The Buckley Arms – the origin – a Grade II Listed Building
Constructed as a hotel in 1873 with a ‘new fangled’ building material the The Buckley Arms is reputedly the oldest reinforced concrete building in Europe and the second oldest in the world (the oldest is in Russia! that surprised me too.) Built by Wealthy Edmund Buckley (1834-1910), latterly Sir Edmund Buckley, 1st Baronet of Llandovery, MP, who arrived on the scene at Dinas Mawddwy from Manchester in 1856.
Wealthy Edmund Buckley (1834-1910), latterly Sir Edmund Buckley, 1st Baronet of Llandovery, MP, arrived on the scene at Dinas Mawddwy from Manchester in 1856. His uncle had bought the estate from the Mytton family, and on his death Edmund inherited it. He poured money into the building of a grand house (Y Plas) which was completed by 1872. He bought up large tracts of land and expanded the estate to about 11,000 acres, and also part-funded the building of the 6.75 mile standard gauge Mawddwy Railway, which connected with the main Cambrian line at Cemmaes Road. The railway opened around about 1866, and in 1868 Edmund was made a baron. He contributed much to the well-being of the area, sponsoring various new buildings and services, including this hotel at Dinas which was named in his honour – the Buckley Arms, (form some years known as the Buckley Pines Hotel). He became deeply involved in local slate quarrying, which for a time seems to have been profitable, and an important source of local employment. The Buckley Arms has several of the original architect’s plans for the hotel and these are displayed around the building, showing that not too much has changed in themain structure over the years apart from the introduction of en-suite facilities, something our Victorian ancestors did not demand in their 5* establishment!
Sadly Y Plas burned down in 1917 having been unoccupied for several years, the railway closed and the slate quarrying suffered due to a downturn in the industry. The only remaining evidence of the grandeur of Sir Edmund Buckley is the Buckley Arms.
1969 – Granada TV’s ‘The Owl Service’
For those of you with long memories perhaps you can recall a Granada television series called ‘The Owl Service’. This was set in and around the village of Dinas Mawddwy and a very small claim to fame is that the hotel attic was used in this series plus a couple of rooms were created here for filming. Not exactly Star Wars but I understand that this series has many fans and followers around the world.
Browsing through some of the paperwork previous owners left we came across this ancient brochure showing tariffs and table of distances from the Buckley Arms (formerly The Buckley Pines Hotel). The Hotel boasts Hot and Cold Running Water in all rooms and that it is lighted with electricity throughout, wow!!! Unfortunately for prospective guests we no longer offer those same rates.
This is a copy of a lithograph showing The Buckley Arms Hotel from the rear. It clearly shows the lake from where Minllyn takes its name, translated it means “by the side of the lake” or so an old guide relates. If the copy tells the truth then the Buckley Arms Hotel was indeed ‘by the side of the lake’.