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National Westminster Bank

A Grade II* Listed Building in Butetown, Cardiff

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4655 / 51°27'55"N

Longitude: -3.1664 / 3°9'58"W

OS Eastings: 319072

OS Northings: 174705

OS Grid: ST190747

Mapcode National: GBR KLS.ZM

Mapcode Global: VH6FF.2FFD

Entry Name: National Westminster Bank

Listing Date: 25 January 1966

Last Amended: 21 August 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 13974

Building Class: Commercial

Location: Prominent bank building midway along the street with W elevation opposite the entrance to Mount Stuart Square.

County: Cardiff

Community: Butetown

Traditional County: Glamorgan

History

Built 1926-7 by F C R Palmer and W F C Holden, National Provincial Bank of England architects; E Turner & Sons, Contractors. Last major commercial development in Butetown. Simce 1874 the bank's Cariff Docks branch had been in Dock Chambers.

Exterior

Exceptional bank building in Grecian Classical style with Portland stone facings throughout. Steel-framed with reinforced concrete base. 5-storeys and basement with 7-bay elevations to Bute Street and West Bute Street. Banking Hall and 1st floor framed by giant order, fluted, Ionic columns with ribbed bases on high pedestal; additional stylised acanthus and anthemion ornament to capitals and dentil cornice set behind the columns. Columns are paired at ends and carry overall frieze with modern lettering but original cornice with lions heads over each column. Fretted metal frame windows including panelled lintel band; horizontal and marginal glazing bars; barred basement windows, some blocked up. Band course over 2nd floor which has bolection moulded architraves to Bute Street front and bracket and dentil cornices to West Bute Street front. 3rd and 4th floors are linked in the design, by the windows being set in tall recesses including painted metal panels with roundels between floors and panelled aprons below. Modillion cornice at top with slightly ramped low parapet. Main entrance is to extreme N end (right and left hand bays respectively) opening onto lobby and corridor that runs between the two streets. Volute bracketed cornice surmounted by bronze statue of Equity by J A Stevenson; fleuron bosses to architrave; panelled reveals and doors with brass fittings. Skewed angle to side elevations because of shape of site.

Interior

Grand, open-plan, Banking Hall of basilica type plan; brightly painted Classical detail and finely finished Echallion marble walls; 24m long and 6.3m high. Semicircular end to W with panelled and gilded ceiling; the central area behind the counters is top lit by segmental shaped high roof with panelled ribs and bosses. The whole is carried on fluted marble columns with square abaci and matching pilasters on outer walls; full Doric frieze including plaster roundels based upon Greek coins in the British Museum from where other Classical material in the Banking Hall is derived. Outer walls have guilloche pattern bands over high marble facings; bracket cornice to doors. Some original furnishings retained, in particular the mahogany counters with guilloche banding; modern security screens. Offices planned around Banking Hall. Fine staircase to centre of the similarly Echaillon marble finished corridor; painted iron balustrade with banding. 'NP' monogram and brass handrail, scrolled at end with newel tapered to base. At the Bute Street end the corridor has semicircular projection with coffered ceiling and original doors; at the West Bute Street end it steps down into domical lobby with cornice and panelled drum. The interior detail is simplified to upper floors but is said to retain panelled room at top.

Reasons for Listing

Magniloquent commercial building amongst the finest of its style in Wales. Group value with adjacent buildings.

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