The Society hopes Cardiff Council will work with the owner to develop plans for reusing the Cardiff’s Grade II*-listed old Bute Road Station which was instrumental in the development of modern Cardiff.
Old Bute Road Railway Station, Cardiff (Grade II*, 1842, Brunel?)
Cardiff’s Grade II*-listed old Bute Road Station is one of national architectural charity the Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered buildings in England and Wales. The Society hopes Cardiff Council will work with the owner to develop plans for reusing the building - which was instrumental in the development of modern Cardiff. For the first time there are no buildings in London and the South East on the list - where the Society had comparatively few nominations. Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society Vice President, has urged people living near the buildings on the list to ‘seize the opportunity’ and campaign to save them.
Arriving at Cardiff Bay by train today you would never guess that this dilapidated station was the home of the first steam-powered passenger train service in Wales and vital to the development of Cardiff into the important international port it became in the 19th century. Thought to be designed by Brunel, it was built as the headquarters of the Taff Vale Railway in 1842/3, and is Grade II*-listed as an exceptionally early surviving example of purpose built railway architecture in Wales. The station’s dereliction is all the more shocking given its location just a stone’s throw from the centre of Welsh political power at the Welsh Assembly and the regeneration of Tiger Bay. Surprisingly, a modern shelter was built at the station, which still serves commuters, right next to the old station - one of the few remaining historic buildings in the area. Sadly it has been left to rot since a museum it housed closed. Surely a new use can be found for this important building? With passengers still using the station a food or retail use may well be feasible.
The national exposure from inclusion in the Society's Top Ten often leads to new interest in the buildings which can help save them. For example, since the Cardiff Coal Exchange featured in the 2014 Top Ten list Signature Living has started redeveloping the site as a hotel.
Full details of all the buildings in the 2016 Top Ten, and updates on positive developments for last year’s buildings, can be found here.
Victorian Society Director, Christopher Costelloe, said: ‘This year, for the first time, the Top Ten has no entries from London or the South East. We simply got far more nominations from other regions. This perhaps reflects the vastly different financial climate for development. But whatever the reason I hope Old Bute Street Station’s inclusion in the Top Ten will spur Cardiff Council and the owners to urgently find a way to bring this building back into use and provide a fitting gateway to the area. Retaining historic buildings like those in the Top Ten is vital to maintaining local identity and creating places in which people want to invest, live and work.’
Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society Vice President, said: ‘The nationally important buildings on the Victorian Society’s Top Ten list are in dire need of help. Many of them are in prominent locations in their towns and cities. Following my experience with the Hackney Empire I know how difficult finding funding can be – especially outside London. However, restoring important historic buildings is worth investing in as it can be a catalyst for wider regeneration. I hope people living near these buildings will seize this opportunity and campaign to save them. Ultimately, it is the support of local people which will ensure that they are not lost forever.’