Creator of the Italianate village at Portmeirion
Clough Williams-Ellis was born in Northamptonshire and was educated at Oundle School. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read natural sciences, but he never graduated in this subject, deciding to become an architect instead. He inherited Plas Brondanw, Meirionnydd in 1908. As an architect, Clough was responsible for building projects as far afield as England, Ireland and even Shanghai, but it is for Portmeirion that Clough is best known.
This building project at his own private peninsula near Porthmadog was undertaken from 1925 to 1976. Construction was interrupted by the Second World War and by the scarcity of supplies in the years following the conflict.
Clough’s vision was that the development of a naturally beautiful site should enhance rather than defile it, and that good architectural style could be good business.
A tireless campaigner for the environment, Clough became a founder member of both the Council for the Protection of Rural England in 1926 and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales in 1928, and served as president of the latter for 20 years. He was an advocate of rural preservation, amenity planning, industrial design and colourful architecture. Clough was responsible for the demarcation of the boundary of Snowdonia National Park, which he presented to King George VI in 1951.
One of Clough’s daughters, Susan, founded the famous Portmeirion pottery with their distinctive botanical designs.