City Hall, Cardiff

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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 style

Edwardian Baroque

Listed Building – Grade I
Official name Cardiff City Hall
Designated 25 January 1966
Reference no. 13744[1]
Town or city Cardiff
Country Wales, United Kingdom
Completed 1906
Cost £129,708[2]
Client Corporation of Cardiff
Design and construction
Architect Henry Vaughan Lanchester
James Stewart
Edwin Alfred Rickards
City Hall, main entrance portico with clock tower in background

City Hall is a civic building in Cathays Park, Cardiff, Wales, serving as Cardiff's centre of local government since it opened in October 1906. Built of Portland stone, it is an important early example of the Edwardian Baroque style.


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.

Exterior architecture[edit]

Clock tower[edit]

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.[3]

Fountains and pool[edit]

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.[3]


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.[4] The one on the right is dedicated to victims of the war.

Interior rooms, functions and art collections[edit]

Marble Hall[edit]

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.[5]

Assembly Room[edit]

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.[3]

Council Chamber[edit]

Council Chamber

This is located above the main entrance portico and directly below the main dome of the building. 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. The chamber is panelled throughout in oak.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  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. ^ a b c d Cardiff Council City Hall Cardiff: Visitor Information Guide Second edition, 2006
  4. ^
  5. ^ Chappell, Edgar L. (1946). Cardiff's Civic Centre: A historical guide. Priory Press. , pp. 21–6

Further reading[edit]

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, 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 Press 
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 links[edit]

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