Glamorgan County Hall

Glamorgan County Hall c1914

Glamorgan County Hall c.1914

The Glamorgan County Hall in Cathays Park replaced the Council's offices in Westgate Street and St Mary Street. These lacked a council chamber and were not large enough to accommodate all the new functions required of the Council by the early twentieth century. A competition to design the building in Edward VII Avenue was launched in 1908 and the successful design was by Messrs E. Vincent Harris & Moodie of London.[1] Construction work started in 1909 and the new building opened in September 1912.[2] No foundation stone has been found for this period.

On the portico is the text: EDWARD VII GLAMORGAN COUNTY COUNCIL AD MCMX GEORGE V

Starting in 1931 a very large extension was built on land behind the University of Wales Registry, facing North Road. The extension is much larger than the original building, and was planned as four sections around a central court, though only three existed when the official opening took place on September 22nd 1932.[3] Both the original County Hall and the 1932 extension were built by Messrs E Turner & Sons. The foundation stone for the 1932 extension and the internal wall plaque recording its opening are shown below:

 

The foundation stone for the 1932 extension

 

Plaque recording the opening of the 1932 extension

The missing east wing was built 20 years later. It was officially opened on March 24th 1952 by the Chairman of the County Council, The Rev. W. Degwel Thomas, J.P, as was recorded on the wall plaque shown below.[4][5]

 

Plaque commemmorating the opening of the east wing in 1952

The building continued to provide accommdation for the Glamorgan County Council until 1974. Following local government reorganisation in that year it housed the Mid Glamorgan County Council until 1996. In 1997 it was acquired by Cardiff University, and as the University's Glamorgan Building it is now home to the Schools of Social Sciences and Geography and Planning. The former Council Chamber and Committee Rooms still exist. The Glamorgan Record Office was also based here from 1939 until the end of 2009, when - as Glamorgan Archives - it moved to purpose built accommodation in Leckwith, Cardiff.

To the rear of the Glamorgan Building, on one of the now disused gateposts facing North Road is a coat of arms and a plaque explaining its history:

 

The plaque on the pillar, explaining presence of the coat of arms

"This pillar with the coat of arms
of the Aberpergwm family, the
descendants of Iestyn ap Gwrgan,
the last native chief in Glamorgan,
whose motto has been adopted by
the County Council, was removed
from the entrance to the old
drive of Aberpergwm House,
Glynneath and presented to the
Glamorgan County Council by
Godfrey Herbert Joseph Williams,
Esquire of Aberpergwm, Sept. 1951."

The photograph below shows the gatepost with the coat of arms and the plaque.

 

Pillar with coat of arms of the Aberpergwm Williams family

Sources of Information

  1. John Newman, Glamorgan (The Buildings of Wales Series), Yale University Press, 2004.
  2. Booklet to commemorate the new extension of Glamorgan County Hall, Cardiff. Glamorgan Archives reference GD/C/82/15
  3. Wall plaque at entrance to extension
  4. Glamorgan County Council. Offices Joint Sub-Committee. Minutes of meetings March 1909 to September 1912. Glamorgan Archives reference GC/OJ 1.
  5. Wall plaque at entrance to east wing

Other sources: