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Penarth Pavilion – Refurbishment & Success 23rd September 2014

In 2012 a request was made for a mural to be inlaid in the entrance foyer of the Penarth Pier, to be included as part of its refurbishment. After submissions were considered, Jean Powell was commissioned to design the ceramic feature mural to be set into the floor. Jean in turn asked Gillian Clarke, the National Poet of Wales if she would be pleased to be involved. She was delighted and wrote several original lines of poetry to be included.

Two successful women prominent in their field

Gillian and Jean flipped

Jean Powell, creator of the mural and Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales

The design of the mural focuses on boats and mythical sea creatures, etched and modelled into the clay. The well remembered paddle steamer (which still makes occasional visits- you can book trips on-line!) is included in the design, it having a history of visits to the pier, dating back to the opening in 1895. Such has been the manner in which the mural is received and commented upon, the Pier management decided to use elements taken from the design to decorate artefacts and postcards that can be bought in the shop.

The mural is located on the first floor in the middle of the entrance. It cannot be avoided by visitors who walk across its surface (the work is made out of a very robust stoneware clay!) and can also be viewed from a circular gallery above.

Interior copy

The finished piece, which was laid in the entrance of the foyer

Since the Pier’s opening it has received critical acclaim including ‘Most Treasured Landmark’ which was part of a major campaign by the National Trust Wales. Decided by a public vote culminated and announced at the National Eisteddfod in Llanelli. Penarth Pier’s director Dr David Trotman said ” I am delighted that Penarth Pier has been crowned the Nations special place, it is great to see that is so special to the people of Wales”

The Refurbishment began in 1994 at a cost of £650,000, including crucial repairs to stem the on going deterioration at the entrance of the Pier. A little over 2 years later a further £1.7 million was spent to ensure that the Pier had the attention it needed. In total the £3.9 million refurbishment scheme involved the restoration and re development of the Pavilion for use as a cinema, café observatory and multi purpose community complex.

Penarth Pier is one of the last remaining Victorian piers in Wales and Craig Bragdy Design are proud to have played a small part in such a unique project.


Posted: September 23rd, 2014 Category: Design Comments: (0)