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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 April, 2005, 06:46 GMT 07:46 UK
Recognition for Gothic architect
Cardiff Castle
The redesigned castle was one of Burges' Victorian creations
A campaign to recognise the architect who helped shaped much of Victorian Cardiff has been launched.

William Burges transformed Cardiff Castle and created Gothic folly Castell Coch, but his legacy also influenced swathes of the city.

The council wants Burges' name linked to Cardiff in the same way as Charles Rennie Mackintosh's is with Glasgow.

As the city celebrates its centenary in 2005, civic leaders say it is time Burges is given the credit he deserves.

Burges' work flourished more than 125 years ago under his patron, the 3rd Marquis of Bute, who made his fortune from coal and owned a third of the land in the city.

The architect was responsible for the ornate clock tower which fronts the Cardiff Castle, the animal wall and the elaborate, gilded interiors which transformed the castle into Gothic splendour in the late 19th Century.

Castell Coch
Castell Coch was completely rebuilt by Burges

The council has put together a series of themed events about the architect this year, including a Burges walk, seminars, a visit to the renovated Park House and a national conference on Victorian architecture.

Matthew Williams, curator of Cardiff Castle, said the architect has not had the appreciation he deserved

"People think just of the castle or Castell Coch when they think of Burges, but he played a much larger role in the development of the city," he said.

The Bute family wanted the same high standards for the rest of Victorian Cardiff, he added, and the architect's influence could be seen in the stylish grand terraces of Cathays, Canton and Pontcanna.

"There were never any slum clearances in Cardiff, like there were in Liverpool, because the building was of such a high quality," said Mr Williams.

Cardiff's executive member for sport, leisure and culture, Councillor Nigel Howells, said Burges' influence could be seen everywhere, and the centenary year was an ideal opportunity to celebrate his contribution to Cardiff.

Park House, Cardiff
Park House has now been turned into a private members' club

"People want to learn more about the city and see the drivers that created it. We want Burges to become to Cardiff like Mackintosh is to Glasgow," he said.

The strategy has formed part of the plans to make Cardiff Castle - the city's biggest paid-for attraction - more accessible to the general public.

But Professor Richard Weston of the Welsh School of Architecture in Cardiff said it was unlikely that Burges would become as popular as the Scottish architect around whom an entire industry of reproduction has been built.

Burges was an "extremely good architect", he said, but did not have the same mainstream accessibility nor were there enough examples of his work.

"Probably Burges is not as easy to stylize and adapt (as Mackintosh is), but clearly there are elements of Burges that are appealing," Prof Weston added.


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