Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Patti’s glass conservatory

Dr Carole Reeves writes:
This is a photograph of the glass conservatory as it was in about 1900 and used as a dining room by Adelina Patti for her numerous weekend guests including the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII.

This picture is from a very elaborate brochure which Patti had prepared for the auction of Craig-y-nos on 18 June 1901. As we all know the estate wasn’t sold, whether because she changed her mind or because there were no buyers, I haven’t yet been able to discover. In any event, when the Welsh National Memorial Association purchased it for a TB sanatorium in 1922, it’s clear that they considered it to be little more than temporary accommodation because of its unsuitability as a hospital. In 1937, the normal bed capacity was 126. The maximum capacity was 176. These additional beds could be found by crowding, which gave an additional 30 beds, and equipping other existing accommodation, which provided an extra 20 beds.

By 1939, when it was first proposed to construct a purpose-built hospital at Singleton, Swansea, the Association was not keen to spend money on Craig-y-nos. It noted that: ‘Better staff accommodation will have to be provided if the institution is to be retained, but the wisdom of spending more money on keeping and extending and improving the institution is seriously doubted.’

The hospital soldiered on for another 20 years, being patched up and painted but it appears that no serious money was thrown at it. The picture below is from an Association publicity brochure of about 1932 showing Patti’s glass conservatory as we all know it but it’s one that I don’t think we have in our vast collection.

The Glass Conservatory as a Children's Ward- circa 1932

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