In 1987, not long after the formation of our historical society this article appeared in the Daily Post.
At that time we had no money, so I contacted Michael Griffith, then Chairman of the North Wales Health Authority, who I knew to be a director of Sotheby’s and asked him if he could help with the purchase of the picture, as we felt it was an unique opportunity to possess such a piece. Fortunately he succeeded in buying it through the Health Authority at the auction on 23 September 1987 and donated it to our group.
As we had nowhere to safely display the picture we asked if it could be kept in the Academic unit which was then in Gwynfryn.
In 1988 we were contacted through Michael Griffith by a James Ayres from the John Judkyn Memorial, Freshford Manor in Bath. He informed us that a similar picture of the hospital with some slight differences was on display in Freshford Manor and that there were other pictures of the same type but of different subjects. He had been interested in these pictures for many years and said that they dated from the second quarter of the 19th century which would mean that the picture was made in the late 1840’s as the hospital was not completed until 1848. All of the pictures seem to be of North Wales subjects and made by the same person. He also told us that there were similar straw work pictures in the National Museum of Wales in St Fagans and that a Dr Robb Smith had a collection.
When the Academic unit moved to Wrexham, unknown to us they took the picture with them. Over the years we thought that the picture had been deposited in the Public Record Office in Ruthin but found out that this was not the case and it is only this week that we found out that it was hanging in the office of the Professor of the Academic unit in Wrexham.
As far as we know no one has ever found out who made the pictures but if you have any ideas we would be interested in hearing from you.