Monday, 21 June 2010

Listing for the Vulcan is ruled out

The heritage minister, Alun Ffred Jones, has ruled out listing the Vulcan.

He wrote: “In the case of the Vulcan pub, although there is this historic interest, particularly in the association with the former Newtown area of Cardiff, the linkage is more local in nature and not of natural significance.”

“I support the concept of recognising buildings which have a local importance, such as the Vulcan, and the development by local authorities of local lists if they so wish.”

Read the full article at Your Cardiff here.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Vulcan in Buzz Magazine

A big thanks to Buzz Magazine for giving us a
write up and a nice picture in this month's magazine.

(We pinched the picture from Facebook and I am not sure who took it - if it was you get in touch and we will make sure we give you a big plug!)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

A message from the new landlord and lady of the Vulcan

Message from new Vulcan landlord and landlady Gwyn and Sandra:
When David asked me to write a few words, I was at a loss as to where to start,then I remembered what my father said, always start at the beginning.
So the beginning for my wife Sandra and I will be June 1st when we move into the Vulcan. We are Cardiffians, Sandra born and bred, born in Splott and lived last in Fairwater. I was born in Merthyr, moved to Cardiff at 18 and became a naturalised Cardiffian after living there for 33 years. We moved to Tredegar in 2007 to take on The Railway Tavern and we have enjoyed 3 years of success and met some wonderful people and made some good friends.
Now we face a new adventure, taking on such a prestigious pub as The Vulcan. We know that there has been a strong campaign for the pub to remain open and we hope that this will continue as we would love to be there for longer than the proposed 2 years.
We are both aware of the high regard that Liz is held in, we understand she has been a symbol of the Vulcan for many years and feel we have a huge job to fill her boots, we also are aware of the deep affection that is felt for Liz and hope that we will be able to eventually gain the respect of the people who frequent the pub, obviously we know that respect has to be earned and we will do our best to maintain the character and the ambience of the pub.
There is so much more to say but I am aware that I need to keep this short, Sandra and I look forward to meeting all involved in the campaign and the regulars drinking in the pub, we will be open at noon on Wednesday June 2nd and look forward to seeing everyone in due time.
Sandra and Gwyn Lewis.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Save the Vulcan @ CDFBlogs

Last night saw some of the Save the Vulcan team attend the second Cardiff Blogger event where Rachel had been asked by Ed Walker from Wales Online's YourCardiff to give a guest talk on the Save the Vulcan blog.

She did a fantastic job - see for yourself thanks to YourCardiff:

It was a great event: really good to put faces to names and hopefully demonstrate that blogging (and social networking in general) can and does make a difference.

You can read the write up on YourCardiff here.

And on the Guardian Cardiff Blog here.

A big thanks needs to go to Ed from YourCardiff and Hannah from the Guardian Cardiff Blog for inviting us along and to Rachel for doing such a great job! Also a big thanks to everyone who came over to say hello and all of your new followers on Twitter!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

New Faces at the Vulcan!

Great news! Brains has now confirmed that the tenancy of the Vulcan will be taken over Gwyn and Sandra Lewis from June 2. The couple currently run the Railway Tavern in Tredegar.

Today's article at WalesOnline has more details.

This is fantastic news for all Vulcaneers, not least because Gwyn says he fully intends to keep the Vulcan going even after its current lease runs out!

Sunday, 9 May 2010


The Save the Vulcan campaign has called off the demonstration planned for 15 May 2010

Brains have announced that they’re “absolutely confident that the pub will remain open when Liz Smart, who has done a fantastic job, moves on”.

Save the Vulcan campaigners had planned the demonstration amid fears the Victorian watering hole would close following the departure of landlady Liz Smart at the end of May 2010.

Save the Vulcan campaigner Rachel Thomas said, “I’m delighted Brains have given us firm reassurance that the Vulcan will remain open. We’re looking forward to working with Brains in the coming months to secure the long term future of the Vulcan”.

Save the Vulcan campaigner Willy Downie added, “I’m glad Brains have come out with this statement. It’s a big relief! We’re all going to miss Liz, she’s been a legendary landlady!”

