The Old Library

Known as The Old Library this building in The Hayes Cardiff is an excellent example of Victorian Architecture built between 1880 and 1882 to the design of the Architects James,Seward & Thomas. It was opened by the Mayor on the 31st May 1882. The building was funded by a 1penny rate levyed by the Council. An extension to the building was soon considered necessary which was then built between 1893 and 1896 by E Turner & Son the Contractors and designed by the same Architects as the original building.

The building was the culmination of the efforts to provide a centre for the people of Cardiff providing facilities for a free library, museum and schools for science and art.

The heating system installed for the original library building has long since been removed, but a thoughtful decision to retain the original heaters was from an engineering viewpoint a historically significant one. These vertical tubed heaters are now a very rare item, manufactured by William Graham of  London.  The ground floor area now used by the Tourist Information Centre, rear and tiled entrances and open staircase are all still heated by these vertical style heaters.

The nameplate attached to each heater states
John Williams & Sons Cardiff

who we can assume were the installers of the original heating system.

In the staircase are the rarest of the William Graham pattern heaters namely their quadrant shaped vertical heater. This pattern of heater has only ever been found in The National Trust property of Powis Castle.
Click on  the link  Powis  to view the quadrant heaters discovered there.

A corridor lined with coloured and ornamental wall tiles was built as the entrance to the Museum. This corridor was suitably called the tiled corridor and has a distinctive series of wall tiles depicting the four seasons, and night and morning. The floor tile appearance is deceptive as although they look like a mosaic, they are simply ordinary floor tiles impressed with coloured clay to give the appearance of being a mosaic.


The extension  was originally provided with two wall mounted highly ornamental and colourful tiled drinking water fountains located at ground and first floor level.

When the Art Gallery was moved into the extension both fountains were moved into the corridor area of the original building.

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