Hendrefoilan House in Swansea 'most endangered building in Wales'

Hendrefoilan House
Hendrefoilan House was built by Welsh industrialist and MP Lewis Llewellyn Dillwyn Photo: Debra John

Swansea's Hendrefoilan House has been named the most endangered building in Wales after being nominated by the public.

The 19th century Welsh mansion was built by Welsh industrialist and MP Lewis Llewellyn Dillwyn.

It has been owned by Swansea University since the 1960s and was formerly used for accommodation and teaching.

But the building has fallen into disrepair, with water floods down the outside walls and damp on the inside, and has become a target for lead thefts.

It has now been included on the Victorian Society's list of the ten most endangered buildings in England and Wales.

A large number of buildings in South Wales were nominated this year, but Hendrefoilan House stood out because its problems are both potentially serious and easily fixable. Better security is necessary and basic repairs are required to keep water out. These would go a long way to solving its problems.

– Chris Costelloe, Director of the Victorian Society

Mr Costelloe criticised Swansea University, saying it had a responsibility to keep the building safe even if it has no current use for it.

He added: "An institution devoted to learning should have more respect for a building symbolic of Wales's industrial history and culture."

A spokesperson for Swansea University said:

Swansea University has restored and refurbished the Stable Block of Hendrefoilan House and it now houses South Wales Miners’ Library, supporting university activities and the community across South Wales and beyond. The house was in regular use up until a few years ago, when the decision was taken to close it, as it needed work to preserve and protect it. The University is fully aware of the importance of Hendrefoilan House as a Grade II-listed building and is working towards finding a sustainable future for the House. We have been in discussion with various parties, including the National Trust, to consider options for the House and its Gardens. We have contacted the Victorian Society and would be happy to hear their ideas of how Hendrefoilan House can be safeguarded.

– Swansea University spokesperson

The Victorian Society's top ten endangered buildings this year - in no order - are:

  • Hendrefoilan House, Swansea
  • Wingfield Station, Derbyshire
  • Ipswich former County Hall
  • Holborn Circus, London
  • Agecroft Cemetery Chapel, Salford
  • Butterley Spillway, Marsden, West Yorkshire
  • Pumphouse, Langton Dock, Bootle, Merseyside
  • Church of St Peter and St Paul, Birch, Essex
  • Mechanics Institute, Swindon
  • Waterloo Hotel, Smethwick, West Midlands

Last year the former YMCA building in Merthyr Tydfil made the list.