Neuadd Idris is the old market hall in Dolgellau, now known as Ty Siamas.
The early history of the building is uncertain, but it is believed to have been built circa 1870 with the upper rooms being used as ‘Assembly Rooms’. Some believe it to be designed by an Italian Architect, because of its distinctive arches. However there is currently no evidence to support this theory, and shouldn’t be given too much credence because the arcade created by the open arches is only a relatively new development in the history of the building.
It was originally referred to as the Dolgellau Assembly Rooms.
During the two world wars it was used to store grain.
At some point, probably between the wars, a gallery was introduced and it became a cinema.
At that time the building had several chimneys, the ground floor rooms/shops came right out to the arches, and it housed a ‘Lost Bell’, which was rung whenever someone was lost on the peaks of Cader Idris.
It then suffered major renovation, which changed its character. Again the exact time of the renovation works is uncertain, but it is probable that it happened prior to the 1949 National Eisteddfod, which was held at the hall.
It is these renovations that created the ‘arches’ and the arcade that characterises the building today. A bigger stage was added, with a newly refurbished green room; new toilet facilities; a new entrance and lobby; new staircases; central heating; and a whole host of other changes.
From the 1950s onwards it became a very popular dancing hall, with both folk dancing and discos being held there, as well as other community events such as political rallies, fetes, dramas (especially with DADS, the Dolgellau Amateur Dramatics Society) etc.
It was the venue for the first Sesiwn Fawr in 1992, but then gradually fell into disrepair.
The last dance was held at the hall in August 2000, aptly titled ‘The Last Waltz’, and was used as a backdrop to the S4C film Eldra in 2001.
Neuadd Idris was leased to Siamas Cyf. in March 2006 by Gwynedd County Council to develop Ty Siamas.