Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Newport Civic Centre  


Unitary Authority
Gold Tops  
Street Side
Occupies a large prominent site S of Fields Road, bounded by Godrey Road (E), Faulkner Road (S), and Clytha Park Road to the W.  


Broad Class

Commissioned by Newport Corporation in 1936, following an open competition for its design, which was won by T. Cecil Howitt of Nottingham, with F. E. Woolley as job architect. Howitt built several notable buildings in Nottingham, including the Council House (1927-29), and several pubs and houses, many in a modernist Classical style. First sod cut 4 July 1937 by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Shell of building largely complete and partly in use by 1939. Main centre range of steel-framed construction. With the advent of war, uncompleted parts were roofed over and used by the Admiralty. After the war, a start was made on fitting out the interior, but it was not until 1964 that the design was fully executed, with the completion of the central entrance hall, stair and tower. Of this date, the murals in the entrance hall, depicting historic events in the county, painted by the German artist Hans Feibusch, assisted by Phylis Bray: the hall was designed for murals from the outset (perhaps influenced by Frank Brangwyn’s series of war memorial paintings intended for the House of Lords). The post-war work was overseen by Howitt and Woolley. The intended large concert hall to the N side of the civic centre was not executed, and the building’s main entrance was created on the N side, rather than the S. In 1989-91, the S courtyard was closed by the addition of the Crown Court. Newport completes the trio of civic centres in South Wales, the first being Cardiff (1901-05) by Lanchester, Stewart & Rickards, the second, Swansea (1932-36), by Percy Thomas. The former established the Baroque style as appropriate for public buildings, whereas Swansea is essentially Classical. Newport clearly departs from both by being designed in a striking quasi-Italianate style. The Crown Court building is not included in the listing.  

U-plan, facing SE, set on sloping site. Elevations of unbonded Portland stone in panels. Basement level of brown rock-faced Derbyshire sandstone. Roofs of brown pantiles, with deep coffered eaves. Steel casement windows. SE front of three storeys, with taller advanced two-storey centre block containing council chamber: five bays. Centre block has tall upper windows with balcony to centre three bays; rusticated ground floor. Tall tapering clock tower set above central block on low square base; pyramidal roof. Tower has panel-like raised sides, simple clock. Three small square openings below eaves to each side. Flanks of centre block of seven bays, the outer bays slightly advanced, with hipped roofs. Lower two floors have parapet roofs and project in front of end bays. Long wings, stepped down the slope in three stages, 1+11+6 bays. Flat roofs behind parapets; rock-faced plinths. Lowest blocks have SE entrance facades each of two storeys and five bays, the centre entrance bay higher and advanced, with pyramidal roof. Entrances set within giant round-arched openings with glazing above, similar to those at Cambridge University Library (by Giles Gilbert Scott). Openings have cable-mouldings. Projecting door surrounds of polished black granite within Portland stone frames. Carved and painted shields above. NE elevation stepped up slope in three two storey blocks, each slightly advanced of one another. Six bay lower block. Middle block of eleven bays with entrance within giant central opening; door surround as above. Upper block of five bays, with similar door; three bays slightly recessed to the right. SW elevation has similar upper block, its entrance with shield and date of 1939 above. Nine bay middle section, the taller pyramid-roofed centre bay containing entrance within giant cable-moulded arch, as SE elevation. Six bay lower block. NW elevation contains current entrance. Central entrance range of fifteen bays, two storeys. Upper storey set behind parapet roof as to SE. Wide centre bay with tower above, containing entrance, set within giant arch: later glazing and balcony. Five bay returns to centre block to single bays which have round-arched service entries to SE court. Range to left of nine bays; right range of eight bays with delivery doors to centre.  

Square entrance hall with flights of stairs to each side to four-sided balcony. Artificial top-lighting from central square ceiling panel raised above three stepped tiers of coffering. Landing has series of eleven murals of 1961-64 illustrating the history of the county, from the first Celtic settlement to the opening of the new bridge at George Street in 1964. Central bronze sculpture (‘Labour’) by David Evans R.A., 1929. Council Chamber to middle of central range, on upper floor: coffered ceiling and tiered light timber seating on semi-circular plan. Mayor’s parlour and office to N.  

Reason for designation
Listed as a well-designed and well-preserved major civic building, designed by a prominent early C20 architect, with a scheme of C20 municipal decoration comparable in Wales only to the murals of Frank Brangwyn at Swansea Guildhall.  

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