The Coal Exchange History: Then & Now

coal exchange history

The Exchange Hotel wasn’t always the proud luxury hotel as it stands today on Mount Stuart Square. There was a time in the coal exchange history where the grand building housed the biggest coal trading business in the world and the hub for the city’s then thriving shipping industry.

The building was built in the late 1800s and, despite being left to rot and in a desperate state of disrepair, has taken on a new lease of life as The Exchange Hotel.

The Coal Exchange has enjoyed a long history of industrial excitement and intense trading, with up to 10,000 people passing through the doors each day at the height of business.

Take a look at some of the most iconic images of The Coal Exchange through the years and the fantastic change that has transformed it into the best hotel in Cardiff.

An Impressive Facade

coal exchange history

The building was built by Edwin Seward with pale cream limestone, with inspiration being drawn from French Renaissance style. The entrance side is flanked by two wings and all enclose a stunning forecourt that gives space to appreciate the full beauty of the building.

coal exchange history

After taking on the rapidly declining building in 2016, we pledged to keep the building’s DNA and restore it to its former glory. The forecourt is a key part of the building and welcomes our guests to their luxury stay.

A Clock That Stands the Test of Time

coal exchange history

The dragon clock in the main hall is one of the most stunning features of the entire hotel. The clock is still in working order and its ornateness is a testament to the affluent and opulent nature of the building at its time of building. This card that was printed to advertise the Coal Exchange’s historic opening features the newly unveiled clock, look closely at the centre of the top of the image.

coal exchange history

The clock still features prominently in the grand hall, lovingly restored to nearly new and taking pride of place over the events space.

The Busy and Bustling Hall

coal exchange history

The hall where the dragon clock calls home was the main point of trade for the workers of Cardiff’s industrial revolution. Peak trading hours would see business men gather to make their money and find out the latest set price for coal.

coal exchange history

The hall will now be the most beautiful and breathtaking venue in the city for a whole host of events. From weddings to proms to conferences, there is no place grander or more iconic in Cardiff to spend a special day.

Ascend to Luxury and Grandeur

coal exchange history

Imagine the excitement of beginning your day by climbing up a grand external staircase into the most important building in Cardiff. This picture, taken in 1891, shows the businessmen of the time on the steps of the coal exchange.

coal exchange history

Today, the steps welcome visitors through the doors of The Exchange Hotel. There’s no denying that The Exchange Hotel is a building steeped in history and we’ve taken great care to ensure that the historical importance of the iconic structure is not lost while we made the building fit for public use.

Come and join us for Afternoon Tea or book an overnight stay to experience Cardiff’s industrial history in the flesh. Get in touch today by calling 02920 107050 or sending us a message and we’ll help you have the most unforgettable time.