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

A positive response from Brains

We have now received contact from Brains who have reassured us that they are doing everything they can to keep the pub open and running. Expect to hear more soon but in the mean time here is today's article from Ed Walker published on the Western Mail's Your Cardiff website:

Brains offers reassurance ahead of Vulcan protest

Save The Vulcan pub campaigners may call off a planned demonstration on The Hayes after Brains brewery offered assurances that a new landlord would be found.

The campaign group had put out publicity stating its intention to march on the company’s headquarters on Saturday 15th May 2010.

A statement from Philip Marden, Brains area manager, said: “Please be assured that we’re doing everything we possibly can to keep the Vulcan open. We have been active in our search for replacement tenants and while we’re not yet able to confirm who will be taking over the tenancy, we can say that we are absolutely confident that the pub will remain open when Liz Smart, who has done a fantastic job, moves on. Commercial contracts are by their nature confidential but as soon as we’re able to release some detail we will.

“As everybody knows we opposed the Compulsory Purchase Order in the first place. As a pub operator and brewer it’s absolutely in our interest to keep this pub, and indeed all our other pubs, open and trading.”

David Wilton, speaking on behalf of the campaign group, said: “Since this afternoon we’ve had numerous emails and phone calls from Brains. They have given us reassurance that a new landlord will be found, but can’t tell us a date. We will meet tonight and decide if the protest is still going ahead.”

Read the full article here.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Save the Vulcan - DEMONSTRATION

It’s time for action now. The Vulcan’s legendary landlady Liz Smart is leaving the Vulcan at the end of May. Liz has been a fantastic landlady and will be very sorely missed.

Brains must now find a new landlady / landlord to take Liz’s place. We wrote to Brains twice in April (7th and 20th April) to try and find out what’s going on. We also chased our emails with phone calls. Brains have not responded.



Join us to demonstrate and Save the Vulcan.
Saturday 15 May 2010.
12 noon – assembly in the Hayes (outside Cardiff Central library)
1pm – march to Brains brewery
3pm – drinks and speeches in The Vulcan

Why are we demonstrating?
The current Vulcan landlady is leaving the Vulcan at the end of May. Brains have done nothing to replace her, and have not responded to any of our letters / phone calls / emails.

What do we want?
A secure future for the Vulcan. A new landlord / landlady must be found immediately. Brains must act now.

Why should I demonstrate?
THE PUB COULD CLOSE ON 31 MAY 2010. We must put pressure on Brains now to find a new landlord / landlady.

What should I bring?
Bring placards, whistles, t-shirts, and people!

How do I get there?
Train to Cardiff Queen Street or Cardiff Central station. Bus numbers 1, 2, 8, 9, 9A, 11, 52, 52A, 55, 57, 57B, 58, 58B, 92, 93, 94, Baycar.

How can I find out more?
Join our Facebook group ‘The Vulcan Cardiff: we loves it’. Call or text Rachel on 07961704829 or David on 07841366144

Why should the Vulcan be saved?
Built in 1853 (long before Brains was founded in 1882!), the Vulcan is one of Cardiff’s oldest pubs. A true spit and sawdust experience, this Victorian gem is one of a kind in Cardiff. More than 5,000 people signed the petition to save it. The current landlady is leaving at the end of May 2010 and it’s up to Brains to act now, and find a replacement. ONLY BRAINS CAN STOP THE VULCAN CLOSING IN 2010.

Don’t let Brains call last orders in Cardiff’s best boozer.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Changing faces at the Vulcan

Vulcan landlady Liz Smart (above with Radio 2's Jeremy Vine) is leaving the Victorian watering hole after 18 years. The landlady is likely to leave the pub at the end of May.

Vulcan landlady Liz Smart said, “I’d like to thank all the customers, especially the campaigners. I feel awful about leaving.

“It’s great to know the pub will be staying open after I’ve left. Business is very good at the moment, with all the students, darts teams and new people coming along to find out what the Vulcan is all about. We’ve just had a really successful 6 Nations, and the online campaign to save the Vulcan has been fantastic.

“Regrettably, I have to leave because I’ve bought another property. Business is very good here, but it’s hard running two households. The right person will make a very good living here.

