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Open doors at Cardiff University

26 August 2011

Cardiff University is throwing open the doors of one of its most iconic buildings to give members of the public a rare opportunity to explore its history and find out more about the ground-breaking work that goes on there.

Formally opened in October 1909, the University’s impressive Main Building is Grade II listed and a thriving focal point for the campus and the city. As part of the Civic Trust Open Doors initiative, a special open day will be held on Saturday 17th September giving Cardiff residents and visitors to the city the chance to look behind the building’s familiar exterior.

As part of the day, visitors can see first-hand some of University’s newly acquired Rare Books collection, which includes 175 incunabula (the earliest printed books from before 1500), around 500 rare Bibles and a rare set of early Shakespeare works.

There will also be an interactive children’s area with hands-on exhibits based on the human body, demonstrations and exhibitions by some of the researchers based in the building about their world-leading work and the chance for people to find out more about the courses offered by the University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning.

Main Building, which is located on Park Place, will be open to members of the public from 11.00am until 3.00pm on 17th September. During the day, two special tours of the building will be given by Jim Cowan, a professional guide from Cardiff History and Hauntings. These start at 12.45pm and 1.45pm and will last approximately 30 minutes. Tours of the Rare Books collection will run at 1.00pm-2.00pm (Welsh language) and 2.00pm-3.00pm (English language).

All tours are free and places must be booked in advance by contacting or 02920 876935. More information is available at

Visitors who would like to take a building tour through the medium of Welsh, or who have accessibility issues should contact the University’s Community Engagement Team on the email address or number above in advance.

The Open Doors initiative is organised by the Civic Trust for Wales and gives members of the public free access to visit some of the country’s most beautiful buildings and places of historic and architectural interest. This year there are over five hundred events at more than three hundred sites across Wales. The programme is Wales's contribution to European Heritage Days.


Notes to editors

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University President Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

For further information

Victoria Dando

Public Relations

Cardiff University

Tel: 02920 879074