South East Wales

Vulcan pub in Cardiff dismantled for St Fagans museum rebuild in 'several years'

The Vulcan
Image caption The Vulcan Hotel is to be dismantled from its city centre location and rebuilt at St Fagans National History Museum

The Vulcan Hotel, one of Cardiff's best preserved Victorian pubs, is to be dismantled and moved to St Fagans National History Museum.

A campaign to preserve the pub, which opened in 1853, was relaunched after it faced closure this month.

Brewers SA Brain, which closed the pub on Thursday night, said it was no longer commercially viable.

The museum said rebuilding the pub will not begin for several years but has asked for historic photographs of it.

It had previously been given a stay of execution after an earlier campaign to save it in 2009 and was given something of a new lease of life after the building of a University of Glamorgan campus opposite.

The Vulcan was built to serve the mainly Irish immigrant community on the outskirts of the city centre in an area once known as Newtown.

Among the famous names to back the 5,000-signature petition to keep it open the last time were James Dean Bradfield, of Manic Street Preachers, Hollywood star Rhys Ifans and sports presenter John Inverdale.

Brains said it had no option but to sell the premises after it was served with a compulsory purchase order four years ago to accommodate the new St Davids shopping development.

Chief executive Scott Waddington said the firm had found itself "the target of negative publicity" over the pub's fate.

He said: "In essence, we had no other option than to sell the pub.

"We have kept the pub trading over this period despite declining customer numbers and therefore income.

"The uncertainty surrounding the future of the premises has also made justifying any significant investment in the pub unrealistic."

The brewer leases the pub from the property's owners, Marcol Asset Management Limited, which has agreed to donate it to the museum.

The exterior of the two-storey building is virtually unchanged, the lower half of the facade being tiled in green and white and the upper floor faced in brick.

'Good memories'

Museum deputy director Mark Richards said: "The Vulcan Hotel will be a welcome addition to the collection of historical buildings at St Fagans.

"We are grateful to Marcol for donating the building and giving us the opportunity to save and preserve this important part of Cardiff's heritage for the nation and to tell some of the area's rich history."

Mr Richards said the museum will appeal for photographs, objects and stories relating to the Vulcan and its history.

Licencees Gwyn and Sandra Lewis, who called the final last orders on Thursday night, said: "We look forward to visiting St Fagans and will have good memories of the short time we were at the Vulcan."

Cardiff historian Brian Lee, who has written a history of city pubs, said: "It's a great shame. It's a part of Cardiff's past.

'Dying, almost dead breed'

"I think that moving it to St Fagan's is the next best thing. At least it will be a reminder of old Cardiff and people can see it."

Poet and writer Peter Finch, author of the Real Cardiff books series, said he was delighted the musum had chosen the Vulcan as the first Welsh pub it was preserving.

He said: "There will be a gap of five years or so but an important part of our heritage is preserved.

"Cardiff is a young city. It does not have very much of a past. The Vulcan is a city pub of a dying, almost dead breed."

The announcement about The Vulcan Hotel comes as plans for a £24m, five-year revamp and expansion of St Fagans, Wales' most popular heritage attraction with 600,000 visitors a year, have been submitted to Cardiff council.

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