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Historic chapel re-emerges for the first time in 50 years

27 Jul 2023 2 minute read
Bethany Chapel (Credit: Cardiff Council) / Howells (Credit:

A chapel which has been hidden for decades has been revealed as part of ongoing works at the former Howells Department Store in Cardiff.

The new image reveals the front facade of the historic Bethany Chapel in all its glory as work continues to take place to prepare the building for regeneration and reuse, which will be subject to obtaining further consents.

The chapel which has been obscured from view for around 50 years was built in 1865 and replaced an earlier chapel from 1807.

Previously when Howells was trading, the ground floor of the front facade was visible within the men’s tailoring department, with the ground floor occupied by footwear, the first floor was within Ladies clothing, with cast iron columns and decorative plasterwork visible. The attached Sunday School has a large balconied assembly hall, which was not part of the public store, having being used for storage only.

The chapel was listed by Cadw at Grade II* along with the rest of the department store in 1988.

Cllr Dan De’Ath Cabinet, Cardiff Council Member for Strategic Planning and Transport said he was pleased that the former chapel and attached Sunday school will be protected and celebrated as Howells regeneration project moves forward.

“Bethany Chapel is a fascinating building that has been hiding in plain sight within the department store. The building has historical significance, and the architecture is stunning, so I am very pleased that the building is now being revealed in all its glory.

“Council officers are working closely with developers Thackeray Estates to ensure that redevelopment plans reveal and protect the most historically and architecturally significant elements of the former store, with as much public access as possible, so that it can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Antony Alberti CEO of Thackeray Group said: “We have an amazing opportunity to initiate the transformation of Cardiff by creating a new heart to the city. Howells is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to breathe new life into one of Wales’s most iconic assets.”

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