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History of The Owain Glyndŵr Centre
The Owain Glyndŵr Centre & its cultural significance
The Owain Glyndŵr Centre stands on the site of the famous parliament held in 1404 where Owain was crowned Prince of Wales. It is a rare example of a late medieval townhouse in Wales. It is a Grade 1 listed building due to its historical importance. The building was given to Machynlleth by Lord Davies of Llandinam in February 1912.
1460 - 1912
Recent archaeological investigations show that the Parliament House dates from the late Middle Ages. Little is known about the building over the next few centuries, but by the end of the nineteenth century its condition was deteriorating. The building's savior was local MP David Davies. His grandfather was known as "Davies the Ocean" because he had made his fortune in the South Wales coal and shipping industries. His grandson spent part of this fortune on restoring the Parliament House and building another attractive building next door, which was known as 'The Institute'.
David Davies purchased the building in 1906 and both opened in 1912. The town library was located in the Parliament House, but later moved to a site opposite.
The buildings were used extensively by the local community in the decades after the Great War. Before the advent of cars farmers tied their horses in the back on market day. Local councils have used 'The Institute' over the years. In 1976 a new Management Committee stepped in when the building was in danger of being sold. In 2011 the buildings were restored and redeveloped to house the Owain Glyndŵr exhibition and hold the annual Glyndŵr Festival. In 2017 the committee secured grants to further develop the buildings. The present committee intends to continue with the important work of maintaining and developing the Centre as a hub for community, history and heritage fit for the 21st century.
David Davies' intentions in renovating the building were clear. It was intended as a national monument to Glyndŵr, as well as offering benefits to local residents such as committee rooms and a bowling green at the back. David Davies's commitment to the commemoration of Glyndŵr is reinforced in the important mural in the Parliament House. As Jan Morris points out in her 1993 book, due to the enthusiasm of the MP, the artist Murray Urquhart decided to put David Davies's face on Glyndŵr's body while drawing his mural of the battle of Hyddgen. The mural remains in the Parliament House to this day and in the opinion of art historian Peter Lord it is the only example of a large mural in Wales before 1914.