"A diverse and compelling online resource that makes the city’s rich history accessible to everyone" - Who Do You Think You Are? magazine

"For a wonderfully comprehensive chronicle of Grangetown history since those drunken monks turned up..." - Dan O'Neill - South Wales Echo

Grangetown Local History Society meets every month in Cardiff at Grangetown Library Hub, Havelock Place, on the first Friday of month (2pm-4pm). All are welcome to come along, and bring photos and stories if you have them. Next meeting: Friday 3rd March, 2-4pm

Grangetown Local History Society holds its monthly meetings back at the Grangetown Libary Hub - in the new community room, with an adjoining cafe. Members travelling by car should note that parking is strictly limited although there are disabled spaces. Street parking is available outside in Havelock Place, also in nearby Bishop Street and North Street. There are regular No 8 and No 9/9A buses - use the stop in Clare Road.

We are a group of people interested in local history, many Grangetown born and bred, but others who have come to live in the area. We also welcome visitors, including people from overseas on a visit back to their roots! Email: grcarinfo@yahoo.co.uk

Click on the images in the map above for an online history of Grangetown

Click here for older Grangetown Local History Society news and photos

Displays: The society displays photos, slideshows and audio memories at local community events and fairs, including the annual Grangetown Festival in June. It has also taken part in local and family history fairs and exhibited at the local library.

Calendar: We publish an annual calendar, showing popular historical scenes and old photos of Grangetown past, in the run-up to Christmas. They prove popular collector's items. They are available annually from Young's grocers in Penarth Road, Clark's Pies in Bromsgrove Street and Verdi's chemist, post office and store in Clare Road, with a price of £3. Mail order options also available.

Audio history: We are involved in an ongoing audio history project, collecting memories from Grangetown people of times and people in the past. If you would like to take part - home visits can be arranged - contact us below. We are particularly interested in hearing from people with connections to north Grangetown/Saltmead.

Archive: We are always collecting photos and memories to build up our growing archive of Grangetown history. We are currently starting to digitise our archive and files of photos, which is quite a long term task. We are always interested in hearing from people with old photos. Even some old family photos can sometimes reveal something about the local area or a particular time. We can arrange to scan and return photos, as well as take digital copies.

Grangetown and World War I: We are creating an online version of the Grangetown War Memorial, in time to mark the centenary of World War I breaking out. It involves researching the details of the men on the memorial - as well as other casualties with Grangetown connections who were not recorded. A separate website has been created - www.grangetownwar.co.uk and will be updated as the project progresses. We held a commemoration event at Grange Gardens on 2nd August and held an exhibition at Grangetown Library in 2014. See below for more details.

Books: A third book Old Grangetown Memories Book Two was published in 2013. Copies are available on eBay. Old Grangetown Memories Book One was published in June 2011 and quickly sold out. There are two other books Old Grangetown Shops and Memories and Old Grangetown Memories Book Two which have also sold out but both should still available to borrow from the Central and Grangetown libraries.

Visits: We undertake occasional visits - these have included Cardiff Museum, Glamorgan Archives, Margam Abbey, Risca Museum and the Cardiff Bay Barrage. Members have also joined in research projects involving the early history of Cardiff docklands and how it came about, with the Glamorgan Archive and Parlimentary archive.

Prisoner of war details added to archive

The story of a prisoner of war from Grangetown who had been captured at Dunkirk during the Allied evacuation in 1940 is being told after artefacts were donated to the society.

Leonard Ivor Fry Smith is pictured above, aged about 38, at a party to celebrate his homecoming in 1945 in Avondale Crescent, five years after he was taken prisoner. He is highlighted in the image at the party next to a cake.

Also is a thanksgiving scroll and prayer from the Ludlow Street Methodist Church, given to the family.


Pictured before the war with his soon to be wife and on a trip to Lavernock with family and neighbours - and one of the last photos before his death in 1960, aged 53.

