1843-78 - Rice Powell Era & Later
Craig y Nos Castle - this is probably circa 1880 as the theatre is yet to be built. We know the theatre was opened in 1891 so this picture is before then. Note also the Conservatory is not yet fully built, but started life as a series of single storey pitched roof glass buildings. The lower gardens had fewer trees and the terracing is more in evidence.
Exterior of Castle Patti era 1878-1919 and Prior
Craig y Nos Castle circa 1880-1885. We know this picture - it may not be a photograph, more likely it is a sketch drawing given photography was not widely available at the time - is of the castle before the Theatre was added. We know the theatre was officially opened in 1891. Building works must have taken a couple of years before then at least, and there is no evidence here of the theatre on the left at all.
Note also the pitched roof arrangement with dormer style windows - in place of what is now the castellated section - to the right of the clocktower. Adelina Patti evidently started off with a two storey extension to the left of the original house built by Captain Rice Powell in 1843 (this extension was known as the North Wing).
Craig y Nos Castle photographed some time between 1891-1905. Note the front courtyard is laid to gardens and the windows of the theatre are two separate windows one above the other, in place of the current double height windows and glass door arrrangement. Note also how the river Tawe behind the castle splits in two. This shows how Adelina Patti had the river diverted off to the left to feed the lake on the left, which became her boating lake.
The short trees in the foreground were until recently still alive, and in recent times they were much larger trees, standing as high as the castle. However they were deemed diseased and were cut down by the Council in 2012.
A more recent 1930's photo of Craig y Nos Castle taken from the rear of the castlle. The Conservatory now has a felt covered curved roof, which we suspect dates this picture to circa 1920-30, prior to the Hospital erecting their external balconies for patients to lie out on.
The Opera House Opening Night & later, from 1891-1919
Old Postcards of Craig y Nos Castle
Old postcard of Craig y Nos Castle pre 1891 as the theatre is not yet present and the castellated section has not been added to the 'north wing'.
The Conservatory at Craig y Nos Castle, sketched for The Graphic in 1888. Note the impressively tall and substantial looking glass roof.
We thought this was artistic licence as in those days sketch artists would make an owner's reception rooms look bigger and more impressive than they were, in order to impress the owner (and the owner's friends and acquaintances) and in order to gain a contract to make more sketches of the rest of the property. So we thought this tall roof was exaggerated until we came across the photo of the same room at around the same period, showing the glass roof to be exactly correct.
Hospital era Terraces at rear of Castle circa 1920-1955
Brecon Beacons Hotels Craig y Nos Castle old hospital terraces for former TB Patients to stay outside on hospital trolleys
State Room 2 (2nd floor) was a Childrens TB Ward circa 1920-1955
And we believe a Hospice ward circa 1955 - 1960
Craig y Nos Castle as a TB Hospital, with State Room Two in use as a second Children's Ward. In the picture shown below we suspect this shows the same room within the Hospital era, but possibly in its later incarnation as a Hospice ward. We know this is State Room Two (the upper of the two identical state rooms) as the lower state room (State Room One) has two iron pillars in the middle of ithe room.
Patti Bar circa 1880-1900
Nicolini Room circa 1880-1900
The current Nicolini reception lounge in the era of Adelina Patt's second husband, Ernest Nicolini. Nicolini used this room as his office and library and would sit at the desk overlooking what is now Craig y Nos Country Park, taking in the fabulous views through the large tall bay windows.
There is also a fabulous marble fireplace which would be very nice to have back again! Bookshelves line the walls. The ceiling squares were in place when we arrived in 2000, but leaks from the pyramid gulleys on the top of the castle had caused all the joists to rot and we had to replace the ceiling.
Conservatory Outside - Patti era
The Conservatory at Craig y Nos Castle before the Castle became a TB hospital (judging by the lack of any hospital terraces). The roof of the conservatory is in its current domed shape, however it probably had a lead roof at this time in place of the current fibreglass.
The castellated border edging is interesting. It was long gone when we arrived in 2000.
We had to replace all the windows but modelled the replacement windows on the exact design of the original. I rather like castellated border arrangement and if money was no object we would replicate it for historical accuracy.
We have continuing problems with the roof leaking, probably due to the wooden roof expanding and contracting in different temperatures, causing the fibreglass membrane to develop invisible cracks.
Hospital era Terraces at rear of Castle circa 1920-1955
Rear of Craig y Nos Castle, probably in the 1940's.
See the rear terraces dating back to the TB Hospital time at the back of the castle on the right. There is evidence of patients bedding or sheets on the balcony railings.
Note how the Conservatory still retains its roof topping of castellations, while the lantern roof arrangement can just be made out on the domed roof.
On this very clear picture of Craig y Nos Castle taken in the 1950's or 1960's, we can clearly see the white sheeted hospital beds of the patients out on the rear terraces behind the castle to the right of this picture. The left of the picture shows the hospital additions, the old South and North Wards.
Patti's Music Room in use as sitting room circa 1890-1910
The Music Room at Craig y Nos Castle circa 1900-10, in use as Adelina Patti's sitting room. The ceiling cornicing is as it is now, though we had to replicate one corner of it when it fell down due to damp ingress.
Conservatory as Patti's private conservatory circa 1878-1919
The Conservatory with its impressively huge glass roof, subsequently replaced with a lower domed roof made out of wood and supported on iron struts. This photography must have been taken some time around 1890-1900.
Glass in those days was expensive and Patti would have spent substantial amounts of her money building a load of rooms in glass - the Conservatory, the Aviary and the Winter Gardens were all glass buildings running along the back of the castle.
The lower section of windows can still be seen in the modern day conservatory, as we replicated the design exactly when we replaced all the windows.
And here we see the Conservatory in its later incarnation, circa 1910-1920, when it was probably used as a summer dining room. The expansive glass roof has been replaced with a curved wooden roof, rather like an upside down boat, with the Lantern roof down the centre to let in some light from above.
See the Victorian iron arches which are still in existence today, though these and the wooden ceiling is now hidden by a white canopy.
Conservatory as Children's TB Ward
Here we see the same room, Craig y Nos Castle's Conservatory, in use as a Children's Ward in the TB Hospital days. We think this picture is circa 1940, judging by the presence of the North Ward buildings which I think we can see through the far windows.
Conservatory's earliest picture - original roof circa 1880
The Conservatory at Craig y Nos Castle in its first incarnation, circa 1880-1890, with a more conservative glass roof based on a series of seven or eight lower pitched glass roofs. The glass windows are exactly as they are now, though as stated earlier, we had to replace them as they were rotten (and mostly removed in the Hospital era). What we put back is in the same design as the original as you can see from this very early print.
This is a sketch rather than a photograph, as the time predates photography. Not only is the roof most interesting, showing us how the Conservatory was first conceived, but also there are some interesting stone walled terraces directly below the conservatory. The latter may be artistic licence as we today only see sloping earth banks. Allternatively this may even be an architects sketch showing what was intended in the planning stage.