“I’d also like to thank the developer Rapport for giving the Vulcan extra time to the people of Cardiff, and I’d like to thank Brains for supporting the campaign to save the pub. And of course, I’d like to thank my family and all the old and new customers that have supported me.

“I believe the Vulcan, like Star Trek, will live on forever. Beam me up!”

Save the Vulcan campaigner David Wilton said, “This is a very sad day for the Vulcan. Liz has put her heart and soul into this pub, and she will be dearly missed. I am however optimistic about the future, and am excited about the new ideas the next landlord will bring. The Vulcan’s busier than ever and is showing no signs of slowing down!”

Vulcan campaigner Rachel Thomas added, “We’ve heard very positive messages from Brains that they’re seeking to replace Liz as soon as possible, and I would urge anyone interested to contact Brains. The Vulcan’s served Cardiff for the past 157 years, and I’d like to see it win CAMRA pub of the year in 2050! The Vulcan is not closing”.

The Vulcan Hotel in Adamsdown is under threat of demolition to make way for a multi-storey car park. Following a petition of 5,000 names, the Welsh Assembly’s Petitions Committee has recommended the Government:

“considers the introduction of guidance, or legislation if necessary, to allow the protection of buildings that are of importance for social and cultural reasons”; and
“consults with Welsh local authorities and the WLGA with a view to strengthening the powers available to local authorities to prevent the demolition of buildings that meet the criteria for local listing”.

Whilst the pub has been granted a short reprieve, campaigners are still fighting hard to ensure the pub remains part of the landscape – in the heart of Cardiff, where it belongs.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Wales needs law to save 'cultural' buildings

From the BBC website - full article here:

Buildings in Wales with a "social or cultural significance" should have new laws to help campaigners protect them, say Assembly Members.

The assembly's petitions committee cited the campaign to save Victorian-era Cardiff pub The Vulcan Hotel as an example of why new powers were needed.

A 5,000-name petition helped the Vulcan land a three-year demolition reprieve.

AMs said heritage body Cadw showed willing to protect it but could not do more without risk of legal challenges.


Christine Chapman, chair of the assembly's petitions committee, said: "It is clear that Cadw showed willing in trying to protect the Vulcan, even asking the campaigners to find out more information and resubmit an application after the first attempt was turned down.

"But it is also clear that Cadw reached the end of its remit and simply couldn't do any more without running the risk of legal challenges on the grounds of the building not meeting specific criteria.

"The committee was told that there is some new heritage protection legislation which would tighten up laws in England and Wales but that that legislation, at the time, had not been allocated a slot for debate in Parliament."

Below is our reaction to the Assembly report:

Today, the National Assembly for Wales’ Petitions Committee released the report ‘Save the Vulcan: Protection of historic buildings’.

The report is a response to a petition of 5,000 signatures calling to save the historic Vulcan Hotel from demolition.

Save the Vulcan campaigner Rachel Thomas said, “We are pleased the Assembly’s Petitions Committee took time to examine our petition. However, this is by no means the end. This is just the beginning of the Vulcan campaign, and our aim is to see the Vulcan thrive for another 157 years.

“The fate of the Vulcan now lies in the hands of the developer Derek Rapport, and we strongly urge Mr Rapport to comment immediately on the future of this Victorian watering hole.

“According to the BBC, pubs in Wales are closing at the rate of five a week. The Vulcan should not be allowed to become a statistic.

“We strongly urge the Welsh Government to act on the report’s recommendations as soon as possible”.

Save the Vulcan campaigner Graham Craig is keen to see strengthened powers for Cardiff Council to prevent the demolition of buildings that meet local listing criteria. Graham said, “The Vulcan must be protected, and listing the building is the best way to do this. We understand why the Vulcan cannot be listed under Cadw’s current criteria, but the Welsh Government and the WLGA must now move swiftly to introduce legislation to protect buildings which are socially and/or culturally important”.

Local architect Jonathan Adams said he could see no reason why the Vulcan could not be incorporated into a future redevelopment of the site, and that it would pose an exciting architectural opportunity.

Save the Vulcan campaigner David Wilton added, “Don’t forget to visit the Vulcan during the 6 Nations. The atmosphere is unrivalled, and the beer’s pretty good too!”

