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MOUNT STUART SQUARE, BUTETOWN, CARDIFF

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 400316

Map Reference ST17SE

Grid Reference ST1894374702

Unitary (Local) Authority Cardiff

Old County Glamorgan

Community Butetown

Type of Site SQUARE

Broad Class CIVIL

Period 19th Century, Post Medieval

Site Description Named after the heir to the Bute estate, Mount Stuart Square was likely at the centre of the Bute estate’s plans for southern Butetown. Initially built between 1855 and 1859 and likely designed by Alexander Roos, the square occupies the former site of a glassworks operated by the Guests of Dowlais. It initially consisted of a mixture of housing to suit all social groups: mostly of two to three storeys with a triple window on the first floor surmounted by a shell niche, of which a few examples still survive, including Nprn 19375. In the centre of was a public green space, characteristic of Bute town-panning and their later presentation of parks and gardens to the public. Internally, the houses had a dining room on the ground floor, sitting room on the first floor, and bedrooms on the top floor. There was a closet and wash-house in a rear extension. By the 1880s the change from a residential to commercial area was gathering pace, with those who could afford to moving to more fashionable suburban developments. The process was greatly accelerated in 1884–1885 by the construction of the Coal Exchange (Nprn 31766) which occupies the former site of the central gardens. The change in purpose of the square also effected a great change in character with large and opulent buildings in a range of late-Victorian and Edwardian styles largely replacing the former housing. However, by the 1920s and 1930s the area, like the rest of Cardiff Bay, entered into a steep economic decline. The result has been a deterioration of many of the buildings in the area into the present century, despite the declaration of Mount Stuart Square a Conservation and Commercial Improvement Area in 1981.

(Sources: Davies, Cardiff and the Marquess of Bute (Cardiff: 1981), p. 196; Victorian Society Tour Notes, NMR MS VS01/16)
A.N. Coward, RCAHMW 24.05.2018

Archive Records