Work starts to move Cardiff's Vulcan pub to St Fagans museum

The Vulcan Hotel has welcomed drinkers for more than a century-and-a-half

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Work has started on moving one of Cardiff's oldest pubs brick-by-brick to be rebuilt at St Fagans National History Museum.

The Vulcan Hotel served drinkers for more than 150 years but finally shut due to dwindling customers.

Museum experts have started the process to record the building's historic features before removing it from the edge of the city centre.

They plan to rebuild it at the museum and want to reopen it as working pub.

Gerallt Nash, curator of historic buildings at the museum, described the painstaking process of recording the building in photographs before work on dismantling it gets under way.

"What you have got to do is assess the building, look at it, take lots of photographs, hundreds, maybe thousands of measurements so that you can record the building and then dismantle it all," he said.


  • 1853 The Vulcan opens
  • 2008 Brains sells The Vulcan to developers as part of the St David's 2 development plans
  • 2009 Brains agreed to operate the pub until May 2012
  • 2009 - 2012 Marcol, National Museum Wales and Brains discuss the relocation of the pub to St Fagans.
'Gigantic 3D jigsaw'

Currently, the building is being cleared in preparation for scaffolding to be put around the pub before recording of its design and layout is completed.

Mr Nash described The Vulcan as a good example of an early urban public house built in about 1850.

It was once part of Cardiff's Newtown area, which was cleared during post-war redevelopment.

Mr Nash said it went through a transformation in about 1910 when the pub's distinctive exterior tiles were added to the building.

Mr Nash said the pub originally served the city's Irish community who helped to build the docks in Cardiff, but its customer base reduced over the years as the area developed.

It was bought by compulsory purchase order to accommodate the new St Davids shopping development four years ago.

It was later marked for closure but a community campaign won a stay of execution with brewers SA Brains agreeing to help run it with licensees Gwyn and Sandra Lewis and building owners Marcol Asset Management Limited.

Mr Nash said the surrounding area had "completely gone apart from one little building".

"So by rescuing this building we are rescuing that part of Cardiff's history," he said.

The plan is to reopen The Vulcan as a working pub on-site at the museum because it is said to be typical of other pubs of the period.

But, "like a gigantic three-dimensional jigsaw" experts will use the measurements they are currently taking, along with their photographs, to rebuild it.

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