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Cardiff Royal Infirmary (including forecourt wall and gatepiers)

A Grade II Listed Building in Adamsdown, Cardiff

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Latitude: 51.4851 / 51°29'6"N

Longitude: -3.1625 / 3°9'45"W

OS Eastings: 319375

OS Northings: 176884

OS Grid: ST193768

Mapcode National: GBR KMK.TK

Mapcode Global: VH6F7.4XGW

Entry Name: Cardiff Royal Infirmary (including forecourt wall and gatepiers)

Listing Date: 31 July 1997

Last Amended: 31 July 1997

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 18639

Building Class: Health and Welfare

Location: On large site bounded by Glossop Road, Newport Road, Longcross Street, and Orbit Street, with main entrance facing Glossop Road.

County: Cardiff

Community: Adamsdown

Community: Adamsdown

Built-Up Area: Cardiff

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Built from 1882 to replace hospital of 1830's which was inadequate for growing population of Cardiff. Originally the 'Glamorgan and Monmouthshire Infirmary', then the 'Cardiff Infirmary' (1895-1911), then the 'King Edward VII Hospital' (1911-1923), becoming the 'Cardiff Royal Infirmary' after attaining a Royal Charter in 1923.
In 1880 Marquess of Bute made land available and an endowment of £1000. Architectural competition won by Edwin Seward of James, Seward and Thomas of Cardiff. Work began in 1882, with foundation ceremony taking place on 31 January 1883. Administrative block (facing Glossop Road) was built linked by rear corridor to 2 ward blocks at right angles. Additions to Admin block, and new wards (also by Seward) 1893-95. Outpatients Department, dated 1907, by Seward. Bruce Vaughan wing 1909. Additional ward blocks, 1916 and 1918, completed as War Memorial by E M Bruce Vaughan, architect, who added the Chapel in 1921, the gift of Mrs John Nixon. Later additions and alterations to keep hospital suitable for patients' needs.


Hospital complex in free Gothic style. Earlier parts of building in snecked stone (pink,buff and white) with bands of pink Radyr stone, and bathstone, later parts in rubble (similar colours) and buff brick; mainly slate roofs. Main (administration) block faces Glossop Road. Set back from centre of facade, tower with 2 enriched upper stages, lower has cusped Gothic windows and turrets, polygonal upper stage with narrow windows and gargoyles, steep slate roof with pinnacles. Seven bay front has enriched stonework with heraldic shields, panelling,decorative heads to gables, mainly mullion and transom windows; central advanced 3-storey gabled bay, dragon in sunburst to apex, with 4-cusped light Gothic top floor window, on first floor, pair of Gothic windows with mullions and transoms windows, and heraldic shields in heads, on ground floor, steps up to Gothic doorway, buttressed, restored lanterns to each side. Flanking this, two-and-a-half storeyed bays with hipped and gabled timber dormers. To ends, projecting blocks with gables and (facing inwards) canted bays. To rear, half-timbered upper walls, elaborate red-and-yellow brick chimneys. In front of main entrance, low forecourt wall with bands of rubble, and Radyr stone copings, white stone gatepiers support cast iron segmental arch with lettering "Cardiff Royal Infirmary", and Royal Arms.

At corner with Longcross Street (S), outpatients' department four storeys, castellated parapet to Glossop Road has tabernacle with statue, Gothic windows grouped 2-1-2; simpler elevation to Longcross Street has plain parapet, square-headed windows, entrance under gable has 2 Gothic archways on octagonal shafts, flanked by buttresses. Beyond this in Longcross Street, 2 three-storey ward blocks with traceried upper floor windows in unaltered canted S ends bearing dates '1916' and '1918', but sides and roofs have inappropriate extensions. Also in Longcross Street, beyond large modern chimney, 2-storey Neo-Georgian block in red brick.

At NW corner of Glossop Road with Newport Road, Chapel; Decorated style, W end has 4 light window over 'porch' with 3-light window; S elevation has 2-light windows above passage aisle with porch at its W end; N elevation has 2-storey transeptal organ loft, vestry with polygonal stair tower in angle; polygonal E end. Facing Newport Road, return of administration block has half-timbered upper storey with paired gables, elaborate red-and-yellow brick chimneys.

To L (east), set back, 'King Edward VII War Memorial' Block bearing dates 1914 and 1918. Five storeys, 3 bays, outer (advanced) bays have gables with heraldic shields, and 3-light Tudor top-floor windows, below these, canted bay windows with panelled parapets, at sill level of third floor, balcony with inscription bridges recessed central bay of 2 windows which has mouchette parapet between the end gables. Further to E, former children's ward of 3 storeys; central stepped gable with statue in niche, end bays advance as turrets with crenellated parapets, pyramidal slate roofs, 3-light mullion and transom windows. To rear, 5-storey research block. Adjacent, 2-storey block in red brick with hipped slate roof. Further to E, Bruce Vaughan block in a more elaborate Late Gothic style; 2 storeys, to centre, broad canted bay window with cusped lights to upper floor, and between floors, relief decoration of putti holding inscriptions, above window, stepped gable with tabernacle enclosing sculpture of Good Samaritan. Window flanked by empty tabernacles, deeper Gothic-arched links to turrets with crenellated parapets, pyramidal slate roofs.


Interior largely modernised, except for handsome chapel which has 5-bay nave with low S passage aisle, shafted chancel arch with polygonal apse to chancel. Elaborate roof (with painted decoration over chancel). High quality furnishings include octagonal pulpit, choir stalls with angels. Stained glass in W window of Christ on Sea of Galilee by Safton (1956). In body of hospital, handsome Art Nouveau staircase to E of spinal corridor has tiled panels depicting children's stories and nursery rhymes (relocated from childrens' ward) by Maws, painted by W B Simpson of London, 3 further panels (eg Dick Whittington) are in the orthopaedics department waiting room. Other internal features include series of memorial plaques (chiefly in spinal corridor) including 2 bronze portrait reliefs by Goscombe John (circa 1914, and 1927), and tablets recording donors, further donor tablet at top of stairs of Bruce Vaughan Wing. At upper level, near old operating theatre, polychrome tablet with figure of St George, in memory of W H Seager, killed 1916.

Reasons for Listing

The best example in Wales of major infirmary hospital. Listed for the special architectural interest of its late C19/early C20 architecture which illustrates the economic power of Cardiff at this period.

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