Known by his middle name Ivor or "Ite" - he was born in 1906, one of 10 children born to Bristol Channel pilot Lewis Smith and his wife Elizabeth from Ferry Road. At some point the family moved to 41 Clive Street, next to Parfitt's fish shop. Ivor married Irene Bird, who also lived in Clive Street, in 1937. His family were Methodists but his new wife was the daughter of the St Paul's church warden so they were married there. The couple moved to a newly-built house at 1 Avondale Crescent before war soon intervened.


His Army records and a letter about him being taken prisoner - click for larger version

Pte Ivor Smith was captured at Calais during the Dunkirk evacuation, only four days after arriving overseas, on May 26th 1940. Although he was taken prisoner, he was listed as missing and it would be August before his wife knew he was alive.

Ivor was held at Stalag 21B - or Thure - in Poland. What little he later told his family about his time there included that the camp was near Poznan and that they received Red Cross food parcels. But it appears probable he would also have been involved in a forced march with other POWs as the Russians headed into Germany, with other records also showing him at Blachownia in Poland, which was a labour camp.

Ivor's records show his service as a craftsman. One sees him with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps before during his time as prisoner being transferred to a role as a mechanical engineer with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

After the war and his return, he resumed worked for Coastlines as a driver - the job he had before enlisting in 1939. But he died at the young age of 53 in 1960.

Thanks to his daughter Lesley for the donation.

Society notes: February 2017

At the Society's February meeting, 18 members were present.

Calendars: Unfortunately, not all this year’s calendars have been sold, the cost of the remainder representing a loss to the society. This year, we did not have our usual friendly contact at the Echo, who normally provided an advertisement for them. It was wondered if the calendars should continue. It was suggested that if we are to have another edition, it should contain more photographs of people. There remains just one outstanding payment for this year’s calendars.

Cataloguing of our archive:Brenda John provided copies of the catalogue she has been creating, covering items A to C. Everyone expressed their thanks for the work she is doing and the clarity of the structure of the catalogue. It was stressed that eventually it needs to be put on line. To ensure members are able to easily access it, a training session may need to be held.

Our digitised archive: Over the years, many documents and photographs have been scanned and stored on various memory sticks. Steve Duffy suggested that for the security of this valuable archive, it should be stored in the Cloud, although this would not be free. That way, the archive may be easily accessed and is more secure than memory sticks that may become corrupted. This now needs to be investigated and a proposal made.

Grangetown Station adoption No news of the intended meeting with Arriva Trains has come to light. But it remains our intention to pursue the idea.

Grange Gardens as a ‘Commemorative Field’. The Parks Department of Cardiff City Council still hasn’t responded to our several requests for the official designation of the gardens.

The Heritage and Cultural Exchange. This is the new name of the Butetown History Society that is setting up home in the Coal Exchange and focusing on maritime history. A meeting is scheduled soon and Doug Knight mentioned he may attend, although it is pretty clear that their focus of research is not related to ours. Their intention to make it a commercial enterprise is also not similar to ours.

Closure of F A Jones’ Shop, Penarth Road: Photographs of the shop were circulated and some of the archived material available from the shop was mentioned.

Re-opening of the Grange Pub: Work to refurbish the pub has commenced and it was thought that it may open either at the end of February or some time in March. The Society will approach the new owners at an appropriate time to agree how we can assist them by providing a history exhibition of the pub.

AOB: a) The Society’ domain name for the website has been renewed for another year. b) A discussion took place on the need to ensure that members can see what is in the digitised archive and next month some parts of it will be shown using our projector. c) A copy of a plan dated 1766 showing the tithed plots within the Penheved (sic) and St Fagans land in the parishes of Llandaff and Radyr was presented to the society by Mr & Mrs Harris. It shows the extent of the Grange Farm’s land from whose archives it derived. d) The Grangetown Catholic Club has presented its archive of accounts and minutes of meetings to the Society. It is a substantial archive, dating from 1917 to the late 1970s. It will be examined to see if it is something that we wish to keep and if we can store it (it is a stack of books some two feet six inches high!) There are also five photographs showing the club’s football teams, which will be scanned and stored before they are returned.

A look back at 2016


A snowy scene by the old library off Clive Street

This year has been a busy one for Grangetown Local History Society. So much so, it is easy to forget just how much we have achieved. Here are a few of the more notable events and projects we undertook in 2016: