Castle Quarter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Castle Quarter
Welsh: Cwr y Castell
Cardiff Castle clock tower.jpg
The Clock Tower of Cardiff Castle
Castle Quarter is located in Cardiff
Castle Quarter
Castle Quarter
 Castle Quarter shown within Cardiff
Principal area Cardiff
Ceremonial county Cardiff
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CARDIFF
Postcode district CF10
Dialling code 029
Police South Wales
Fire South Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Cardiff Central
Welsh Assembly Cardiff Central
List of places

Coordinates: 51°28′48″N 3°10′30″W / 51.48°N 3.175°W / 51.48; -3.175

Castle Quarter (Welsh: Cwr y Castell) is a commercial area in the north of the city centre of Cardiff, Wales.

The Castle Quarter includes some of Cardiff's Victorian and Edwardian arcades: Castle Arcade, High Street Arcade and Duke Street Arcade, and principal shopping streets: St Mary Street, High Street, Castle Street and Duke Street.

Development of the area began in February 2010 and is expected to be completed by July 2011.[dated info] Cardiff Council says that work to create the Castle Quarter as a pedestrian friendly environment for High Street and St Mary Street is designed to enhance the city centre.[1]

History of the principal streets[edit]

Map of the Castle Quarter

Church Street[edit]

The original first floor of Truffles tea room was once the residence of John Wesley where he first began his preaching of Methodism.[2]

High Street[edit]

Riots took place during the 16th century between supporters of the rivalling Herberts family, who hailed from the Friary, and the Mathews family of Radyr. Herbert’s servants were all arrested in the course of their fighting and how he was able to free them all because his brother was the town sheriff. The street may have been as bustling with activity as much back then as it is today, albeit with a very different kind of activity. There would have been market stalls, but also stocks, whipping posts and there was even a jail house on this street.

At the top end of High Street, before Duke Street and the Castle, used to stand the old Guildhall, demolished in 1860 for the construction of the larger one standing today.[2]

Trinity Street[edit]

Trinity Street is the location of St John the Baptist Church, built over 800 years ago and has been renovated and resized over the centuries. Its tower was a gift from the Neville sisters, Anne and Isabel, in 1473 and has the most pinnacles of any church tower in Britain, except St Giles in Wrexham.[citation needed] Anne Neville was both Princess of Wales, after her marriage to Edward of Westminster, and later married Richard III to become Queen of England.

Inside the church, two male stone effigies lie side by side to mark the burial place of Sir John Herbert and his brother William, both famous in the area in the 16th and 17th centuries. Sir John, who lies on the right on a red cushion, was known to speak four languages, as he was the English Ambassador to France, Poland, Holland and Denmark and was Chief Secretary to both Elizabeth I and James I.[2]

Victorian and Edwardian arcades[edit]

Name Image Year
Entrances Notes
Central Market Central Market, Cardiff.jpg 1891 St. Mary Street
Trinity Street
Central Market was designed by the county engineer William Harpur. 349 stalls were in the original layout. The market opened in 1891 and has entrances on St. Mary Street and Trinity Street [3] Central Market is a Grade II* Listed building.

The market consists of two shopping levels, a ground floor and a balcony level which wraps around the market exterior walls on the interior [1]. There is a large H. Samuel clock [2] above the High Street entrance [3], which was presumably donated by the H. Samuel jewellery chain, which once had a store just outside the High Street entrance. Traders in the market offer a variety of fresh produce, cooked food, various delicacies and more durable goods. A trader of note is Ashton's the fishmongers,[4] who have traded in the market since 1866 at the Trinity Street entrance selling a wide range of fresh seafood.

Castle Arcade Castle Arcade Cardiff.jpg 1887 Castle Street
High Street
Castle Arcade opened in 1887 and is a Grade II* Listed building. The Castle arcade, as the name suggests, runs from opposite Cardiff Castle to High Street, north of St Mary St. The arcade hasa variety of small boutique shops as well as cafes and delicatessens, and fair-trade and organic shops.[5]

One of the longer of Cardiff's famous Victorian arcades, Castle Arcade is home to a variety of shops selling, among other things, crystals, air pistols, fancy dress, books and clothes. There are several shops on the gallery level.

Duke Street Arcade Duke Street Arcade Cardiff.jpg 1902 Duke Street
High Street Arcade
Duke Street Arcade opened in 1902 is a Grade II Listed building. Duke Street Arcade joins High Street arcade, and is just opposite Cardiff Castle. Duke Street Arcade is lined with stores including hairdressers, bridal shops and Welsh gift shops.[5]
High Street Arcade High Street Arcade Cardiff.jpg 1885 High Street
St John Street
High Street Arcade opened in 1886 and is a Grade II Listed building. It has entrances on High Street and St John Street. High Street arcadeis known for its range fashion stores which include designer clothes, individual fashions, jewellery and vintage clothes. One will also find children's clothes and toys, gifts and a New York Deli in the arcade.[5]

In 2004 the Morgan Arcade and Royal Arcade were purchased by property firm Helical Bar for £25 million, after the Cardiff Arcade Company went into liquidation. In 2014 three of the arcades - Castle, High Street and Duke Street - were bought by investment group Mansford, also for £25 million, with a view to investing in a refurbishment.[6]

Significant buildings and parks[edit]

Cardiff Castle[edit]

Cardiff Castle (Welsh: Castell Caerdydd) forms the centrepoint of the Castle Quarter on Castle Street. It is a medieval castle and Victorian architecture Gothic revival mansion, transformed from a Norman keep erected over a Roman fort.

The Norman keep was built on a high motte on the site of a Roman castra, first uncovered during the third Marquess of Bute's building campaign. The Norman keep, of which the shell remains, was constructed about 1091 by Robert Fitzhamon, lord of Gloucester and conqueror of Glamorgan.[7]

In the early 19th century the castle was enlarged and refashioned in an early Gothic Revival style for John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute by Henry Holland. But its transformation began in 1868 when John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute commissioned William Burges to undertake a massive rebuilding which turned the castle into a 19th century fantasy of a medieval palace, with a series of rooms that, perhaps, constitute the highest achievement of later Victorian Gothic Revival design.

360° panorama on the grounds of the Cardiff Castle as seen on an overcast October morning

Animal Wall[edit]

The Animal Wall is a sculptured wall depicting 15 animals on Castle Street. It is a Grade I listed structure.[8]

Designed by William Burges in 1866, but it was not built until 1890, The work of the restoration of Cardiff Castle and the building of the Animal Wall for the Marquess of Bute, was continued by his former assistant William Frame.[9] The original nine animal figures were sculptured by Thomas Nicholls, they were the hyena, wolf, apes, seal, bear, lioness, lynx, and 2 different lions. They were painted in naturalistic colours, although since then the paint work on the sculptures has been removed.[10][11]

Central Market[edit]

Cardiff Central Market (Welsh: Marchnad Ganolog Caerdydd) is a Victorian indoor market on St Mary Street. The market was designed by the Borough Surveyor, William Harpur, and opened in May 1891.[12] A farmers' market is known to have existed at the site since the 18th century.


A Christmas Market takes place in the Castle Quarter. In 2010 the market saw more than 40 stalls open up along High Street, St John's Street and Working Street.[13]

2010s development[edit]

Developments outside Cardiff Castle have linked the castle grounds and Bute Park directly to the city centre via a walkway with High Street, aiming to tie the leisure facilities with the business facilities. There are already signs that footfall is improving, according to Cardiff Council.[14]

Works temporarily ceased between 14 November 2010 and January 2011 for the Christmas period,[1] and are expected to be completed by July 2011.[15]

The development is part of the £30m Sustainable Travel City project jointly funded by Cardiff Council and the Welsh Assembly Government[16]

Construction works[edit]

The £4 million[17] project to change the street-scape of the city centre commenced in February 2010. Cardiff Council hope to provide an enhanced retail and pedestrian experience for residents, businesses and visitors to the city centre, to reduce traffic, air pollution and noise levels.[18]

Work to pedestrianise St Mary Street and High Street in the city centre began in June/July 2010. Roadworks which took place outside Castle Street have caused traffic problems for motorists and commuters using the busy vein through the city centre.[18] These roadworks ended on 31 October[19] The Council will now concentrate work between Quay Street and Wood Street in order to turn St Mary Street into an area of pedestrian priority.[20]

Guildhall Place will become one-way, with a taxi rank stationed on the north side. The lower end of Guildhall Place will be kept two-way to allow access to private car parks.[18]


The roadworks stretching from Boulevard de Nantes to Castle Street have caused severe congestion on one of the main routes of travel through the city centre between east and west Cardiff.[15]

Business owners in the area's arcades are seeking compensation from Cardiff Council due to the disruption of the roadworks. The council has offered each business a £300 reduction on rates as the work is short term.[1]


External links[edit]