The Bell Tower
The Bell Tower, which Clough also called the Campanile, was built in 1928 (listed Grade II 1971). This was one of the few buildings at Portmeirion for which he prepared a complete half-inch drawing and stuck to it. A bell tower had been an integral feature of his early plans and models for Portmeirion. The sheet shown was included in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1931. Clough wanted a tower in order to draw attention to his venture and to show that something was happening. "The need for the Campanile was obvious enough - it was imperative that I should open my performance with a dramatic gesture of some sort." He also wished to demonstrate his belief that architecture should concern itself with groups of buildings in the environment. The Campanile and its neighbours evoke towns like Portofino in Italy which Clough had seen on recent travels. It housed an old chiming turret clock from a demolished London brewery and for many years the chiming of its bells marked the hour at Portmeirion.
A plaque at the base of the Tower carries a dedication to his ancestor who had build previously on this site: 'This tower, built in 1928 by Clough Williams-Ellis, architect and publican, embodies stones from the 12th century castle of his ancestor Gruffydd ap Cynan, King of North Wales, that stood on an eminence 150 yards to the west. It was finally razed c. 1869 by Sir William Fothergill Cook, inventor of the Electric Telegraph, "lest the ruins should become known and attract visitors to the place." This 19th century affront to the 12th is thus piously redressed in the 20th.'