As of 7 August 2013, the Coal Exchange is closed indefinitely, due to building safety issues.
Before the Coal Exchange was built in Mount Stuart Square, the area was a residential square with a central garden. It was taken over by commerce as the city grew in prosperity. Coal merchants used to chalk up the changing prices of coal on slates outside their offices or struck deals in the local public houses.
As Cardiff became the biggest coal port in the world, the building was constructed between 1883 and 1886 by Edwin Seward as a base from which to conduct trade negotiations regarding the coal mines of the South Wales Valleys - most of which was shipped to Cardiff for distribution.
The building played an important role in the industrial Cardiff of the 19th century. Paired Corinthian columns, an oak balcony, and rich wood paneling adorn the trading hall, which was reconstructed by Edwin Seward in 1911.
Following its opening, coal owners, ship owners and their agents met daily on the floor of the trading hall where agreements were made by word of mouth and telephone . During the peak trading hour of midday to one o'clock, the floor might have as many as 200 men gesticulating and shouting. It was estimated that up to 10,000 people would pass in and out of the building each day. At one time the price of the world's coal was determined here.
Cardiff's reliance on coal made the Bute Docks highly vulnerable to any downturn in the demand for it. With the end of the war the docks went into further decline. The Coal exchange closed in 1958 and coal exports came to an end in 1964.
In 1979 the Coal Exchange was earmarked as a future home of the proposed Welsh Assembly and a heavily reinforced underground carpark was constructed (also envisaged to act as a nuclear shelter) but the plan for devolution was rejected by the Welsh people in a referendum. In 1983 the building was considered as a headquarters for the Welsh language television station, S4C, though this also failed to take off. The Exchange Hall was used with great regularity during this period as a filming location for various parts of the entertainment industry, for example the BBC drama Bevan.
Re-opening, closure & current status In 1988 the building was re-acquired and subsequently completely refurbished in 2001 to turn it into a major venue. The venue has hosted acts such as the Arctic Monkeys, Manic Street Preachers, Ocean Colour Scene, Stereophonics and Biffy Clyro.
The Coal Exchange closed indefinitely on 7 August 2013 as a result of building safety issues. With the subsequent liquidation of the company which owned it in 2014, ownership of the Coal Exchange passed to the Crown Estate. It is currently the subject of ongoing efforts to preserve the historic fabric of the building by the not-for-profit organisation Save the Coal Exchange Limited. In February 2015, Welsh Government Economy Minister Edwina Hart commissioned a feasibility study into future re-use of the building.
- "Tech Spec". Coal Exchange. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- "South East Wales | Coal Exchange and Mountstuart Square". BBC. 2009-11-04. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- "History". Coal Exchange. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- , BBC News. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
- Cardiff Exchange Building, Butetown, British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 2013-03-21.
- Evans, Catherine; Dodsworth, Steve; Barnett, Julie (1984), Below the Bridge: A photo-historical survey of Cardiff's docklands to 1983, Cardiff: National Museum of Wales Cardiff, pp. 37–38, ISBN 0-7200-0288-5
- "Open Mic | Venues | Cardiff Coal Exchange". Openmicuk.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- "Location". Coal Exchange. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
Media related to Coal Exchange at Wikimedia Commons