What the I’m A Celebrity castle looked like in 1946

We’ve all spent the last week watching some B-list celeberites such as Jordan North, Vernon Kay and Bev Callard bunking down in the welsh, I’m a Celebrity castle. But histrical photos of the castle have recently been discovered!

A historic property listing for the 19th-century castle shows it as a stunning estate, with weapons on the walls, massive dining tables, and very fancy windows.


The castle was listed for auction in July 1946 by the Dundonald family, ending the nearly 100 years of family ownership! Guess the price? A million? 2 million? Nope. It sold for £12,000 to a Mr JR Rennie of Wrexham.

A report from a newspaper said “he intends to live there” and that “the sale attracted one of the largest crowds seen at an auction in North Wales for many years”. Not the type of house you see for sale on Homes Under the Hammer!

The before and after images we made are pretty amazing!

Built more than 100 years ago

The action document said the following about the castle on the listing: “The magnificent 19th-century castle and estate. Based near Abergele in Conwy, was built more than 100 years ago between 1812 and 1822. It’s been preserved to an exceptional standard, with many original features remaining throughout”

“The castle is set some 200ft above sea level on the side of the hill, which is backed by woodland and commands magnificent views. over the surrounding countryside and the Irish Sea as far as Liverpool.

“The approach to the castle allows you to pass by the Great Wood, terraced gardens, and parkland. The drive passes through massive stone archways to the courtyard and entrance to the castle.

“Continuing past the entrance, there are further stone archways to the Garage and Stable Yard before winding back round to the Great Wood.”

You may be asking ‘How big was the castle?’ well… massive. The document sates there were 26 bedrooms, nine reception rooms and seven bathrooms! The estate covered 1,400 acres – the equivalent of 700 football pitches! A home fit for a king!

Historian Dr. Mark Baker, who formed the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust at the age of just 13, told WalesOnline that when he first visited the property in the 80s that “It was like a nuclear fallout”

“There was used needles, abandoned vehicles, and fire damage. It was an apocalyptic scene. I just thought that someone has got to do something here.”

When he was first contacted by a producer from ITV asking about the castle’s availability for the show, Dr. Baker said he almost deleted the email – believing it to be spam.

I’m a Celebrity Castle: “It would have been a comfortable place to live”

He and many locals hope the show brings to light the importance of the castle and the history that Wales has. Archivist Sarah Roberts said: “Gwrych Castle had kept the Dundonald family in lavish surroundings since the 1870s. It would have been a much more comfortable place to live than the viper vaults.

“Despite numerous attempts over the years to turn the building into a hotel or tourist attraction, the house fell slowly into disrepair until taken over by The Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust. It’s brilliant to see it reach households all over the country now and viewers can explore its story.”

Maybe we may one day see the I’m a Celebrity castle restored to it’s former glory!