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INSOLE COURT, LLANDAFF, CARDIFF

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 19075

Map Reference ST17NE

Grid Reference ST1504277719

Unitary (Local) Authority Cardiff

Old County Glamorgan

Community Llandaff

Type of Site HOUSE

Broad Class DOMESTIC

Period Post Medieval

Site Description 1. Built first in 1855 by W.G. & E. Habershon for local industrialist J.H. Insole, it was extended in 1873 and again in 1875. Graded II* for the fine quality of the interior and as an outstanding Victorian ensemble within Cardiff. Source: Cadw list description 2003. 2004.02.27/RCAHMW/SLE

2. Of rubble masonry construction with freestone dressings, slate roofs, and octagonal chimney stacks. The main front is notable for its tall gables and deeply crenellated tower. Of particular interest to the interior are the Smoking Room and the Chapel. The smoking room retains a pre-Raphaelite style canvas frieze, depicting the four seasons, and a High Victorian Gothic sideboard designed for the house. The chapel, on the first floor, features a pointed waggon roof, ribbed and panelled with gilding, pastel painted foliage, and lettered scrolls.
(Source: Cadw listing description)
J Hill 03.08.2004

3. Owing to the decline of the Insole family in tandem with the post-WWI decline of coal, Cardiff corporation acquired Insole Count in 1932, although the last of the family did not leave the property until 1938. Various parts of the surrounding estate were repurposed for the Cardiff orbital road system while the ornamental gardens were supplanted by housing. The Count was an Air Raid Precautions headquarter in WWII and has since been utilised to provide a variety of public services including housing council offices and a public library. In 1988, the threat of sale prompted local community action to save the site. However, the Court fell into disrepair and closed in 2006, but was reopened in 2008 after further community action. An Insole Court Trust was founded in 2010 into whose management the Court passed. The Court was renovated and reopened in 2016. In 2018, the first floor, which had been closed to the public since the 1970s reopened as a permanent exhibition space.

(Sources: Joshua Knapman, ‘Abandoned rooms at a Cardiff mansion are open to the public for the first time in four decades’, Wales Online, 31.07.2018;Insole Court Website)
A.N. Coward, RCAHMW, 07.11.2018

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