Directions: Returning to the Temple’s Reception, the Hall of Nations is directly through the steel doors at the top of the steps.
Known over time as the ‘Hall of Nations’, ‘Hall of Justice’ and ‘Marble Hall’, the Temple presents ‘a magnificent edifice’ with walls faced in Trani Mirabelle marble in Dove Grey, to symbolise the dove of peace. With a length of 73 feet, width of 44 feet and height of 32 feet, eight square majestic Ionic fluted columns in black and gold marble form side aisles, between which hang pendulous Art Deco light fittings in glass and bronze, suspended by heavy green cords.
The richly coffered ceiling is picked out in dove grey, emerald green, earth and gold. The floor is paved in Roman Travertine squares of grey and gold. The great hall is invisibly heated by means of panels in the walls and floors, conducted through the marble facings and radiated throughout. Concealed above the entrance to the Temple is a (former) Organ Chamber overlaid by a Staybrite Steel grille; the Hammond Organ, originally installed in 1938, remains within the basement of the building.
The Hall of Nations has been a community space for generations, hosting regular events from international delegations and debates, to conferences, weddings and even film shoots… (you may recognise it from Doctor Who or ‘His Dark Materials’)! The Founders intended it to be a place and a space to bring together the people of Wales, whilst also generating an income to the ‘peace’ occupants of the Temple in furtherance of their mission: from the Welsh League of Nations in the 1930s, to the WCIA’s Venue Hire today.
When the Temple opened, it was greatly acclaimed not just in Wales, but in the global architectural press. Designer Sir Percy Thomas was awarded the 1938 Royal Empire Medal for his work on the Temple and on Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall, although due to the outbreak of WW2, the medal was presented in 1946. On the opening day, the Western Mail carried a magnificent centre spread featuring Wales’ new ‘Hall of Nations’:
Founder David Davies of Llandinam
Above the main door to the Temple, overlooking proceedings to this day, is a bronze bust of Temple founder Lord David Davies, by 1930s sculptor Sir Goscombe John. It was presented in 1935, following his elevation to the peerage, in recognition of his contribution to peace and Welsh public life.