It sounds like a horse entered into the Architectural Handicap at Chepstow races. There are certainly many runners and riders that should be restored to their formative days of being stallions and mares of great repute, only to have been left in the knackers yard by indifferent owners.
Butetown is a significant area of Cardiff locally known as ‘down the docks’; the part that also enclosed the famous Tiger Bay. In the last post I outlined the precarious existence of the area’s true jewel in the crown, the Coal Exchange. But what is left of this great industrial powerhouse of the early 20th century deserves to be seen as a crown, with many trinkets of architectural beauty crying out for Welsh visionaries (with more than a little cash in the back pocket).
As a nation, Wales is once again at a cross-roads challenged to define what it is. ‘Pride’ is a word that we locals like to frequently purloin when describing what it is to be Welsh. We have an opportunity in Butetown to put our rhetoric into practice; but on the surface it looks like we have been talking not walking for many years!
In developer-speak we have Merchant Place, a prime development opportunity… Aka: bring on a high enough wind to blow down the rotting carcusses that blight the sensibilities of the financial Masters of the Universe. In reality we are talking about the Cory Buildings and Old Post Office…
On nearby West Bute Street a classic old bank has stood idle for 20 years…
And how more welcoming can a sight be to a weary traveller, than the eponymous Cardiff Bay Station (see previous blog post comparing this landmark to the understated presence of St Pancras Station in London)!
Meanwhile, nearby Cadogan House seems trapped in a bygone era when air conditioning was in its more experimental phase!
Until we speak again, spare a thought for all of those poor buildings under threat of being ‘listed’… a blessing or a curse… discuss.