Strand Hall, Builth Wells

PWMP logoStrand Hall, Builth Wells

This building opened as a market hall in the 1870s and soon became a venue for eisteddfodau, prayer meetings, concerts and other events.

It was built by Oliver Morgan Bligh, of Cilmery Park. He was a distant relative of Captain William Bligh, who was famously forced off his ship, HMS Bounty, by his mutinous crew in 1789.

Conscious that Builth had no market hall or assembly room, Oliver formed a company in 1876 to erect a market building at a cost of up to £3,000. The Strand Market Hall had room for 1,000 people. Its asphalt floor was intended for “rinking” (roller skating), then a popular pursuit for young men and women. The Bligh family’s crest adorns the portico.

Shows for tourists were laid on in the summer, including performances by pierrot clowns. In 1903, Rhondda MP William Abraham gave an address at the “Strand Music Hall”, urging people to holiday – as he had done – in Builth Wells for their health and vigour. He was famous as the miners’ leader “Mabon”.

Inside the hall is a “Roll of Honor” listing 68 members of the Congregational chapels of Builth Wells, Salem and Cefn-y-Bedd who served in the First World War. Several of them died - see the Footnotes below for their details. The roll records one man as missing, which suggests it was created during or very soon after the war. It was restored by a paper conservator in 2016 as part of the Powys War Memorials Project. The town’s war memorial is nearby

The hall faced an uncertain future in the early 21st century, when structural repairs were needed. A fundraising appeal secured more than £500,000 for its restoration. Prince Charles officially reopened the venue in July 2018. It is now home to Builth Wells Town Council and is used by many groups or hired for events.

Postcode: LD2 3AA    View Location Map




Footnotes: War dead named on Roll of Honor

Davies, John Rees, Sapper 269540. Died 08/08/1917 aged 39. Royal Engineers. Buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium. Son of Mr and Mrs J Davies, of Oakfield, House, Llanafon; husband of Mrs M Davies (later Stedman), of 33 Wye View Terrace, Builth Road.

Jones, HG.

Williams, Cyril, Private 2272. Died 08/12/1915 aged 22. South Wales Borderers. Buried at Mhow New Cemetery, India. Son of John and Eleanor Williams, of Maescwm, Builth Wells.

Davies, William Jones. Lived at Spring Gardens, Builth Wells. Possibly: Davies, William Jones, Private 03689. Died 10/04/1918 aged 29. Middlesex Regiment. Buried at Haverskerque British Cemetery, Nord, France. Son of Robert Davies and Mrs C Davies, of 2 Willow Terrace, Harlesden, London.

Davies, Arthur Ivor, Lance Corporal 355426. Died of wounds 04/12/1917 aged 21. Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Buried at Cairo War Memorial Cemetery. Son of Arthur Samuel and Ann E. Davies, of Danyrallt, Llanynis, Builth Wells, also of Esgaerhir Farm. Educated at Llanynis County School.

Draper, Alfred Stanley, Private 12022. Died 27/07/1916 aged 19. Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. Son of Alfred Thomas and Margaret Draper, of 52, Hill Avenue, Victoria Park, Bristol. Enlisted in Builth Wells. Was a farm servant at Noyadd, Rhosferig. Had one child by fellow Noyadd servant Jane Annie Williams.

Lunn, James, Lance Corporal 1807. Died 21/10/1915. Welsh Regiment. Helles Memorial, Turkey. Lived in Cilmeri.