Photo of The Birchgrove Inn pub, Cardiff

This proposed listing forms part of the draft Cardiff buildings of local historic or architectural interest list - Public Houses, Hotels and Clubs (current and former)

Building reference

02 The Birchgrove Inn

Date

c.1938

Address

1-3 Birchgrove Rd, CF14 1RR

Download site boundary plan.

Ward

Heath

History

According to the Illustrated History of Cardiff Pubs, the Birchgrove Inn dates originally from the 1770s, though it was rebuilt in 1923. Construction of the extant building has been attributed to the 1920s, by Sir Percy Thomas.[1]

There is certainly a public house on the site in the tithe map of 1840 (name unclear). The pub, the house to the south and three adjacent fields were all owned and occupied by William Rowland at this time. The earliest premises occupied the acute corner between Birchgrove Road (then Philog) and Caerphilly Road, with a range extending down Philog Road to the south-west.

Earliest available plans for the ‘Birchgrove Inn, Whitchurch’ are dated 1888, to designs by the Architect W.I. Grylls (offices at 37 St Mary Street, Cardiff) for S.A Brain. The diminutive establishment was extended to the rear, to include a new kitchen, bar and tap room. A Stable, Coach-House and Skittle Alley were also added to the east.

Hence, the building appears much more linear within the OS of 1901 (surveyed 1898). There is a further extension shown to the south-western end of the building within the OS of 1922 (surveyed 1915-16).

Further extension plans were produced in 1923 (Architect: Willmott and Smith), but it wasn’t until 1928 that proposals for the extant building were drawn up, to the designs of the esteemed Architects Ivor Jones and Sir Percy Thomas.2 Drawings are held at Glamorgan Archive.

The same architects also proposed extending the building in 1929, with a single storey addition to the west (still evident today).

It seems clear that the existing building wasn’t constructed until c.1938 however, as the OS map of c.1947 (surveyed 1938) shows it part built.

[1] See: https://beerbrewer.blogspot.com/2011/07/culverhouse-pub-reopens.html.  2 For more on Sir Percy Thomas see: https://biography.wales/article/s2-THOM-EDW-1883

Description

The principal building is in a symmetrical Tudor-revival Arts-and-Crafts style, with a white rendered finish and red plain-tile roof. It comprises a two-storey range set diagonally with a low, single-storey mock-timber-framed entrance range between higher outer wings (with pronounced gables- which terminate upon Caerphilly Road and Birchgrove Road respectively). Further two-story ranges run parallel to these roads. Single-storey asymmetric wings contain a skittle alley which returns to the south-west and the former stable building (?) to the north-west, all enclosing a service yard to the rear of the main building.

The entrance range has a steeply pitched roof which runs continuously into the main roof slope. Substantial rectangular chimney stacks in red brick with diaper-work decoration project above, framing three dormer windows to the roof slope. It features a central vertically boarded door with decorative strap hinges, moulded architraves and Tudor-arched bevelled spandrels, 2 no. folding doors with glazed leaded lights, and 2 no. pairs of vertically boarded doors with Tudor-arched bevelled spandrels. Windows are modern, formed in brown uPVC.

There appears to be original cornicing to some of the interiors. Cast iron columns. Square panelling (in the Tudor style) to the bar fronts and a number of the walls.

Reason

There has been a public housed of the same name in this location for A substantial, purpose-built Brain’s public house in a prominent location. Architecturally very interesting and externally still very complete, with a strong Arts and Crafts aesthetic and an innovative plan form which makes clever use of the corner plot. Designed by the esteemed Architects Ivor Jones and Sir Percy Thomas. Considerable aesthetic and Historical Value. 134 years of continuous use also imparts strong Communal Value.

References

RDC/S/2/1888/17

9 May 1888 – Sheet 1. The Birchgrove Inn, Whitchurch – Architect: W.I. Grylls – Developer: S.A. Brain Esq – 1 plan

RDC/S/2/1888/18

9 May 1888 – Sheet 2. The Birchgrove Inn, Whitchurch – Architect: W.I. Grylls – Developer: S.A. Brain Esq

RDC/S/2/1888/38

1888 – Stable, Coach-House and Skittle Alley, Birchgrove Inn, Whitchurch Road – Architect: W.I.Grylls – Developer: S.A. Brain Esq

DSA/3/40

24 Feb 1894 – Auction Particulars – 1 coloured plan

RDC/S/2/1895/21

3 Jul 1895 – Cellar, Birchgrove Inn, Caerphilly Road – Architect: S. Williams – Developer: S.A.Brain & Co. – 1 Plan

BC/S/1/22303

1923 – Additions to Birchgrove Inn, Birchgrove, Caerphilly Road – Architect: Willmott & Smith – Developer: S A Brain

3 Plans with elevations

BC/S/1/22305

1923 – Extension of the Birchgrove Inn, Birchgrove Inn, Caerphilly Road – Architect: Willmott and Smith – Developer: S A Brain and Co

3 Plans with elevations

DX446/66/21

1928 – Photograph of Birchgrove Inn

BC/S/1/26014

1928 Building Regulation Plans – Architect: I Jones & P Thomas – Developer: S A Brain & Co Ltd

3 Plans with elevations

BC/S/1/26701

1929 – Additions to Inn, Birchgrove Inn, Corner of Philog Road & Caerphilly Road – Architect: I Jones & P Thomas – Developer: S A Brain & Co Ltd

1 plan with elevations

Additional images

Drawing of the Birchgrove pub, Cardiff

The Birchgrove – 1928 dwg by I.Jones and P.Thomas (Glam Arch BCS126014)

 

Map drawing showing the Birchgrove location

Location

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