Grangetown Local History Society meets every month in Cardiff in the Llynfi room at Glamorgan Archives, Leckwith 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 7th September 2018, 2pm-4pm - The meeting will be a talk on the Last Days of World War One by Don Gerrad (2pm, all welcome) Grangetown Local History Society from 2018 will be holding its meetings in Glamorgan Archives in Leckwith. There is a carpark, there is also parking at the nearby Cardiff retail park close to Cardiff City FC. The No 1 city circle bus has a stop close to the Archive opposite the Cardiff Bus garage, with the bus running down Grange Gardens (13.30 and 14.00, eight minutes) via Corporation Road, Clare Road and Cornwall Street. The No 2 City Circle returns by the same route (15.23 and 15.59 outside the bus garage). Lifts from centre of Grangetown can be arranged via the chair and secretary.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Click on the images in the map above for an online history of Grangetown
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. 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. Thanks to the diligent work of society member Brenda John, the old files of documents and photos have been collated, sorted and properly archived and the Grangetown local history archive is now available to view online Grangetown and World War I: We have created an online version of the Grangetown War Memorial, to mark the centenary of World War I. 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 is being updated as the project progresses. We are holding commemoration events and a project to mark the centenary of the end of the war later in 2018. 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. Due to changing fashions/costs, we no longer produce a calendar.
Visits: We undertake occasional visits - the next one will be to the prisoner of war camp near Bridgend on October 6th. Others 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.
Plaque remembers 150 'forgotten' war dead
More than 150 men and women from Grangetown have been honoured 100 years after they lost their lives during World War One.
Five years of research carried out by the Grangetown Local History Society discovered that the names of many people from the area who died were not included on the war memorial when it was first erected in July 1921.
The anomalies were found during research for the details of the 330 soldiers and sailors who were listed alongside their regiments or ships on the original monument in Grange Gardens.
Many details of the casualties - where they lived and worked were discovered - but then other names came to light involving dozens more who for various reasons had been missed.
Now a plaque and plinth have been added to the base of the memorial, in time for the centenary of the end of the war.
"It began with finding around 30 new names initially but it was surprising to uncover many more," said Steve Duffy, who has been researching the names for Grangetown Local History Society's World War One project.
"Some were long established families in the area with strong connections, so there is no straightforward reason why they might have been missed off. There were also three women who died directly as a result of the war in very different circumstances. We have built up an online record but it's really fitting now that their contributions are not forgotten and are remembered with the many others."
Zena Mabbs, Rita Spinola and Ray Noyes of Grangetown Local History Society
Cardiff Council in partnership with Mossfords Ltd, have now added a bronze plaque in memory of those whose "names are not recorded here" to the Grade II listed memorial. The plaque says "more than 140" and the number currently stands at 153.
Cabinet member with responsibility for bereavemen services, Councillor Michael Michael, said: "The sacrifices made by those who fought and died on our behalf should never be forgotten. This plaque ensures that, in this important centenary year, every Grangetown resident who lost their life in the service of our country is honoured in the place they called home."
The original memorial was erected using £1,000 raised by voluntary subscription by the "Grangetown War Heroes Memorial Committee" and was designed by Henry Charles Fehr (1867-1940) who also designed the dragon on City Hall. It was officially opened in front of large crowds on the fifth anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
Society notes: August 2018
Seventeen people attended the meeting at Glamorgan Archive.
WW1 Day.The chairman thanked Steve for the very long day he spent speaking to pupils of Fitzalan School about WW1 and how it affected Grangetown, as part of their day devoted to remembering the war.
WW1 Postcard Project. The postcards had been printed and received and lists of the people lost to the war, ready to be written on them, were distributed to volunteers. A letter to those householders currently living at the addresses where these men and women once lived, will now be needed, together with envelopes. A postcard version of the poppy map had also been received and will be available to give away at presentations and exhibitions.
Channel 4 and BBC. These broadcasters had been in touch, asking for volunteers with personal memories of WW2. It was remarked that the precious audio files produced by Rita may well be of use. The chairman had attended a meeting at Insole Court where it was made clear that a TV programme on the war would feature Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson whose father had been an air raid warden there. The chairman mentioned that he had loaned documents to the owners of the converted Coal Exchange, which contain photographs of the Cully Restaurant that was once there and which they intended re-opening in July. This had not happened, and he was concerned that the documents should not be lost.
Radio Cardiff had broadcast on 31st July a second interview with Ray Noyes on the history of Grangetown on the Ceri Stennett programme, this time covering the Grange School and the origins of street names. Further broadcasts are planned. The next one will probably be on the Marl and Grange Gardens. The broadcasts may be accessed by going to the radio station’s web site www.radiocardiff.org and clicking on ‘Listen Again’ where a list of broadcasts with their dates may be found.
