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Site Details

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

NPRN 18179

Map Reference ST17NE

Grid Reference ST1853175995

Unitary (Local) Authority Cardiff

Old County Glamorgan

Community Castle (Cardiff)



Period 20th Century, Post Medieval

Site Description 1. Late 19th century 2 storey corner building.

2. NE side of 2 bays, SE side of 5 bays; splayed corner bay. Parapet. Red brick with yellow brick detail. 2 windows with curved heads to each bay on first floor. Pub front with Venetian windows and green and gold tiling on ground floor. Bay window on 1st floor at west end. Grade II listed on account of the interior, which includes decoratively tiled walls and bar, and engraved glass doors and screens.
(Source: Cadw listing description)
J Hill 08.03.2004

3. The site of the Golden Cross was formerly occupied by the Shield and Newcastle Tavern which was constructed in 1849. This public house became the Castle Inn and then the Golden Cross in 1863, but the current structure likely dates from 1903-4. In 1978, the Golden Cross was threatened with demolition but was rescued by a campaign spearheaded by the South Wales Echo, the Cardiff branch of CAMERA and Brains Brewery. However, structural issues required an expensive and extensive restoration and renovation of the site, including underpinning the entire foundations of the building, which was undertaken from the late 1970s until 1986 and won the Prince of Wales Award, the first public house to do so.

The large two-storey corner public house consists of six south-east-facing bays on Customhouse street, a splayed corner bay at the eastern corner and a further two north-east-facing bays on Bute Street. The bays are delineated by pilasters. The ground-floor bays contain large Venetian windows surrounded by green and gold tiling, including ornate tiled pilasters, aprons and frieze, and entrances in the second and fourth bays of the south-east elevation and the second bay of the shorter elevation. There was formerly an additional entrance in the splayed bay which is currently blocked. The tiled frieze which runs around the façade displays the words in raised lettering: ‘S A BRAIN & Co Ltd / DIRECT / IMPORTER OF / AND DEALER / IN WINES / AND SPIRITS / GOLDEN+CROSS / IMPORTER / & BONDER’. Diamond-shaped blue stained-glass panels in the central windows of each bay on the ground floor read ‘BRAINS’ while further blue stained-glass panels above the entrances and former entrances display the name ‘GOLDEN CROSS’ with the exception of the door in the second bay of the south-east elevation which reads ‘SALOON & BAR’. The second-storey is of red and yellow brick with yellow brick pilasters and accents. Each bay contains two curved-headed windows above which are a single cornice and aprons. Formerly, the first bay of the south-east elevation had a first-story cast-iron bay window which was removed during the major renovation in the 1980s for structural reasons. The western façade is simpler, with a green and gold tiled freize above the ground floor displaying the words ‘GOLDEN+CROSS / S A Brain & Co Ltd’ and a large first-storey green panel with gold lettering naming the pub as ‘THE GOLDEN CROSS BRAINS BEERS’ above which is a large golden cross.

The interior of the public house is particularly notable for its richly tiled green and gold saloon bar, polychrome tiled walls, floral tiled frieze in relief and murals of Cardiff Castle and Cardiff Town hall by the firm Craven, Dunhill and Co, Salop.

[Sources: Brian Glover, Cardiff Pubs and Breweries (Stroud: Tempest, 2005), pp. 114–6; Cadw Listed Buildings Description]
A.N. Coward, RCAHMW, 21.11.2018

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