I wonder if this is the oldest in the world? Penllergaer Trust

The recent addition to the valley. 25kw archimedian screw hydro

The recent addition to the valley. 25kw Archimedean screw hydro

Yesterday and it was a day of wandering across S Wales. PV chat at Dyffryn Garden and then across to visit an old colleague who is managing a project for the Penllergaer Trust outside Swansea. Within a stones throw of the M4 (J47) lies a ‘lost garden’ Lakes, cascades, terraces, walled gardens and bags of history. Penllergaer. All covered in a century of nature. I was there to see the start of what will undoubtedly be decades of restoration. The Trust have already installed a prerequisite  cafe. Good coffee and a lost garden (good ingredients) The Penllergaer Trust have recently completed in the installation of a 25kw Archimedean screw which feeds the cafe. I was there to both learn and also share what we have learnt from the National Trust work

one of the many man made cascades through the valley. Hydro in the background

One of the many man-made cascades through the valley. Hydro in the background

The history of first’s in the hidden valley are many and include the worlds first purpose-built orchid house with its cascade of hot water, electric boat on the lower lake in 1848. It is also one of the oldest (surviving) photographic full record of a Victorian garden. One throw away comment on the tour by Phillip got me thinking and digging on the way home. “That’s where the hydro-electric system was installed”. This was around 1860. This if true would pre-date Cragside in Northumberland by some 10 to 18 years and so this would be the oldest hydro-electric site in the world (depends which date you want to take and there are lots of ifs and buts) The remains of the building are still there as well as the cast iron pipe…and the record of the electric boat is well-known on the very same lake…I wonder? I think a revisit is called for

Stunning site for a walk and explore

Stunning site for a walk and explore

1850 “First electrically powered boat, using Grove cells for power, is operated by John Dillwyn Llewelyn, a pioneer photographer who took one of the earliest photographs of the moon from his observatory, on Penllergaer lake.”

a proper full on 'lost garden' in a hidden valley some 100m from the M4

A proper full-on ‘lost garden’ in a hidden valley some 100m from the M4

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5 Responses to I wonder if this is the oldest in the world? Penllergaer Trust

  1. Pingback: I wonder if this is the oldest in the world? Penllergaer Trust | Hunting hidden hydros

  2. Richard Havard says:

    I grew up near this site and passed it every day going to school. House was blown up by TAs as an exercise in the late 1950s! LLewellyn was related to Talbot at Margam Park where there WAS a hydro plant, turbine was still in situ and dynamo was on loan to Swansea Maritime Museum but after that place’s “rebirth” by National Museums of Wales it may well have been put in a skip, that is what generally happens to anything they don’t understand!

    Llewellyn was also related to Fox Talbot. They were all “Gentleman Scientists”.

    The observatory was demolished and I saw the footings as a teenager, they now seem to say they are restoring it when in fact they are doing a rebuild. Lets keep the facts right please!

    • Keith Jones says:

      thanks for this. I want to carry on digging on the provenance of the hydro. I knew of the Margam system but had no idea of this on. all the best and thanks

  3. Pingback: I wonder if this is the oldest in the world? via @walesepa | enviroforum

  4. Sam says:

    It really is a beautiful place and they’ve put so much hard work into making it accessible
    Wonderful

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