In 2003, the BBC’s ‘Restoration’ series featured Llanelly House, a near derelict property owned by the County Council. After more than a decade of careful restoration, Wales’ finest Georgian Town House re-opened to the public in 2014. The audio and visual interpretation, provided by the award-winning Atlas AV team, transformed the visitor experience. The £6M+ project allowed not only the fabric of the House to be reinstated, but also to become a viable visitor attraction and take its rightful place as a valued part of the history and local community.
Situated in the heart of Llanelli town, with no parking facilities, the heritage attraction would need to encourage the public to make their way on foot or via public transport to a little known site. Visitors would also have to pre-book a tour, in order to visit. Despite the presence of the building in the town for 300 years, little of its history was understood. A commercial premises until closure in 1960s, the house had faded into the background and yet it had been central to shaping the history of the town, its geography and employment.
By coordinating with Llanelly House team, at project commencement, Atlas AV built a clear understanding of project requirements and objectives. Initially installing time-lapse photography of the restoration, footage that is now included in the exhibitions. This allowed the project’s progress to be documented in a way that would capture public interest in the scale of the restoration efforts.
Atlas AV focused on creating an audio and visual experience that would engage visitors. By working with local historians, stories were captured, filmed with actors and used to revitalise an understanding of the House and its impact on the locality. Visitors would also be able to trace their ancestry to the area, creating stronger links between the past and present.
When Llanelly House was built, the town did not exist and the view from the east window would have stretched to the peninsula at Machynys. Now, thousands of visitors have learned about the historical origins and understand how the families that lived there shaped the landscape and industry of west Wales.
Interactive genealogy tables allow people to trace their ancestry. This facility has been used from as far as the USA as well as by local residents. Community schools also use a digital trail to bring history and the curriculum to life.
Creativity and Originality: The blend of hardware, software and period style furniture doubles up as casing for the AV presentations, capturing the imagination whilst also complementing their surroundings.
Tables that turn into interactive experiences, encouraging school children to learn how to organise information, such as family trees. Drawers that open under fine bone china displays use simple quizzes to underline how much has changed, such as dining habits.
Talking portraits unpack dramatic episodes in the life of the inhabitants.
Lady Stepney can ‘sometimes’ be seen in her bed chamber mirror, revealing how much fashion has changed and even commentating on the appearance of modern day visitors but the AV platform also highlights what still links us such as affairs of the heart, controversy and heartache.
The tale of a tragic suicide within the house is innovatively explained to young and old as house inhabitants and witnesses can be seen giving evidence and interacting with tour guides.
The project is seen as a stunning success and the solution is fully supported by Atlas AV’s Maintenance team.