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Visiting the Crown Court, Cardiff, Wales: imposing Portland stone building dating from 1904

Updated on February 6, 2012
Crown Court, Cathays Park, Cardiff, Wales
Crown Court, Cathays Park, Cardiff, Wales | Source
Map location of Cardiff, Wales
Map location of Cardiff, Wales | Source

Grace and sedateness in Cathays Park

This fine building in Cardiff (Welsh: Caerdydd ), Glamorgan (Welsh: Morgannwg ), Wales (Welsh: Cymru ), was the responsibility of Turner's architectural partnership.

Some history and features

The structure dates from 1904, and this belongs to the Edwardian era, when architecture was often characterized by a strong element of opulence and solidity. It is executed in Portland stone. This material gives the structure an imposing, white appearance.

This building is used by the courts system of England and Wales (1). The building is also used for conferences and symposia.

Features include prominent, twin towers and a pillared frontage. The overall style is described a French Renaissance. Altogether one receives a sense of civic optimism, yet untrammelled by the catastrophic upheavals of World War One, which, in spirit and practically, seemed to affect the style (and budgeting) of much post-World War One architecture.

The stonework of the Crown Court is in keeping with various other stone buildings in Cathays Park, including the City Hall, the National Museum of Wales, the Welsh National War Memorial, University of Cardiff, and others.

Portland stone, mined at least since Roman times, is building material of major significance in the United Kingdom, and which has been used in the execution of many, prominent public buildings and structures. These include, in London: the Cenotaph, the East face of Buckingham Palace; the Victoria Memorial; St. Paul's Cathedral; the National Gallery; the Bank of England; the Mansion House; Somerset House; Senate House. Outside London, the Council House, Nottingham provides another instance of the use of Portland stone in a civic building. Cardiff's civic centre at Cathays Park, of which the Crown Court is a prominent building, is thus a major example of a set of civic buildings in which Portland stone has played a significant rĂ´le.


(1) Scotland and Northern Ireland have their separate courts systems.

Also worth seeing

In Cardiff itself, noted structures beyond the Cathays Park vicinity include Cardiff Castle; the Aneurin Bevan statue in Queen Street; St John's church; Llandaff Cathedral, and many others.


How to get there: Continental 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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