Former town house, Brecon

Former town house, 46 High Street, Brecon

This building, now home to Ardent Gallery, was originally a town house. Look up to see the date 1589 and initials IW. The ornate shop frontage is a later addition but was in situ by the 1840s.

If the gallery is open, step inside to see what seems to be a small doorway to the inn next door, which was called The Shoulder of Mutton when actress Sarah Siddons was born there in 1755.

For decades the ground floor was a chemist’s shop. It was kept by Richard E Charles in the late 19th century. His daughter Mary Gwladys Charles kept a diary from 1897 to 1903 while living here. It was later published, and now provides an insight into life in Brecon during the transition from the Victorian to Edwardian eras. Her diaries of two visits to London were also published.

The family later moved to Goodwick, Pembrokeshire, and in 1913 Mary became the first bride to be married at the new St Peter’s Church in Goodwick. She married a local vicar, the Rev GP Gabriel, whose brother – also a vicar – performed the ceremony.

Walter Gwillim was the chemist here during the First World War. In 1917, when he was 35 years old, he was given an exemption from military service because of the importance of his occupation.

In the late 20th century the shop here sold haberdashery and toys. The building was empty for almost a decade before Ardent Gallery moved in in 2010. The gallery exhibits and sells work by local and international artists on all four floors of the building and has a picture framing workshop in the basement.

Postcode: LD3 7LB    View Location Map

Website of Ardent Gallery