Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Catholic Church of St Joseph  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
On the N side of New Zealand Road, near to the junction with Whitchurch Road and adjacent to Ysgol Mynydd Bychan.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

Built 1935-6 to designs by Cyril Bates. The northern Cardiff suburbs of Cathays and Gabalfa had begun to be developed from the end of the C19, largely with terraced housing laid out in grid patterns. The 4th Marquess of Bute gave a 1 acre site on New Zealand Road in 1913 for the construction of a catholic church on the basis that a permanent church would be built within 10 years. A prefabricated iron church was acquired, previously St Alban’s church in Splott, and was re-erected in the SW part of the site in 1899. This church is shown on the 1922 Ordnance Survey map. By this time a separate parish had been established by the Institute of Charity (Rosminians) and in that year a hall was constructed to the rear of the church and then in 1926 St Joseph’s Catholic School was built on the plot fronting onto Whitchurch Road, designed by FR Bates & Son. Construction of a permanent church was made possible when Mrs Edith Elinor Callaghan left £10,000 towards the building. The foundation stone was laid on 9 October 1935 by the Archbishop of Cardiff, and the church opened on 26 October 1936. The architect was Cyril Bates, son of F R Bates of Newport. The church is similar to the church of St Joseph at Aberavon near Port Talbot which was designed by Bates (1931, listed grade II), but the earlier building was in an Early Christian basilican style rather than Italian Romanesque. Bates had been responsible for a number of notable commissions, including the War Memorial at Clarence Place in Newport (1922, GII), Royal Chambers, High St, Newport (1928-9), Newport Market (1934, GII) and later designed St Winefride’s Hospital on Romilly Crescent in Cardiff (1939). The interior was provided with rich furnishings with a marble high altar and Lady altar, polished English Alabaster communion rails with gilded wrought iron gates, a stone pulpit and font, all by WH Best of Cheltenham. Joinery of American, Japanese and Australian oak. The sanctuary has been reordered with the communion rails having been removed. A neo-Georgian presbytery was constructed to the rear, backing onto Canada Road, presumably shortly after the completion of the church and also by C Bates. A parish hall has been added to the S side of the nave. The adjoining school and presbytery to rear not included in the listing.  

Church, Italian Romanesque. Orientated NW-SE with the liturgical east end to the NW. Handmade facing Coleford red brick in Flemish bond. Stone dressings. Roof of handmade Staffordshire tiles. Round headed windows Nave and sanctuary, flat roofed narrow aisles to both sides, small chapel to the N side of sanctuary. Liturgical west front with tall bell tower and a wide central triple-ordered arch with doorway set in with decorated stone surround and paired tall windows above set in shallow inner arch. On top of the doorway is a stone carved figure of St Joseph (installed at an unknown date after completion of the church). Aisle ends with tall narrow windows. Bell tower, rectangular plan, 4-stages, pyramidal tiled roof. Ground floor with doorway on NE face under a copper tented canopy, triple window to SE, slit windows to central stages, uppermost stage with triple windows to both long sides and double windows to each short side, the SE side of the tower with a brick balcony. Aisles with 5 pairs of windows. Sanctuary with four windows to either side, placed high. Gable copings and kneelers and gablet cross.  

Nave with 5-bay open timber roof with king post and queen post trusses. Gallery with bowed front with narthex inserted underneath. To either side of the nave are 5 tall round headed arches with small slit windows directly above. Narrow passage aisles either side. Aisle windows with clear glazing and coloured borders. Plain arch to sanctuary, up 4-steps and with beamed ceiling. Marble high altar, retable and domed housing for monstrance. 5-sided pulpit, drum font on fluted base, both of Corsham stone. Timber benches to the nave, cast stone Stations of the Cross.  

Reason for designation
Included for its special architectural interest as a good and largely unaltered example of an inter-war church, an accomplished design by one of the leading architectural practices of S Wales.  

Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]