The origins of Bethel date back to 1840 when members of Bethany English Baptist Church, St Mary Street, established a Sunday School in West Bute Street. A chapel was subsequently erected in James Street and, in 1855 a separate church was formed when fourteen members transferred from Bethany.
Larger premises were soon needed. The James Street premises were sold and the Marquess of Bute granted a 99 year lease of land at the south west corner of Mount Stuart Square where a new chapel and schoolroom were built. When the lease expired in 1955, Bethel moved to a former Welsh Congregational Church in nearby Pomeroy Street, eventually closing in 2000 because of falling numbers of mostly elderly members.
Following the church’s re-location, the building in Mount Stuart Square was initially used as a Bingo Hall, before the Casablanca night club was established in the late 1960s. The club appears to have still been active in 1988, but had closed by 1991. Following demolition, the site is currently used as a private car park.
David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer
- Mary Traynor Collection [D1093/2/48]
- Bethel Baptist Church, Butetown, Cardiff Records, minutes, 1855-65 [D472/1/1]
- Bethel Baptist Church, Butetown, Cardiff Records, a history of the church by Viv Purchase, Secretary, 2000 [D472/11]
- Bethany English Baptist Church, Cardiff Records, report on Bethel chapel made to Bethany Baptist church, 1854 [DBAP/15/10/2]
- Debenham Tewson Solicitors, Cardiff, Bute Estate Collection, lease of land and premises at Mountstuart Square, 1965 [DBDT/73/16]
- Debenham Tewson Solicitors, Cardiff, Bute Estate Collection, lease of land and premises known as the Casablanca Club, Mount Stuart Square, 1971 [DBDT/73/19]
- Jenkins, J Austin and James, R Edward, The History of Nonconformity in Cardiff