Photo of The Railway 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

38 The Railway Inn (Fairwater)




144 Ely Road, CF5 3AB

Download site boundary plan.




Not much is known of the development of The Railway Hotel, with little documentary evidence available.

The place does not appear within the tithe maps of 1846 and first newspaper reference appears in June 1856.

In September 1860, the place was put up for sale:

‘Railway Inn, Ely, near Cardiff.

To be disposed of, with immediate possession, a SINGLE LICENSED HOUSE, called the Railway Inn, a coal-yard, and Eleven Acres of Land, situated in Ely. The premises are very convenient, and there is a good stable and beast-house attached. Coming-in moderate.

Also, to be disposed of, Three good Milking COWS, a good HORSE and CART, FOWLS, &c., to be taken at fair valuation.

For particulars apply on the premises.’

The building is shown within the earliest OS map of 1886 (surveyed 1875-81), with a principal range orientated as today, occupying the corner of St Fagans Road and Ely Road. It shows a narrow, centrally-located range extending from the rear (north) and returning east to partially enclose the northern end of the yard (presumably incorporating the beast house and stable etc).

Planform evolved during the C20, with the rear range appearing considerably wider by 1915 – almost to the full width of the building. Further small outbuildings to the rear yard were built before 1963 and later lost, with a single-storey extension added to the north-eastern end of the main building sometime after 1963 (still extant). After this date, a number of flat roof extensions were added to the rear, occupying much of the former service yard and further debasing the earliest planform of the building.

Now proposed for demolition / redevelopment – 23/01682/FUL


The principal portion of The Railway Hotel (Fairwater) is a two-storey three-bay building facing south-east onto Ely Road, with a central, perpendicular two-storey extension to the rear (one bay in length but of considerable width).

The south-east front has a central doorway with modern door and uPVC windows throughout. The whole is rendered and painted. Pitched and slated roof with Hip to LHS and gable to RHS. There is a (C20) single-storey extension to the north-eastern end, also with pitched and gabled roof.

A flat roof rear extension running north-west returns to the north-east, occupying the site of former service buildings.

Further, modern flat-roof extensions to the rear now occupy much of the former service yard.


The premises embody some Historic Value; apparently retaining some fabric of an early-Victorian public house to its principal range, though this has been undermined by various modernisations and alterations over time – including a large rear extension to almost the full width of the building. Material amendments over time (including loss of original windows, re-roofing and demolition of any original chimney stacks) have also impacted negatively upon the Aesthetic Value of the building. Some 140 years of a public house has potential to impart considerable Communal Value, though it should be noted that there have been no objections to the current proposals for demolition (as of Feb 2024).


Glamorgan Archives



Attempted purchase of freehold interest and sale of part for ‘Cardiff Orbital Road’.

(S.A. Brain & Co.). N/16.

Correspondence 10 May 1927-7 Apr 1928 and 24 Dec 1930-4 Mar 1936. 1. Newspaper Notice of Purchase.

  1. Envelope of papers comprising:

(a) part of the envelope

(b) notice to treat 22 Jun 1931

(c) notice of intention to enter 24 Jun 1931

(d) copy claim and plan 13 Jul 1931.

  1. Particulars of sale of this and other property on 10 Dec 1918.


1940-1944 – Accounts ledgers

DJ Williams, Railway Inn, Ely, Cardiff [‘marked W4’]

1 volume



Correspondence between Evan J. C. David and Morgan, Bruce and Nicholas, solicitors, Pontypridd, concerning a Conveyance and Lease (copy) of the Railway Inn, Ely

2 Papers


The Railway Inn; 48 & 50 Ely Road, Ely; 132 Cowbridge Road; 8-13 Mary Ann Street; 13-16 Patrick Street; 26 Clarence and 29 Alice Street, Cardiff



(Jonathan Lewis Deceased). B/7.

Part file cover.

Correspondence 13 Nov 1918-9 Jan 1919.

Notices of sale for auction 10 Dec 1918.

Copy lease 25 Mar 1847 the Romilly Family to Thomas Davies.

[see also Sale Book 25 (ref. DSA/8/25) f.58]

1 File

Additional images

OS map showing the Railway Inn pub Cardiff

1875 to 1881, Published 1886. Glamorgan Sheet XLIII


1920 OS map showing the Railway Inn Cardiff

1915, Published 1920. Glamorgan XLIII.9


Have your say