Cardinal Vaughan at the Opening of St. Paul’s, Tyndall Street.

The solemn opening of St. Paul’s New Church, which took place amongst the most brilliant accompaniments, marks a distinct missionary advance in Cardiff. On looking at the fine commodious new building and the teeming population around it who form its congregation, we involuntarily contrast the long low schoolroom, which for so many years has done duty there as a church, with the lofty, capacious and well–lighted structure recently raised, at the same time rubbing our eyes and wondering how the long–suffering people have put up for so lengthened a period with their make–shift sanctuary. For many years and through many a disappointment the most compact Catholic congregation in Cardiff have been looking forward to the erection and opening in their midst of a church worthy of the name, and we now congratulate them and Father Butler on the realization of their hopes.
It is now well nigh seventeen years since Bishop Hedley, then Coadjutor to the Right Rev. Dr. Brown, O.S.B., opened the School Chapel in Tyndall Street, on September 12th, 1876. The new Church opened last month is not likely to be soon superseded: it has come to stay. Its solid medieval–like substructure, which strikes some fifteen feet into the ground and fills foundation–trenches about six feet deep, tells us that its builder has looked to the future. The exterior walls are built in blue Pennant stone, with Bath and Radyr stone dressings. The size of the Church is about 80 feet long by about 51 feet wide; sanctuary, 24 feet by 20 feet, with sacristies, confessionals and baptistry.
The accommodation is for 600, with 200 additional in the gallery, and the cost about 3,000. The altar has been transferred from the old to the chancel of the new church, where Mr. Milsom, of Cardiff, has had full space to carry out the original ideas of the designer, Mr. C.J.Jackson. Caen stone has been used in its construction. Beneath the slab is a central figure of the Lamb, and on either side are represented St. Peter and St. Paul, St. Bridget and St. Patrick. In the upper portion foliated tracery is introduced, leading up to the figure of the pelican, used to typify Our Saviour’s sacrifice for the salvation of men. In two niches on either side of the altar are placed statues of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph. On the right of the chancel is to be erected a marble altar given by the late Mrs. Primavesi. The baptistry is approached by a very fine pair of wrought–iron gates, presented by Mr. D. Morgan, of Canton, whilst inside is a rose window of stained glass, by Hardman & Co., of Birmingham, with the subject, the “Baptism of Christ.” A gallery has been erected for the choir, a non–Catholic gentlemen has promised an organ. Mr. Stack, of Bute Terrace, who presented the splendid pulpit in St. David’s Church, Charles Street, has made a similar gift to St. Paul’s. The Stations of the Cross will be supplied by a Belgian firm, another gentleman, also non–Catholic, having contributed 200 towards their erection. The windows throughout are fitted with lozenge–shaped panes of toned glass, while the gas appliances are supplied from Singer & Co.
The proceedings in connection with the opening on Tuesday must have realised the highest expectations of Father Butler and his friends. The weather was gloriously fine, and everything passed off successfully. The Mayor (Mr. W.E. Vaughan) was present, with a large attendance representative of the corporation and other public bodies. The streets in the locality were gaily decorated with streamers and flags. They were crowded from early in the morning, and wore all day a festive appearance. An enthusiastic reception was given to his Eminence, who wore the Cardinal’s red hat and other insignia of his office, and drove up in a carriage and pair, with Father Cormack as Chaplain. The members of the Cardiff Hibernian Society, with contingents from Cadoxton and other outlying districts, and the schoolchildren, dressed as on Corpus Christi Day, met the Cardinal in Herbert Street, preceded by the Mechanics’ Band, the Hibernian Drum and Fife Band being also in the procession: a guard of honour walked on either side of the Cardinal’s carriage. A detachment of the Cardiff Police Force, under the command of Mr. Head–constable McKenzie, and of the Bute Dock staff, under Superintendent O’Gorman, were also in attendance.
The Church was well filled some time before eleven o’clock, the hour fixed for the commencement of the service. The sanctuary was beautifully adorned with ferns, flowers and plants from Cardiff Castle. The music of the Mass (Haydn’s No. 4) was exquisitely rendered by the choir of St. David’s, Charles Street, supplemented by some members of the St. Paul’s Choir. Mr. Bane’s String Band supplied the orchestra. The Rev. Monsignor Williams had charge of the musical arrangements, and conducted in the gallery. Miss Moloney presided at the organ. The Bishop first entered the church, and proceeded to the side chapel, where, after reciting the usual prayers, he assumed the episcopal vestments, and, having blessed the Church, with his attendant priests, passed on to the altar to celebrate Pontifical High Mass, Coram Cardinali (‘In the Presence of the Cardinal’). Soon afterwards his Eminence and the clergy slowly proceeded up the central aisle. The Cardinal wore his red Cappa Magna with Biretta, and walked under a gorgeous canopy…

From the unsigned report in 'St. Peter’s Chair', Vol. VI. – No. 69, Cardiff, September, 1893

All of the above events, so full of the joy and hope of a young and vibrant community, took place on Tuesday 29 August, 1893.
On 22 October, 1967, about a year after a compulsory purchase order had led to the dispersal of the people of Newtown to make way for development, Holy Mass was said in St. Paul’s for the last time. The abandoned church became the target of vandals and was eventually demolished.

The Green Dragon No 4, autumn 1997