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Visiting Aberdare Hall, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales: elegant, historic building by W D Caroe, dating from 1893

Updated on January 23, 2016
Flag of Wales
Flag of Wales | Source
Aberdare Hall, Cardiff University.
Aberdare Hall, Cardiff University. | Source
Map location of Cardiff, Wales
Map location of Cardiff, Wales | Source

Fine architecture and a distinguished past

Built in 1893 and formally opened in 1895, this fine building is located in Cardiff (Welsh: Caerdydd ), Glamorgan (Welsh: Morgannwg ), Wales, and forms part of Cardiff University (Welsh: Prifysgol Caerdydd ).

Some history and features

As an institution, Aberdare Hall (Welsh: Neuadd Aberdar ) was founded in 1885, and was previously housed in property in Richmond Road, Cardiff. Its formal founder was the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire (as what is now Cardiff University was known), itself founded in 1883. Aberdare Hall was, and still is, a hall of residence exclusively for the needs of women students.

The inception of the Hall was to a considerable extent on account of the intervention both of Lady Aberdare (1827-1897)(1) and of the College Principal John Viriamu Jones (1856-1901). Lady Aberdare was closely involved in the development of education, particularly women's education, in Wales. She was a member of the Council of the University College, and served also on the Court of Governors.

Architect Caroe (2) used a combination of terra cotta and brick for his building design.

The exterior of the building may be viewed from Corbett Road, which is situated a few minutes' walk from the Main Building of Cardiff University. The Hall is also noted for its extensive gardens, for its library and for its dining facilities and traditions.

Canadians will note that an early Principal (from 1892) of Aberdare Hall was Ethel Hurlbatt (1866-1934), who, after serving later as Principal of Bedford College, London, went on to be Principal of Royal Victoria College, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec from 1907-1929 (3).


(1) Both Lady Aberdare and her husband, the 1st Lord Aberdare, were much involved in promoting educational issues. Lord Aberdare was elected Chancellor of the University of Wales in 1895; his statue is located in Alexandra Gardens, facing the Main Building of Cardiff University.

(2) Architect Caroe proved to be very versatile in his building designs for what is now Cardiff University. While, in keeping with many buildings in Cathays Park, Cardiff, the Main Building of the University is noted for its white stone facing, yet the reddish hue of Aberdare Hall's building materials, which can cause the edifice to glow when in direct sunlight, stands in considerable contrast to some of Architect Caroe's other, local work.

(3) Ethel Hurlbatt was subsequently conferred with an Hon. LLD by McGill University in 1930.

Also worth seeing

In Cardiff itself, in addition to structures connected with Cardiff University mentioned above, the Glamorgan Building is now used by the University; other significant buildings and visitor attractions include: the Welsh National War Memorial; the Crown Court; Cardiff City Hall; the National Museum of Wales; Cardiff Castle; Llandaff Cathedral; the statue of Aneurin Bevan Queen Street, and many others.


How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport , from where car rental is available. London Heathrow is approximately 222 kilometres from Cardiff . There are fast railroad links between London and Cardiff. Some facilities mentioned may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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