the funding from The National Heritage Memorial Fund, the castle continues to survive. Along with National Heritage Memorial funding, Richard Broyd Charitable Trust also contributed to the survival of the castle.
While giving an interview to BBC, Baker said that he is very thankful to Richard Broyd Charitable Trust and The National Heritage Memorial Fund for believing in his mission of saving the castle. Three trusts were involved in purchasing the castle from Edwards Property Management who bought it in 2010 as a purpose of hotel development. Now the castle will be under the supervision of The Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust.
Back in 1985, the castle was completely closed for the public and now the parts of the castle are re-opened thanks to the work of the charity. Mark said that the re-opening of the castle is a great moment in the history of Wales. The castle was designed by many famous architects like Thomas Rickman, George Edmund Street, and CA Busby. In the 19th century, it was the largest built structure which has direct links to the British Royal Family.