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Thursday 13 September 2018

Map of Portmeirion

Map of Portmeirion Circa 1935
    So what has a map of the Italianate village got to do with ‘the Prisoner?’ Well Portmeirion is the home of ‘the Prisoner,’ plus there is a similarity in the way the two maps have been set out, almost child-like. The map shows the hotel, the woods, sea lawn, the lower terrace. The slipway and the sea, and the drive to Portmeirion. Also a number of buildings are noted on the map, Angel, Neptune, Mermaid, Dolphin, The Watch House, Government House, Campanile, Priory Lodge, Battery Gate, The Pilot House, and Toll Gate. Whereas the Map of The Village shows the woods, the mountains, the sea, the Old People’s Home, Tower, the Palace of Fun, Shop, Labour Exchange, lawn, the beach, cliffs and caves. It’s possible that The Village map was based on the map of Portmeirion, although there is no physical proof of this, only the similarity between the two maps. There is also something curious about the Portmeirion map seen in the upper right-hand corner. “PLEASE RETURN.” Obviously copies of this map were not sold, but handed out to visitors to Portmeirion, who had to hand the map back as they left the village. I must apologize for the quality of the map, as it is a copy of a copy. The map could not be found anywhere on the world-wide web, in fact the only place it can be found, as far as I know, is within the 2006 book ‘Portmeirion.’ And although the map is printed in blue, it had to be printed for The Tally Ho in greyscale for any of the detail to be shown. 
   The date of the map can be estimated circa 1935 because that is when the tennis court first appeared in Portmeirion. Then in 1965, a year before filming of ‘the Prisoner’ began in September 1966 the tennis court was relocated along the drive to Portmeirion, and the Piazza along with its pool and fountain were established. And that was lucky for the production of ‘the Prisoner,’ because had the tennis court remained, it would have given episodes filmed at Portmeirion a completely different look, there would have been no central area for citizens to promenade around, and especially in ‘Free For All’ when it came to the two speeches given from the Gloriette. Although the tennis court would have given citizens the opportunity to hold their own tennis tournament!

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