War Memorial The vandalism at the memorial continues, with wreaths now being piled up haphazardly on one side of it and the wooden crosses in some disarray. Further attempts to have the chain and lock removed by the Parks Department will be made so that the area may be tidied up again. Unfortunately, the police did not have time to make a joint presentation to Grangetown School on the importance of not harming the memorial.
The Last Days talkAt our next meeting there will be a presentation by Don Gerrard on the last days of WW1. This will take place in the inner conference room and tea and biscuits will be available in the foyer (for a fee). We thank Glamorgan Archives in advance for helping to host this public talk.
Jewish History: It was decided that the invitation we had received to host a talk on the Jewish history of South Wales could take place in May next year. The Secretary will confirm the booking with the organisers who have now received Lottery funding for the project.
AOB: Maxwell Christie: Documents and photographs relating to a former Cardiff councillor and including photos of a St Samson's pensioners event in the 1960s - found by a correspondent in an old desk drawer in the Channel Islands - have now been forwarded to us. These need to be registered in our catalogue and scanned into our digital archive.
Mr Theo Stenstrom brought along a poem on Grangetown, written by his father, which he read out and also talked about being one of the first Fitalan HS pupils and how the school came to be named.
As part of the National Eisteddfod, a guided tour of Grangetown was to take place on Saturday 4th August at 3 pm. The tour will be in Welsh.
Open Doors: On Sunday 23rd September, as part of the Open Doors programme, Ruperra Castle will be opened to the public. The chairman described the historic significance of the castle.
Excursion to Hut 9 Prison Camp The meeting was reminded that this excursion will take place on Saturday 6th October in two sessions (depending on numbers), the first being at 2 pm and the second at 3 pm. The Secretary will confirm the arrangements and will require firm bookings and any deposits by aspiring attendees at the next meeting. Transport will need to be arranged once firm numbers are known.
House documents donated to archive
Society member Helen Stradling is donating a large quantity of original documents, relating to a house owned by her uncle in Penhevad Street in Grangetown to Glamorgan Archives.
Some more interesting parts of them are being scanned for the society's own digital archive.
They include mortgage and lease documents involving the Bute estate and the property dating back to 1895.
Michael Callaghan is pictured here with his class at St Patrick's School. He is third from the right, second row from the front.
75 Penhevad Street was bought in 1960 by Michael Callaghan. He had been a career soldier, and served in the Signals Regiment: consequently, during the war he was amongst the last to be rescued at Dunkirk, as communications had to be maintained up to the last minute.
Helen pictured with one of the documents and Michael and Gerda at their wedding.
He brought Gerda, his German war bride, to live in Penhevad Street (pictured above right), just around the corner from where all nine Callaghan children had been born and brought up, at 31 Corporation Rd.
Michael and Gerda were not blessed with children, but were a devoted couple until his death in 1983. Michael and his sister Celia Callaghan had been very close, and after his death Celia's daughter Helen Stradling took responsibility for her aunt, who was later cared for in her declining years by Helen and her sister Andrea Alexander, until their aunt's death in 2016 on the eve of her 93rd birthday.
The old FA Jones decorating store is no more. Photos of the site after demolition and one before. Sadly, the distinctive Stockdale's butcher's shop frontage on the corner was not preserved.
A couple of weeks before the sad death of society member Owen Price in November 2017, he had taken some photos of the aftermath of the demolition of FA Jones decorating store in Penarth Road, which is making way for a flats development. He passed on the photos for the society's digital archive, including a photo he took of the shop during its closing down sale. Below we reproduce an article on the store's story.
Specialist wallpaper and paint store FA Jones on Penarth Road closed its doors in 2017, after 66 years of trading. The building was recently demolished and will become flats. FIONA McALLISTER spoke to the Jones brothers about the end of an era, just before they closed their doors for the final time. Article courtesy of Grangetown News. Photos: Brian and Gerald Jones and Fiona McAllister.
The family business was established in 1951 by Frederick Allen Jones (pictured above with his wife) – succeeded by children Brian, Gerald and Jennifer Jones.
The shop was originally based on Broadway, Roath and sold fireplaces, before the decision was taken to broaden out into wallpaper and paint and sell everything to decorate the home. Brian and Gerald still run the shop (with Brian doing the buying and Gerald running the office) while Jennifer, who used to work on the shop floor, retired a few years ago.
Brian Jones said: "It’s a proper family firm and a kind of institution locally. In the time we’ve been here we’ve watched Grangetown change into a totally different place. We have very diverse customers now, with some who first came in as children still coming to buy from us".
The shop stocked more than 300 wallpaper pattern books so customers can choose and order from a huge selection of different wallpaper brands such as Sanderson, Harlequin and Colemans, with the orders arriving in store within a couple of days. They also sold paint and everything you needed to decorate a room. It was really bespoke service, with the owners always ready to give advice and answer customers’ questions on decorating.
