Laurence’s new show focuses on a hidden gem

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

FLAMBOYANT designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has been filming near Wrexham for his latest TV series.

Iscoyd Park, off the A525, is to feature in the next series of his popular heritage programme Hidden Houses of Wales.

The man who was at the forefront of a new genre of TV with his hit 1990s do-your-home-up show Changing Rooms was at the Victorian mansion yesterday.

The mansion has been the family home of the Godsal family since 1843 and has recently been given a new lease of life by the latest in the line, Phil Godsal and his wife Susie.

The couple moved up from London 18 months ago and organised a major facelift of the house before turning it into a wedding venue.

The first wedding hosted at the mansion took place last April and since then 30 other couples have tied the knot amidst the mansion’s elegant period splendour.

During the Second World War it was taken over by American then Polish forces and was also used as a secretarial college which had been evacuated from London.

The house was eventually returned to the Godsals in 1957, and the family has been there ever since.

The Hidden Houses episode in which it is featured is due to be shown on BBC2 in the autumn.

This will be the second series of the programme, which has been dubbed a Who Do You Think You Are? for houses.

The first series, which was screened last year to great acclaim on BBC Wales and later networked nationally, featured historic Trevor Hall, near Llangollen.

Mr Llewelyn-Bowen said: “Trevor Hall was a very interesting place but Iscoyd House is also very special because it has been the home of the same family in an unbroken line since 1843.

“It has a lot of history to it and now has a new future because it has been completely redone to turn it into a fantastic wedding venue.

“Rather than just treading water the whole thing has been completely stripped back and I think it looks great.

“Now thousands of people will have memories of Iscoyd Park on their big day.
“I think people have taken to Hidden Homes because it is so simple and straightforward.

“We give a gentle explanation of the various houses we feature and their history.”

He added: “I love doing the programme because it has very high production values.

“I only want to do things that are interesting. I don’t want to go into the jungle and eat maggots just to keep my career alive.

“I want to do something that pushes the boundaries slightly, which is why I am enjoying doing this programme so much.”

Mr Godsal said: “The programme’s producers are very keen to track down anyone who lived or spent time at Iscoyd during this period.

“We have built up quite a sizeable collection of photographs and documents over the years and there is evidence of Polish activity from that 15-year period scattered around the parkland here, such as inscriptions etched into tree stumps.

“However, the programme’s producers are eager to get as much first-hand information as possible.

“If anyone has any pictures or memorabilia of Iscoyd in the war and post-war period, I know the producers would love to hear from them. What would be even more amazing is if anyone could come forward with any love stories – we are sure there were some romances at the time.”

Anyone with any information should contact director Clare Lynch at clynch@mentorn.tv.

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