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Cardiff's Old Town Hall

Cardiff Town Hall 1830s

This is a fascinating old painting of Cardiff's Town Hall in the 1830s (ish!). The painter would have stood with his (or her?) back to the castle gate looking south down High Street and the town hall stood between what is now the Cooperative bank and the Royal British Legion shop. I think that there is still a bulge in the road which accomodated the hall.

If you look carefully, you can just see, on the left, behind the two men, a pale grey building with a sloping Georgian neo-classical facade. This building is still standing and is now occupied by Cranes Music Shop. Apart from St John's church tower and parts of the castle, this is now the oldest building in the centre of Cardiff.

The town hall that we see in the picture was built in 1741 and replaced an earlier medieval building that was first erected in 1338. Both buildings followed the same pattern; a guildhall above with a market and goal below. This town hall was demolished in 1861 and replaced buy a much grander building on the site of what is now the Hodge Building on St Mary Street (hence Guildhall Place at the side!). That town hall was in turn replaced by the current City Hall which opened in 1904.

Thanks to Jim Judd and the excellent "Cardiff Then and Now" facebook page and the BBC "Your Paintings" website for the picture.