FA Jones was originally a wholesale decorators’ merchant business and Brian and Gerald remember driving all round South Wales and the West Country in the late 1960s and early 1970s delivering orders to customers. They’d easily do 300 miles a day in their delivery van and the firm used to hold an annual dinner dance at Bindles in Barry for as many as 400 customers and staff. When the shop held its January sale customers would queue outside on the pavement from 6am for the half-price bargains, with staff taking them out cups of coffee to keep them warm in the winter weather.
At different times FA Jones had seven shops right across Cardiff before taking the decision to consolidate into one unit to compete with the DIY chain stores. Shops included the current store at Penarth Road (the head office – originally number 152) and Clare Road in Grangetown, Cowbridge Road (Canton), James Street (Cardiff Bay), Clifton Street and Broadway (Roath), Whitchurch Road and Albany Road. In its heyday the Penarth Road shop employed 13 people. Now the store is run by Brian and Gerald with the help of two part-time staff.
The corner, ornate part of the store used to be a butcher’s shop before FA Jones extended into it.
During their years in the wallpaper and paint business Brian and Gerald have seen lots of changes in decorating trends. At one time customers would buy eight or nine rolls of wallpaper to paper every wall in a room, then the fashion changed and people started using wallpaper only for chimney breasts, taking it down to two or three rolls. Now the internet has changed the market again, with like FA Jones as a library, to consult their pattern books.
"There’s nothing I haven’t seen," said Brian, explaining that fashions in home decorating come and go.
"Borders were very popular but are now out of fashion, but they’ll come back. Colours come and go and come back again".
Both Brian and Gerald live in Grangetown and will be staying in the area after the business closes. While they are looking forward to retirement after running the shop for so many years with very few days off, they say they will miss the business.
Gerald has worked in the shop for 53 years and Brian for 52 years.
"It’ll be a big wrench – all our lives we’ve worked in the business. It’s been a wonderful journey but we’ve had to work very hard” said Brian. When the shop closes, Brian is looking forward to taking a few holidays, looking after his garden and having more time to spend with his family. Gerald is a keen bowls player who plays for Cardiff and Wales Deaf teams and is hoping to be selected for a trip to New Zealand.
A queue in the snow for a January sale. Copies of the FA Jones archive photographs have also been presented to Grangetown Local History Society.
Drying tonight: Grangetown laundries
The horse and cart which helped advertise Clare Road laundry and clothes dye and mend business - it operated in premises next door to the modern-day Virdee chemist and post office.
The history of Grangetown's laundries was the subject of an illustrated talk by Zena Mabbs at the February meeting.
In the days before most homes had washing machines - and stiff collars were demanded by chapel and office - the laundry was essential, and Grangetown had several.
Zena took us on a virtual tour of the Chinese laundries at the front of people's houses in Holmesdale Street and Paget Street, to the larger businesses such as the Crystal Laundry off Clive Street and the New Era laundry on the corner of Mardy Street and Pendyris Street. Both premises were demolished to make way for new housing.
There is an online fact-sheet on the talk here - and more are featured below
Grangetown archive catalogued
Click on the image above to view the catalogue.
The documents and photos of old Grangetown collected by the history society over the years have finally been catalogued and properly archived.
The growing archive, made possible from donations and copies of originals, has been kept in filing cabinets by the society.
Thanks to the diligent work led by society member Brenda John, the bulk of the old files have been collated, sorted and properly archived and the Grangetown local history archive is now available to view online and also downloadable in Excel format
This version has already been updated - and will continue to be so as the archive and the project progresses. We hope to link to some of the images we are storing digitally in the future. It will be really useful for local people researching aspects of Grangetown or their family's history.
Grangetown history fact sheets
Ray Noyes, society secretary, and Zena Mabbs have been involved in producing some fact sheets on aspects of Victorian Lower Grangetown. Another has now been added by Ray on the building of some of Grangetown's churches and chapels and Steve has contributed one on the history of The Grange pub to mark its re-opening and 160th anniversary, while Zena and Ray have put together the presentation on Penarth alabaster, which is a feature of so much local architecture.
These have been created to print off - and have been handed out at recent meetings - and now we're starting to put some of them up on the website here, for wider interest. Click on the images above to download the PDFs . The second fact sheet on street names has been reproduced instead as a webpage here, as it is too large a document to download.
Click here for lots more Grangetown Local History Society news and photos
|The Society was founded in 1995 and has a committee; there is no membership fee and it is open to anyone who has an interest in local history, particularly, living, working or having been born or brought up in Grangetown. Doug Knight chairman; Email: email@example.com Michelle Derby-Charles and Helen Stradling - email queries; secretary Ray Noyes; treasurer Alan Collier. The society cannot undertake family history research but member Aileen Taylor has offered to help with limited requests, where time allows - queries email: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites: grangetownhistory.co.uk and grangetownwar.co.uk Postal address for mail order or to send photographs (please include your details): Grangetown Local History Society c/o 28 Llanmaes Street, Grangetown, Cardiff CF11 7LQ|