City Hall, Cardiff

City Hall (Welsh: Neuadd y ddinas) is a civic building in Cathays Park, Cardiff, Wales, UK. It serves as Cardiff's centre of local government. It was built as part of the Cathays Park civic centre development and opened in October 1906. Built of Portland stone, it is an important early example of the Edwardian Baroque style.

Cardiff City Hall
Cardiff City Hall cropped.jpg
Cardiff City Hall logo.gif
The City Hall logo; "VC" stands for Villa Cardiff.
General information
Architectural styleEdwardian Baroque
Listed Building – Grade I
Official nameCardiff City Hall
Designated25 January 1966
Reference no.13744[1]
Town or cityCardiff
CountryWales, United Kingdom
ClientCorporation of Cardiff
Design and construction
ArchitectHenry Vaughan Lanchester
James Stewart
Edwin Alfred Rickards


Horace Jones's Town Hall on St Mary Street

The complex replaced Cardiff's fourth town hall (which was located on the western side of St Mary's Street), built by architect Horace Jones c. 1850–53 (demolished 1913).

The competition to design Cardiff's fifth town hall and adjacent law courts was won in 1897 by the firm of Lanchester, Stewart and Rickards. Construction was carried out by local builders E. Turner and Sons.

Turned and Sons used the world's first all-electrically operated building site, including eight 5 ton cranes to lift the stone blocks. The total building cost was £129,708 (with the concurrently-built Law Courts next door costing £96,583).[2]

As Cardiff received its city charter in 1905 while construction was underway, the current building is known as City Hall. On 29 October 1906 the new building was officially opened by Lord Bute.[3]

Exterior architectureEdit

City Hall, main entrance portico with clock tower in background

Clock towerEdit

The distinctive clock tower is 59 m (194 ft) in height has a 3.7 m-diameter (12 ft) gilded dial on each of its four faces. The clock mechanism includes an hour bell and four quarter bells which are each inscribed with mottoes in English or Welsh.[4]

Fountains and poolEdit

In front of the entrance portico is a rectangular pool with fountains. They were created in July 1969 to mark the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales.[4]


The building has two memorials. The memorial on the left is dedicated to Polish soldiers, airmen and sailors who gave their lives during the Second World War 1939–1945.[5] The one on the right is dedicated to victims of the war.

Interior rooms, functions and art collectionsEdit

Marble Hall, right-hand stairs
Marble Hall, left-hand stairs

Marble HallEdit

The first floor landing of City Hall is decorated with statues in Pentelicon marble of famous figures from Welsh history. These were funded by a gift from David Alfred Thomas, 1st Viscount Rhondda; the personages to be commemorated were decided by a competition in the Western Mail. The Marble Hall was unveiled by David Lloyd George, then Secretary of State for War, on 27 October 1916.[6]

Assembly RoomEdit

This room has hosted royalty, international statesmen and diplomats, and can seat 500 diners simultaneously. It is used for miscellaneous ceremonies, conferences and events during the year. It is decorated with mouldings picked out in gold leaf, of mermaids and other sea creatures. Three large bronze chandeliers are contemporary to the original architects' design.[4]

Council ChamberEdit

Council Chamber
Stained glass window in Council Chamber, depicting a personification of Cardiff, 1905 by A. Garth Jones

This is located above the main entrance portico and directly below the main dome of the building. Hanging from the dome is a bronze chandelier designed by Rickards. Unusual in that the seating is set in a circular pattern, normally British council chambers have semicircular seating. The chamber was designed to host Cardiff's Council meetings (which have subsequently been relocated to Atlantic Wharf). The dome of City Hall is supported by four massive pillars of Italian marble with bronze Ionic capitals. The chamber is panelled throughout in oak. The plaster work is by G.P. Bankart and the stained glass window depicts a personification of the City of Cardiff, dated 1905 by A. Garth Jones[4]

In popular cultureEdit

The cover of the Catatonia single "Mulder and Scully" has a UFO above the building similar to the movie poster for Independence Day.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Cardiff City Hall, Castle". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b Breverton, Terry (2013). Wales' 1000 Best Heritage Sites (e-Book). Amberley Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4456-2013-8.
  3. ^ "Cardiff City Hall and Law Courts - The Opening Ceremonies". The Cardiff Times. Cardiff. 3 November 1906. pp. 4–5 – via Welsh Newspapers Online.
  4. ^ a b c d Cardiff Council City Hall Cardiff: Visitor Information Guide Second edition, 2006
  5. ^ "POLISH MEMORIAL - War Memorials Online".
  6. ^ Chappell, Edgar L. (1946). Cardiff's Civic Centre: A historical guide. Priory Press., pp. 21–6

Further readingEdit

Chappell, Edgar L. (1946), Cardiff's Civic Centre: A historical guide, Cardiff: Priory Press
Egan, T. M. (1989), "Cardiff's Own": Paintings from the City Hall, Cardiff: Welsh Arts Council
Fellows, Richard (1995), Edwardian Architecture: Style and technology, London: Lund Humphries
Gaffney, Angela (1998), "'A National Valhalla for Wales': D. A. Thomas and the Welsh historical sculpture scheme, 1910–1916.", Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 5, pp. 131–44, archived from the original on 2 January 2014, retrieved 2 January 2014
Hilling, John B. (1973), Cardiff and the Valleys: Architecture and townscape, London: Lund Humphries
 ———  (2016), The History and Architecture of Cardiff Civic Centre: Black Gold, White City, Cardiff: University of Wales PressCS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
Morey, Ian (2008), British Provincial Civic Design and the Building of Late-Victorian and Edwardian Cities, Lewiston, NY and Lampeter: E. Mellen Press
Newman, John (1995), Glamorgan, The Buildings of Wales, London: Penguin
Service, Alastair (1979), Edwardian Architecture: A handbook to building design in Britain, 1890–1914, London: Thames & Hudson

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°29′06″N 3°10′43″W / 51.48504°N 3.17857°W / 51.48504; -3.17857