The Welsh town of Rhayader sits at the top of the River Wye and is stone’s throw from the moody, rolling hills of the Elan and Claerwen Valleys. During a short stay in the area we were passing an old mill when a set of double doors burst open and a grey-haired fellow, with blue, sparkly eyes and a friendly smile emerged. His clothes bore the signs of woodwork, paint and masonry dust and his hands were a testament to hard graft. He was opening up for the day and in the gloom behind him I spied an intriguing space…
“Can I take a peek?” I asked. I’d read a small, handmade poster outside explaining this was once Rhayader’s tallest building, home to a former leather mill, cinema, dance hall and supermarket to name a few of its previous incarnations. Four years previously a family had bought the building in near ruins with a dream to restore it to a music/arts venue for the local community.
“Come in” he says, I’ll give you a tour. And for the next 45 minutes, Paul (as he introduced himself) talked animatedly about the history of the building, proudly pointing out his handiwork and future plans including the location of the men’s toilet, the recording studio, green room for musicians, stage, cinema screen and cafe. His grand finale entailed the naming of the venue, ‘The Lost Arc of Rhayader’, inspired by an old drive shaft that was uncovered during renovations. This has now been incorporated into their logo (see pictured).
Throughout the whole tour, all I could think was how fantastic the light was and how sparkly Paul’s eyes were. He obliged when I asked him for a photo. The main image shows Paul with an historical photo of the interior of the Lost Arc, something I’m sure many a passerby has set eyes on when they’ve inadvertently found themselves on a tour. Thanks Paul, good luck and I’m sure we’ll be popping in again to keep tabs on the progress.
Below: the uncovered drive shaft support that led to the name of the venue. Soon to be lit up and protected with a pane of glass.
Below: a quick iPhone pic of the logo on a cup.