Llandrindod's Garages, Mid-Wales

Automobile Palace, Llandrindod

This small Mid-Wales town - known in full as Llandrindod Wells - has two superb relics of 20th century motoring.

The first, and most obvious, is the Automobile Palace. It was built as a 'Palace Of Sport' in around 1906, and given its current name in 1925. It was a garage until the 1980s and now houses various offices, shops and The National Cycle Collection, a cycling museum. It's on the main A483 road through Llandrindod.

It was built by Tom Norton, an adventurous businessman who arranged commercial flights on the 'Dole' (Welsh 'dol', meaning 'meadow') - a field by the river Ithon/Ieithon. To this day his work on aviation is recorded by the word 'aircraft' alongside 'cycles' and more mundane advertisements on the sides of the building.

The second building is Pritchard's Garage in the centre of town, on the corner of Station Crescent and Temple Street. This is more overlooked but has a beautiful facade which sadly shows signs of decay. Its bright blue and white frontage records the makes of cars once sold there, now passed into motoring history, including Sunbeam and Commer. I believe it still functions as a garage to this day.

Both buildings serve as a reminder that Llandrindod was once a huge draw for tourists in its heyday as a spa town. Though quieter, it's still a lovely place, and well worth a visit.

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