Image: Photos of locals who spent their time at The Vulcan. Wales News Service/Amgueddfa Cymru and Mr Bernard John Kane Jr./Dennis Reid/Neil Moore

Blood, sawdust and bar skittles: The pub that deserves to be in a museum

Regulars at the Vulcan share tales of the local they fought to save as work to rebuild it at St Fagans nears its end

CUSTOMERS at the old Vulcan pub on the edge of Adamsdown have been sharing memories of the pub they fought to save as work to rebuild it brick by brick at St Fagans nears its end.

More than 5,000 people signed a petition to save the pub with big names including Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield backing the campaign.

The owners offered the building to the Museum of Wales whose historic building team dismantled it and began re-building it brick by brick in St Fagans, where it will re-open in the summer selling traditional Glamorgan Brewing Co. beer.

A trip down memory lane for pub locals

To see the next image click the slideshow.

Credit: Images by Dennis Reid and Neil Moore, slideshow created by Elen Johnston using Canva.

Joan Ryan, of Grangetown, said: “I remember the blood splattered overalls of the nearby abattoir workers. A large Alsatian dog used to roam free by the outside toilets.

“It was an amazing pub and as I worked nearby, we were fortunate enough to have it as our work local. Never a dull moment in there.”

I remember the blood and sawdust. It was quite animated in there,”

said Mr Mathew Sheppard, of Fairwater.

Bernard John Kane Jr, a viola player and member of the Hillman String Quartet, performed music ranging from the 1850s to 2012 at the pub as part of the campaign to save The Vulcan. 

“We were all very passionate about The Vulcan, so much that we often drank there after rehearsals. We would be delighted to perform there once more, when the pub is back open and running,” he said.

Bryn O’Gorman said: “Back in the Sixties my colleagues and I used to work a bit later on a Monday night and after work called in at the Vulcan for a few points and a game of bar skittles and darts. It was one of the few pubs that had bar skittles situated on the counter.” 

My best memory of drinking there was when I went with my friends to celebrate my first child being born – ‘wetting the baby’s head’ as my grandad used to call it”

Dr Andrew Williams, a lecturer at Cardiff University

Michelle Moore, 62, of Ely, said: “We used to play darts there. There was live music there too and sawdust on the floor. The landlady used to buy her sausages from the Sutcliffe’s butchers for our food breaks.” 

“The landlady’s elderly mum made the most amazing sausage mash and onion gravy – it was fabulous,” said Alwyn Evans.

The place was magnificent. The 1960s lock-ins and 4am fry-ups were epic,”

said Colin West

Nigel James Mace was a fireman from the station up the road from the pub.

“I used to pop in after work and there was always a good atmosphere in The Vulcan on international days with choirs and singers in attendance.

“My son Neil was a student for a couple of years as the pub was closing and used to organise quizzes.”

The history of the pub


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The pub was built on Adam Street in 1853 and dismantled in 2012 to make way for parking spaces.

In 1915 the building was remodelled with its distinctive tiled front. St Fagans chose this period for its museum interpretation so the interior will follow architectural plans from this period.

In this period, there were no tables and chairs, the floor was covered in sawdust, drinks were served through a hatch in the passage, and there was a booth for people to fill their own bottles and jugs with beer to drink at home.

In 1940, the bar counter became smaller to make more space and over the years it became a popular pub for playing darts.

The Vulcan’s new location