Many Cardiffians have stories to share about the Coal Exchange and with the completion of two recent surveys, it is hoped the building is a step closer to once more greeting people from across the city and the world into its famous oak-panelled trading hall.
The surveys are part of a planned series which are set to contribute towards the building becoming a focal point for community and business in Cardiff Bay’s historic Mount Stuart Square.
The most recent was of the Exchange building’s interior, including the trading hall and was commissioned by ‘Save the Coal Exchange Limited’ the charitable company set up to preserve the historic building, conducted by conservation engineering consultancy Mann-Williams.
The completion of the internal survey raises optimism that it will reinforce an earlier report by Mann-Williams that was conducted on the Exchange’s South facing external wall finding it to be structurally sound, a report which has now been recognised by Cardiff Council.
It raises the prospects of further progress being made in finding a long term use for the building which has followed months of uncertainty and which is expected to be used as a filming location for a re-make of cult movie The Crow.
Assuming all is well with the internal survey then it is hoped that filming of The Crow will commence in January 2016 after a number of setbacks stalled filming. Interest has already been expressed by other production companies seeking interesting locations in which to shoot.
Director of Save the Coal Exchange, Ian Hill says; “I am delighted the Council has recognised the Mann-Williams report and acknowledged the fresh evidence presented. It demonstrates the will and confidence to bring a major Hollywood production into South Wales and sends a clear signal that Wales and Cardiff is open for business. The building currently houses 13 companies in 20 offices with space for 10 more and it is our hope that this latest survey will be a big step towards securing the future of the Coal Exchange.”
Chair of the Cardiff Civic Society Nerys Lloyd-Pierce is in agreement; “The Exchange building has faced a number of obstacles in recent years but there seems a genuine consensus to move forward and with any luck this wonderful old building has a future helping bring business back into the Bay.”
With the completion of the external and internal surveys, plans are afoot to clear the invasive shrubbery that has colonised the Eastern and Northern façades of the Exchange building. It is hoped that this work will open a third fire exit ensuring that the historic trading hall can once again be bought into use. For information on how you can get involved in preserving an iconic Cardiff landmark, visit: http://savethecoalexchange.com.
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About Us: Save The Coal Exchange is a community-led campaign to save an important and iconic piece of Welsh heritage. Built in 1886, The Exchange Building is a stunning example of Victorian architecture and has been Grade II listed for over 40 years. The campaign aims to revive the building, piece by piece, to its former glory and bring out the amazing stories of its past as a focal point for much of Cardiff’s trade, music events and many of its other uses