Photo of the former White Lion 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

54 The White Lion Hotel (former)


1894 (date stone) Under construction in 1895.


10-12 Cowbridge Road West CF5 5BS

Download site boundary plan.




There is a building upon this corner site within the Tithe Map of 1846 (though the plot is rather curiously named ‘Ely Village’ after the adjacent pasture).

By the OS map of 1886 (surveyed 1875-1881), the building is called the White Lion Hotel. A photo of 1892 shows the premises prior to demolition: two-storey and fronting east, it is clearly of some antiquity.

Though Glamorgan Archive is silent on the reconstruction of this building, it was clearly underway in June 1895, when the South Wales Daily News (14/06/1895) reported that ongoing construction had accidentally set light to a passing cart laden with furniture:

‘Whilst the load was passing the White Lion, Ely, now in course of erection, the men in charge of the mortar pan were firing up the engine-furnace and showers of live sparks issued from the funnel. Some of the sparks must have dropped on the sheeting covering the furniture, for in a few seconds afterwards the contents of the vehicle burst into flame.’

Alterations were known to have taken place in 1943, though the nature or extent of the work is currently unclear.

The building was converted to flats in 1995 (95/1714R).


A substantial and prominently located former public house of three-storeys formed in snecked pennant stone, with dressed freestone to quoins, windows and doorways.

Of rectangular plan with rear outshot. Faceted eastern corner (to junction of Mill Road and Cowbridge Road West) presents the former (now blocked) pedestrian entrance, with fanlight and corbelled pediment. Carved stone reading ‘White Lion Hotel’ above, with 1894 datestone and carved stone lion adornment, all topped with crenelated pediment.

Majority of windows are of ovolo-and fillet paired stone transom and mullion type, with timber sash windows (as of March 2023). Those to the first floor (north-east elevation) have projecting and corbelled sills with wrought ironwork. Those to the ground floor feature half-round colonnettes in lieu of lower central mullions, with acanthus detailed capitals.

The south-eastern (Cowbridge Road) elevation features finely detailed and faceted oriel windows, with carved foliate motifs, crenelated parapets and stepped masonry roofs.

Pitched and slated roof, with gable to the north-west end and asymmetric hip to the south-east. A large, corbelled chimney stack to the north-eastern elevation has, at some stage, been substantially curtailed.

The whole is well integrated with Ty Trelai adjacent to the south-west, which is formed in matching materials and is assumed to be of contemporary construction.


A substantial and prominent former public house of fine architectural quality. Aesthetic and Historical Value.

Though now closed, long history for a public house on this site imparts Communal Value.


Glamorgan Archive


Alterations to Hotel, White Lion Hotel, Cowbridge Road

1943 – Architect: Unknown – Developer: Ely Brewery Co Ltd.

1 Plan, No Elevations


1882-1936 – Deed of exchange – Bute Glamorgan Estate and Crosswells (Cardiff) Brewery Co. Ltd;


Conveyances, Leases, Assignments, etc., of White Lion Inn, 1882-1898

Abstract of Title of Crosswells (Cardiff) Brewery Co. Ltd. to White Lion Inn, 1936

14 parchments and files


1929 – White Lion Hotel, Ely


Additional images

Photo of the Whilte Lion pub Cardiff in 1892 - demolished shortly after to make way for the current building

The Whilte Lion in 1892 – demolished shortly after to make way for the current building


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