Wesleyan Methodist Central Hall stood at the corner of Charles Street and Bridge Street, Cardiff. The foundation stone was laid on 16 July 1849 by Alderman David Lewis, Mayor of Cardiff, who was also a church member. Designed by James Wilson of Bath, its Gothic style was, at the time, unusual for a nonconformist building in Wales. The chapel opened on 25 September 1850.
On 12 April 1895, the building was destroyed by a fire which broke out shortly after the end of that day’s Good Friday devotions. Just over three months later, on 24 July, building plans were approved for a new church designed by Jones, Richards and Budgen of Cardiff, and reconstruction went ahead, largely on the same footprint as the original building.
The chapel continued to serve Cardiff’s Methodists during the first four decades of the twentieth century. The last marriage to be registered there was on 5 June 1937 and it seems likely that the chapel closed shortly afterwards. Local directories suggest that the building was used, in the late 1940s, by the Ministry of Labour and National Service (Women’s Department). During the 1950s, it housed the Supplies Department of the Welsh Regional Hospital Board and also a Clothing Depot for the Women’s Voluntary Service. By the 1960s, though, it appears to have been unoccupied. Later, it was used for a time by Welsh National Opera before demolition in the mid-1980s.
The site is now occupied by a modern building which serves as the Cardiff Jobcentre.
David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer
- Mary Traynor Collection [D1093/2/29]
- Cardiff Borough, building regulation plans, plan for rebuilding of Wesley Chapel, Charles Street, 1895 [BC/S/1/10874]
- Charles Street Wesleyan Methodist Church, Cardiff, marriage register, 1934-1937 [DWESMARR7]
- South Wales Echo, 13 Apr 1895
- Jenkins, J. A. & James, R.E., The History of Nonconformity in Cardiff (1901)
- Various Cardiff directories