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Cardiff Exchange Building

A Grade II* Listed Building in Butetown, Cardiff

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Latitude: 51.4654 / 51°27'55"N

Longitude: -3.1682 / 3°10'5"W

OS Eastings: 318943

OS Northings: 174698

OS Grid: ST189746

Mapcode National: GBR KLS.KM

Mapcode Global: VH6FF.1FFG

Plus Code: 9C3RFR8J+5P

Entry Name: Cardiff Exchange Building

Listing Date: 19 May 1975

Last Amended: 21 August 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 14015

Building Class: Commercial

Location: Prominently sited occupying the whole of the central area of the square.

County: Cardiff

Community: Butetown

Community: Butetown

Built-Up Area: Cardiff

Traditional County: Glamorgan

Tagged with: Building

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Built 1884-86 to design of Seward & Thomas, architects, on site of central gardens of Mount Stuart Square. Interior alterations to Exchange Hall by same architects 1911-12. Interior altered in 1970's including insertion of false ceiling in Exchange Hall. Underground car park added in late 1970's, disfiguring main entrance court.


Pale cream limestone (Corsham stone) on snecked grey stone plinth. Yellow brick on W elevation. Slate roofs, and chimneys mainly in yellow brick.

Style derived from French Renaissance models. Main entrance front faces S. Three storeys and basement plus attic storeys in central pedimented 'frontispiece', with hipped pavilion roof. Attic pediment over round window. Parapet has windows with segmental pediments. Lower attic storey with central semi-circular architrave enclosing window group, flanked by windows with moulded architraves. Lower pediment on paired engaged fluted Corinthian columns. Floral relief in triangular pediment surmounted by Royal Arms. Second floor windows have horned architraves with swags, first floor windows generally round-headed, ground floor windows paired beneath broken scroll pediments.

Two asymmetrical projecting wings (pavilion-type roofs) enclose forecourt with added underground carpark in concrete with cast concrete balusters. Wing elevations to forecourt treated in similar fashion to main front, but W wing has extra bays. Polygonal S returns of wings with splayed bay windows on all floors, flanked by external chimneys with stone panelling and pilasters.

Curvilinear pavilion-type roofs to E range. End and centre bays of elevation articulated by pilasters. Centre bay shallow 'frontispiece' with extra attic storeys, close in style to main front. End bays with pedimented attic windows. Grey stone basement with segmental-headed windows. At NE corner, steps up to projecting porch to Barclays Bank, resident here since building opened.

To N, central advanced block of four storeys, five bays, with flanking asymmetrical three storey blocks having pedimented attic windows. To W, less ambitious treatment in yellow brick with bathstone dressings, three storeys, but bays behind wing of entrance front two storeys with dormers in attic.


Retains entrance hall with Jacobethan style moulded plaster ceiling, panelled walls, and woodblock and inlay floor. Two fireplaces to R with C17 style wooden surrounds. At rear against wood and glass partition wall, two lions on high plinths supporting clock faces showing times of Cardiff high tides. Further rooms to L and R. Doors in rear partition wall lead to central Coal and Shipping Hall with exchange floor surrounded by galleried tiers of offices, in Jacobethan style dark wood. Inserted coved ceiling has reduced height to 2 storeys, hiding centrally glazed roof, with arched ribs and top tier of offices which remain as corridor. Fascia of top gallery remains visible with cornice, and swags and garlands, supported by Corinthian columns with gilded capitals and in lower zones carved decoration, dolphins alternating with trophies of pick,a shovel and miner's lamp. Columns paired at central bays of short sides of hall, framing to E barometer, and to W segmental pedimented aedicule with clock flanked by dragons, and inscription 'Tempus Fugit'. Gallery Fascia at this level with panelling and aprons. Gallery supported on brackets with alternating corbels of dragon and lion heads. Decorated plaster panels on beneath overhanging balconies . Sunk central floor, surrounded by wooden partitions to offices. Deeper area to rear (N) with fireplace, wood and glass partitioning, and lit by stained glass windows including stylised ships and inscription 'Ye Olde Order Changeth'.

Reasons for Listing

Graded II* as one of most historically important commercial buildings in Wales, illustrating region's immense commercial power in late C19 and early C20.
Group value.

External Links

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