The Foundation is a charity originally established by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in 1972, to protect his property in North Wales and ensure its conservation for long-term public benefit.
The Foundation is managed by up to eight trustees. Some are descendants of Sir Clough. All are volunteers who bring expertise in a range of areas.
The Foundation’s property consists of three main components: the rural Brondanw Estate in the parish of Llanfrothen, including cottages, farms and woodlands; Plas Brondanw - Sir Clough’s home on the Estate; and Portmeirion Village - his architectural creation at Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth.
In caring for the land and buildings in these areas of beautiful Welsh countryside, the Foundation seeks to ensure Clough's vision for them endures, specifically to "Cherish the past, adorn the present and construct for the future".
For the benefit of current and future generations, the Foundation seeks to:
Clough and Amabel Williams-Ellis, who founded the Trust whose website you are reading, lived long and varied lives together in a partnership that lasted more than 60 years.
Clough, born in 1883, always felt he was born an architect ‘Although much else has befallen me in the course of a long and varied life seems quite irrelevant to my master passion, yet even as a scientist, engineer, soldier, amateur sailor, country landowner, traveller and writer, the architect within me has been ever present, no matter how heavily overlaid by more immediate concerns.’ Architecture lead naturally to conservation and town planning as he became a passionate advocate for preserving beautiful places for the nation.
Amabel Strachey his wife was a writer of novels, political pamphlets, books for children on science and history as well as notable collections of fairy stories and science fiction. ‘An Anatomy of Poetry’ her first book is still a classic nearly 100 years later. Her pamphlets warning of the dangers of Nazism are displayed in London’s Holocaust museum. Her lively writing has been recently included in a volume of “radical writing for children” and her post-war feminist work The Art of being a Woman has had recent academic interest.
They were both prolific authors and wrote several books together, see details on the Library page.
Of their three children Susan achieved fame as a designer, notably of ceramics at Portmeirion Potteries, a firm run by her and her husband. Plas Brondanw now houses a gallery run by a Trust devoted to her work. Younger daughter Charlotte, a biologist, married a New Zealand serviceman who was seconded during the war to undertake research at Cambridge University where she gained her PhD. They moved back to New Zealand in 1946, where Charlotte became a founding member of the science faculty at the University of Waikato. The youngest child and only son Christopher sadly died in action in WWII, a devastating loss for the family.