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Philharmonic Hall


Cruelly altered but important example of a music hall of the rarest early concert-room type (cf. Wilton's of 1859; Leeds City Varieties of 1865). The main façade with a triangular pediment over the three central bays is of particular importance as part of a group extending from the corner of Wood Street to the end of St Mary Street.

The Philharmonic had a characteristic auditorium - a rectangular hall with a slightly raked main floor and originally with a balcony around three sides (the centre section later increased in depth to the rear). Permission was unfortunately given for the balcony slips to be altered in the 1980s and the centre balcony was again extended forward, both alterations being detrimental to the balance of the building. The balcony sides, supported on slender iron columns, had a serpentine configuration, having probably been divided originally by low partitions to form boxes. Balcony fronts of bombe section were enriched with foliated plaster work. The narrow proscenium was framed by well-modelled, coupled Corinthian demi-columns on pedestals. There was a shallow apron stage, cut back in the 1980s, by which time the back wall had been brought forward and the wings walled off. The side walls of the auditorium, above balcony level, were articulated by Corinthian pilasters. Flat ceiling originally divided into panels.

Capacity, seated to modern standards, might be approximately 6-700. This theatre could have been a significant addition to the range of auditoria available to performing arts in Wales's capital city. The foyer is still quite splendid but within the hall itself, nearly all significant traces of its architectural character have been destroyed or obscured. The building is currently in a profitable alternative use, and so for the present at least, the restoration of the hall to theatre use seems unlikely.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1877 : Until when not known.
Current state
Current use
Licensed premises (Pub)
76 St Mary Street, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF10 1FA, Wales
Further details
Other names
Morrella's Palace of Varieties , Philharmonic Theatre , Stoll's Panopticon , Pavilion Picture Theatre , The Square
  • 1877 Use: Until when not known.
  • 1877 Design/Construction:
    Jackson & Son (builder?)
    - Architect
  • 1912 Owner/Management: by Moss Empires
  • 1952 Owner/Management: by Emery Cinema Circuit
  • 1997 Alteration: converted to pub
    Inside Out Design Partnership
    - Architect
  • 1997 Owner/Management: Greenalls
  • Capacity
    1952: 1100
    1962: 1040
  • Capacity
  • Listing
Stage type
Proscenium Flat
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: Depth: was 2.48m Width: was 7.35m
Proscenium width: 8.30m
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -