Plas Mawr, Conwy

August 26, 2011 Filed under: 1990s, Culture by BDP 1 comment

Placed 15th in the Placebook vote of favourite buildings by BDP
Head of Communications Sheri Besford is one of BDP's longest-serving employees and arguably has the most projects to choose from.

Such a very difficult task to choose my favourite BDP building because I’ve been round long enough to have lived with so many, so I will have to qualify this as being one of my favourites.

I know it’s a refurbishment and not architectural in the most obvious sense of the word, but what an honour it must have been to be involved in the four year programme of deep investigation and repair of what is regarded as the finest surviving Elizabethan town house in Britain – Plas Mawr.

Located within the walled town of Conwy, North Wales, itself a World Heritage Site, Plas Mawr is a Grade 1 listed building and scheduled ancient monument. When BDP became involved the building had remained virtually unaltered since the late 17th century, and was -and is – especially rich in structural timber, panelled woodwork, and decorative plasterwork. But extensive structural and fabric repairs were necessary to guarantee its future.

For the conservation work materials and techniques available to the original builders in the 16th century were used wherever practicable, with modern materials and techniques used only where absolutely necessary.

There were also some difficult decisions to be made– for instance, at the cost of making the familiar landmark initially unrecognisable to visitors and locals, after extensive consultation it was decided that the best and most authentic move was to re-render and limewash the familiar exposed rubble exterior walls so now they are bright white instead of dark and brooding

Similarly some of interior decorative plasterwork, which had for a long time been simply white, was painted in the almost shockingly bright original colours– and all the more joyous for it.


Sheri Besford is one of BDP's longest-serving employees, and is known for her knowledge of BDP's projects and the company's history.