Refurbishment & DevelopmentTake a look at our journey of transforming The Coal Exchange back to it's former glory
The Exchange Hotel’s Development
The Exchange Hotel will soon open its doors to the public for the very first time, allowing guests to explore this beautiful building that was once so influential to the world’s coal exportation industry.
Not only do we endeavour to provide luxurious, comfortable accommodation that ensures our guests have an enjoyable stay with us, but provides an insight into the city and building’s remarkable history. At The Exchange Hotel, we want to retell the Grade II listed building’s stories, so you come away from a stay learning a little bit more about the Welsh capital city.
Before Signature Living acquired The Exchange Hotel, this historic property was subject to disrepair, which is why the hotel’s owner, Lawrence Kenwright, was so passionate to restore this amazing venue. After restoring properties in Liverpool, including RMS Titanic’s port of registry 30 James Street, Lawrence turned his attentions to The Coal Exchange, which was in desperate need of restoration.
The Exchange Hotel is, however, so much more than a celebration of times gone by, as the hotel will help to push Cardiff into the future through improved tourism and job creation, as more than 200 full-time, part-time and temporary jobs have been created for the 180,000 sq ft project. We have hired a team of experienced, dedicated architects, builders, electricians, plumbers, painters and more, who will each strive create a magnificent hotel that will surpass expectation. We will also help restore the venue, which will create a landmark that demands to be explored.
We do not want to change the building. In fact, we are working alongside an appointed expert to ensure the property’s original features are preserved, so guests can experience the building as it was designed to be visited.
The hotel, spa and wedding venue will also feature a heritage area, which will be dedicated to The Coal Exchange’s illustrious history, including the First World War memorial in the grand hall. We also hope to introduce a small museum, working alongside community groups, to celebrate the history of the wider Cardiff Bay area.
The first phase of the development has already began, focusing on the front end of the structure, which will feature hotel rooms and a brand new reception area.
The Exchange Hotel is expected to be completed by Spring 2017.
The Coal Exchange
Before the Coal Exchange was constructed on Mount Stuart Square, the land was used as a residential square with a central garden. As the city began to grow, with Cardiff quickly becoming the biggest coal port in the world, the Coal Exchange was built between 1883 and 1886 by Edwin Seward, within walking distance of the Bute Docks. Its purpose was to offer a headquarters to conduct trade negotiations regarding the coal mines of the South Wales Valleys, as a significant amount of coal was shipped to the Welsh capital city for distribution.
Coal owners, ship owners and their agents would meet daily on the trading hall floor at the Coal Exchange, making agreements in person or via the telephone. The building’s peak time was one o’clock, where up to 200 men would shout and gesticulate in the trading hall, whilst it was believed as many as 10,000 people would pass through the building every day. As Cardiff’s exports began to grow, so did the city’s population, with dockworkers and sailors settling in neighbourhoods close to the docks.
The Coal Exchange undeniably played a central role in industrial Cardiff during the 19th century and, at one point, even determined the price of the world’s coal. A landmark deal was made in The Coal Exchange in 1901, as it has been claimed the world’s first £1 million business deal was made to transport 2,500 tonnes of coal to France.
Before the Restoration