City Hall is a civic building in Cathays Park, Cardiff, Wales, UK. It serves as Cardiff's centre of local government. It was built as part of the Cathays Park civic centre development and opened in October 1906. Built of Portland stone, it is an important early example of the Edwardian Baroque style.
The complex was commissioned to replace Cardiff's fourth town hall on the western side of St Mary's Street which had been completed in 1853. Following a design competition, the firm of Lanchester, Stewart and Rickards was selected to design Cardiff's fifth town hall and adjacent law courts in the Edwardian Baroque style. The contractor, E. Turner and Sons, used the world's first all-electrically operated building site, including eight 5 ton cranes to lift the stone blocks.
The distinctive clock tower is 59 m in height and has a 3.7 m-diameter gilded dial on each of its four faces. The clock mechanism includes an hour bell and four quarter bells which are each inscribed with mottoes in English or Welsh.
In front of the entrance portico is a rectangular pool with fountains. The fountains were created to mark the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in July 1969.
On the southern side of the building are two memorials: the memorial on the right is dedicated to victims of the Second World War while the one on the left is dedicated to the Polish soldiers, airmen and sailors who gave their lives during that war.
The first floor landing of City Hall is decorated with statues in Pentelicon marble of famous figures from Welsh history. These were funded by a gift from David Alfred Thomas, 1st Viscount Rhondda; the personages to be commemorated were decided by a competition in the Western Mail. The Marble Hall with completed statues was unveiled by David Lloyd George, then Secretary of State for War, on 27 October 1916.
This room has hosted royalty, international statesmen and diplomats, and can seat 500 diners simultaneously. It is used for miscellaneous ceremonies, conferences and events during the year. It is decorated with mouldings picked out in gold leaf, of mermaids and other sea creatures. Three large bronze chandeliers are contemporary to the original architects' design.
This is located above the main entrance portico and directly below the main dome of the building. Hanging from the dome is a bronze chandelier designed by Edwin Alfred Rickards. The arrangement is unusual in that the seating is set in a circular pattern whereas normally British council chambers have semicircular seating. The chamber was designed to host Cardiff's Council meetings (which have subsequently been relocated to Atlantic Wharf). The dome of City Hall is supported by four massive pillars of Italian marble with bronze Ionic capitals. The chamber is paneled throughout in oak. The plaster work is by G.P. Bankart and the stained glass window depicts a personification of the City of Cardiff, by Alfred Garth Jones dated 1905.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.