The Cardiff Coal Exchange was built at Mount Stuart Square. A central garden space in a residential area. As the city grew in prosperity the area was taken over by commerce. The coal merchants would be here outside their offices with coal slates and chalk bartering on the prices of coal.
Cardiff became the central hub for trading coal and had the biggest coal port in the world. This prompted the birth of the Cardiff Coal Exchange, which was built over four years and trading for the local coal mines started here in 1888. Trading here was ruthless. Ship and mine owners made deals all day long around midday the floor would be heaving with up to 200 men bartering over prices and services. It was estimated that up to 10,000 people passed through here daily.
In 1904 the first ever £1,000,000 cheque was signed here and for some time the price of the worlds coal was decided on the busy floor.
The main hall was reconstructed in 1911 and adorned with wood panelling and an oak balcony which surrounded the hall.
After the WWii the demand for coal dwindled and eventually the Coal Exchange closed in 1958.
There was a proposal in 1979 that the building became the home of the Welsh Assembly but it was eventually rejected. The only real use it saw was in the entertainment industry as a filming location. Eventually in 2001 after major renovations the building saw life as a major concert venue and hosted a number of shows from top musicians. Sadly in 2013 it was closed down due to safety regulations. Well only three years later and the main hall floor certainly flexed and didn't feel safe to walk on let alone have 1000 odd people jumping up and down to their favourite songs.
Well it seems we have a rare occurrence of a building being saved. A month after my visit planning permission was granted for a hotel which opened in May 2017. The project even retained a number of key features including the grand trading floor.
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