The Vulcan is the only building to survive from the area formally known as Newtown.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Demolish the Vulcan - a response

Needless to say we were a bit shocked to read an article entitled 'Demolish Vulcan, says man who fought to save it' in Friday's Echo. You can read the full article here but this is the gist of it:

A FORMER Save the Vulcan campaigner has called for the pub to be knocked down, claiming it has lost its “heart and soul”.

Former steelworker Alan Grainger has been drinking at the historic watering hole for almost 50 years.

But now he thinks it should be pulled down – just eight months after it won a three-year reprieve.

The self-proclaimed poet claimed “hardcore” locals had been driven out by students and do-gooders who jumped on the “bandwagon” to save the bar.

“I started the campaign off writing letters to the Echo.

“I was agitated because it was going to be demolished,” the 73-year-old said, adding: “For someone like me to say it should be knocked down – that’s the opposite of what I have said before and what I have fought for.

Mr Grainger claims that hardcore locals have been driven out of The Vulcan by “students and do-gooders”. He also says the pub was “almost empty” one Friday night. He can't have it both ways: if students really are driving locals out then where were they that Friday night? The reality is that the vast majority of 'Vulcan virgins' greatly appreciate The Vulcan's regulars – their friendliness and stories of Cardiff past are part of what makes The Vulcan unique.

Mr Grainger claims to have started the campaign to save The Vulcan by writing letters to the Echo. Without doubt the Echo played a vital part in the campaign, spreading the word far and wide. However, letters to the local paper do not in themselves make a campaign. The 'students and do-gooders', as Mr Grainger calls us, spent hours handing out flyers, arranging a public meeting, speaking to local politicians, organising a demo at the Senedd, researching and submitting an application to Cadw, writing to Cardiff celebrities, giving evidence to the Assembly Petitions Committee.

Without the students and do-gooders signing the petition and spreading the word the campaign would not have had the same weight with neither the Echo nor with local politicians. The same students and do-gooders begged for anyone interested to get involved. Not once did Mr Grainger contact the campaign.

Yes, more people from different backgrounds are drinking at The Vulcan than a few years ago. But for The Vulcan to have the best chance of extending its life still further, it needs customers and it needs people who love it. Age and background should be forgotten in the battle to keep one of Cardiff's gems from the bulldozers' grasp.

Rather than claiming The Vulcan has lost its “heart and soul” perhaps Mr Grainger should set about re-locating his own.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A quick plug for The Hillman Quartet

A quick plug for some old friends of the Vulcan, The Hillman Quartet (formerly Orion IV).

You can see them at:

St Cuthbert’s Church, Pomeroy Street, Cardiff Bay
Friday January 29th 2010 – 7.30pm
Tickets: £6 - includes free glass of wine. (Tel: 07968 390 518).

You can also listen to the band's previous vist to the Vulcan here.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to one and all!

From WalesOnline - What will change the profile of South Wales in 2010:

The Vulcan

Can Cardiff’s much loved tiled Victorian drinking spot survive another decade on its own in Adam Street?

The immediate pressure is off the 157-year-old boozer thanks largely to the global credit crunch. But an economic recovery before the end of the decade is likely to see owner Derek Rapport’s high rise dreams and schemes back in front of Cardiff Council’s planning department sharper than anyone can say Glass Needle.Chances 7/10A drama village at Roath BasinPlans to regenerate the last undeveloped area of Cardiff Bay have remained stuck in the starting blocks throughout the Noughties. And with the proposed BBC drama village rumoured to be facing opposition in the broadcaster’s corridors of power, this remains an uncertain proposition.Chances 4/10International Sports VillageAlthough the ambitious pre-crunch plans may never see the light of day again, interest in developing this prime patch is likely to grow again.Swiss businessman Chris Odling-Smee is leading the way with his plans for a five-star hotel in a 130m-high tower next to his successful Cardiff Marina. Others are sure to follow.Chances 7/10old boozer thanks largely to the global credit crunch.

But an economic recovery before the end of the decade is likely to see owner Derek Rapport’s high rise dreams and schemes back in front of Cardiff Council’s planning department sharper than anyone can say Glass Needle.

Chances 7/10