Castell Coch

Client | Cadw Wales
Location | Tongwynlais, South Wales

A Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I listed building, Castell Coch (Red Castle) occupies a stretch of woodland on the slopes above the village of Tongwynlais and the River Taff. The architecture is high Victorian gothic revival in style, influenced by contemporary 19th-century French restorations and its design combines the surviving elements of the medieval castle with 19th- century additions. Historian Charles Kightly considered it “the crowning glory of the Gothic Revival” in Britain.

The interior of the castle boasts one of the best examples of William Burges’ flamboyant designs, but water ingress has caused significant damage to some of the murals.

High-tech surveys highlighted weaknesses in the huge chimney stacks on the keep and gatehouse; drones were used to fly close up, taking detailed photographs that showed tiny fissures in the stone and deterioration to the pointing.

A complex designed scaffold structure was erected around each of the chimney stacks using gallows brackets erected from cherry pickers and a hoist to feed materials up to the base lift.

Considerations to the numerous bat colonies were incorporated into the design and how this would affect them.

Restoration works comprised of the dismantling and rebuilding of the three stone chimneys incorporating lead trays and damp proof courses in order to prevent future ingress of water.

Every effort was made to salvage and re-use as much of the original stone as possible. The salvaged stones were cleaned, logged and marked ready for re-installation to their original orientation and placings. The new stone was quarried locally, worked by our masons in Chichester and returned to Castell Coch for installation by our team on site.