The Pierhead Building is one of Cardiff's most familiar landmarks, built in 1897 as the headquarters for the Bute Dock Company. The Bute Dock Company was renamed the Cardiff Railway Company in 1897. A coat of arms on the building's façade bears the company's motto Wrth ddŵr a thân ('by water and fire'), encapsulating the elements creating the steam power which transformed Wales. The building became the administrative office for the Port of Cardiff in 1947.

The 1897 clock mechanism, by William Potts & Sons of Leeds, was removed and replaced with an electronic motor, and auctioned off by British Rail and sold to an American collector in 1973. It was returned to Cardiff in 2005 and in 2011 was restored and installed as a piece of contemporary art created by the artist Marianne Forrest in Cardiff city centre.

Incorporating a French-Gothic Renaissance theme, the Pierhead boasts details such as hexagonal chimneys, carved friezes, gargoyles, and a highly ornamental and distinctive clock tower. Its exterior is finished in glazed terracotta blocks supplied at the end of the 19th century by J. C. Edwards & Co. of Acrefair, near Ruabon in Wrexham County Borough; they were once described as one of the most successful producers of terracotta in the world. These features, along with the Pierhead's role in the development of the docks, Cardiff and industrial Wales, earned it the status of a Grade I listed building.

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Founded: 1897
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in United Kingdom

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