National Library of Wales

Sir Clough Williams-Ellis Papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 CLGHWE

Held at:

Title: Sir Clough Williams-Ellis Papers

Short title: Williams-Ellis, Clough, papers

Dates of creation: 1906-1978

Level of description: Fonds

Extent and medium: 0.64 cubic metres (30 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Sir Clough Williams-Ellis


Administrative and biographical history: Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis was an architect and creator of Portmeirion village, with interests ranging from architecture, landscaping and preservation of the countryside to landscaping of trunk roads and writing.
Clough Williams-Ellis was born on the 28th of May, 1883, and educated at Oundle and Trinity College, Cambridge. He began training as an architect in London but within three months left for his first commission.
His most famous project was Portmeirion village in North Wales, but other major works include Llangoed Castle; Oare House; Stowe School; Bishop's Stortford College Chapel; the Lloyd George Mausoleum, Museum, and Westminster Abbey Memorial; Rhiwlas; Voelas; Nantclwyd Hall and Dalton Hall. He was also involved in many lesser projects, including churches, schools, village halls and civic amenities, smaller houses, hotels, monuments and garden follies.
Sir Clough Williams-Ellis was a member of numerous committees, among them the National Parks Committee, National Trust Committee for Wales and the Trunk Road Advisory Committee. He was also the Vice-President of the Council for the Preservation of Rural Wales and a member of the Athenaeum Club in London.
A prolific writer, the following publications are but a few examples of his works: England and the Octopus (London, [1928]), The Architect (London, 1929), Town and Country Planning (1951), Portmeirion - the Place and its Meaning (London, [1963], Roads in the Landscape (1967), Architect Errant (London, 1971), and Around the World in Ninety Years (Portmeirion, 1978).
He died on the 8th of April, 1978.


Scope and content: The papers of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, comprising material relating to his architectural projects, including the village of Portmeirion and the Voelas, Bodnant and Brondanw estates, 1907-1978; papers, minutes and agendas, 1930-1977, of the Council for the Protection of Rural England, the Council for the Protection of Rural Wales and the Advisory Committee on the Landscape Treatment of Trunk Roads; speeches given by Clough Williams-Ellis at various meetings; articles and reviews published by him in newspapers, journals and magazines, and articles published by others on his works; correspondence concerning articles to the press, his publications, fixtures, invitations to various meetings and dinners, letters from architects, artists and other prominent figures; letters, cards and other papers relating to landmarks in his life, such as the conferring of a CBE and knighthood and the celebration of birthdays and his diamond wedding anniversary; and drafts of autobiographies and other writings, 1952-1978.


Language/script: English.

System of arrangement: Arranged at NLW into six groups: Portmeirion and other building projects; Brondanw estate; committees; speeches, articles and invitations; correspondence and celebrations; autobiographies and other writings. The original order of the individual files has been retained unless indicated otherwise.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their readers' tickets.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply; Clough Williams-Ellis copyright owned by the Clough Williams-Ellis Foundation, Balfours, Property Professionals, Windsor House, Windsor Place, Shrewsbury.

Finding aids: The catalogue can be accessed online.
Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: The fonds has been appraised.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: Many drawings and plans were sent by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) between 1972 and 1978, with negotiations concerning the rest of his drawings going to RIBA cut short by his death. However, his wishes were taken into account by his widow, Lady Amabel Williams-Ellis, and the rest of the drawings were sent to RIBA, while the archival materials were sent to NLW in 1978.

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by Lady Amabel Williams-Ellis, 1978.


Related units of description: Drawings and plans by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis were sent to the British Architectural Library, Drawings Collection, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) between 1972 and 1978, and again in 1981 and 1984; also at RIBA are correspondence and articles relating to Wales, in particular Snowdonia National Park; correspondence relating to David Lloyd George's house is in the House of Lords Record Office; letters to the Manchester Guardian are at the John Rylands University Library at Manchester; and correspondence with Sir Frederic Osborn is at the Welwyn Garden City Central Library, Hertfordshire.


Note: Title based on contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Hywel Gwynn Williams.
The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: V. Bates, 'An Extraordinary Architect: the Life of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis', Country Quest (July 2003), pp. 30-31; C. Williams-Ellis, Architect Errant, 2nd pub. (Portmeirion, 1991); C. Williams-Ellis, Around the World in Ninety Years (Portmeirion Ltd., 1978); R. Haslam, Clough Williams-Ellis, RIBA Drawings Monographs 2 (London, 1996); 'Portmeirion' and 'Brondanw' information leaflets published by Gwasg Eryri, Porthmadog [c. 2005]; and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography WWW website (20 October 2005).

Rules or conventions: Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH.

Date(s) of description: November 2005; revised 2008.



Architects | Archives

Architecture | England | 20th century

Architecture | Wales | 20th century

Williams-Ellis, Clough, | 1883-1978 | Archives

Personal names

Williams-Ellis, Clough, 1883-1978

Corporate names