"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 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 5th April 2019, 2pm (All welcome)

Grangetown Local History Society holds its meetings at 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: 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.

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 created an online version of the Grangetown War Memorial, to mark the centenary of World War I. It involved 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 now have a book out, It Touched Every Street based on our research and telling the stories of the men and women who died. See below for more details.

Books: It Touched Every Street which tells the story of Grangetown's war memorial and the men and women who died in World War One was published in 2018. It is available for £ 14.99 from Wordcatcher Publishing, Amazon and via the society. A 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 last one was to the prisoner of war camp near Bridgend in October 2018. 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.

Research starts for World War Two project

Following the success of our World War One centenary project, the society has started research for a project to mark the 80th anniversary of World War Two in Grangetown.

Bomb damage on the corner of Clive Street - corner of Ferry Road; click on the image to how it looks now.

As well as researching war casualties, the society also wants to tell stories of civilian experiences - from rationing, evacuation, life at school and in factories to air raids. We will be collating memories we have already gathered with local people - but want to record more memories and details of family members who served in different capacities in the war.

The eventual aim is for an exhibition and a book to coincide with the anniversary of the Blitz in Cardiff - with Grangetown and Riverside the two worst hit areas in January 1941.

We already have details of more than 150 Grangetown casualties, including civilians, who died between 1939 and 1945. We expect to discover more. There is no list of names on the Grangetown war memorial, unlike for World War One, but we hope to create an online memorial to mark all those who died.

Anyone who has any family stories or casualty details or knows someone from Grangetown who remembers the war, please get in touch on grangetownwar@yahoo.co.uk or come along to our monthly meeting.

Tribute to Paul Flynn MP

Tributes have been paid to Grangetown-born veteran Labour MP Paul Flynn, who died at the age of 84. Grangetown Local History Society added its own valediction at its recent meeting.

Paul passed away recently after a long, distinguished career as a Parliamentarian, but not many people will know he had his roots in Grangetown and was a pupil at St. Patrick's school. He was in fact a Grangetown boy who made good.

In 2011 he allowed the Society to publish an extract from his book The Unusual Suspect in which he describes the night time departure of his family doing a “moonlight flit” from rooms in Penarth Road and how when his widowed mother called Dr South of Clare Road for a home visit she had to pay two half crowns which she could not afford. But on leaving, the doctor rolled the coins down the hall asking Paul and his brother Mike to play a game.

He went on to say that the memories of his Grangetown childhood were lifelong companions, and the context against which he judged his job in Parliament later was the "painful, proud and honest poverty of working-class life" in Grangetown.

Also making a speech in Parliament, in latter years when he was temporarily promoted to the shadow front bench under Jeremy Corbyn, he remarked that he thought it a very good idea that someone over the age of 80 and who remembered things before the National Health Service should be there, and he certainly had memories of that.

His service to his constituents and country were great and he was renowned for his ironic wit. If ever we write a book about famous people from Grangetown then surely he will head the list. R.I.P.

Doug Knight, Chairman, Grangetown Local History Society, March 2019

Rugby photo preserved

A rare photo of a Grangetown rugby team winning a trophy nearly a century ago has been partially restored and placed in our archive.

The photo was bought from eBay but was in a poor state and disintegrating but has now been patched up and preserved by staff at Glamorgan Archive.

It shows Cardiff Gas Athletic RFC - the Grangetown gasworks team - who won the Mallett Cup in 1922-23. They beat Cardiff Welsh 11-5 at Cardiff Arms Park, after losing the final the previous year. The Cardiff and District rugby cup competition is the second oldest in the world and this is the only time the gasworks side won it.

It has special significance to one of our members, Keith Fruin, whose grandfather Arthur Fish - a war veteran and also ex-Cardiff City footballer - played in the game. Keith has his medal from that game but had never seen a photo before. Arthur, a carpenter who was a sporting all-rounder, also played baseball for the works side until in his 50s.

The team line-up: P Sullivan (trainer), J Snell, A Keay (vice capt), W Snell, W Silver, T Donovan, W Davies, HS Bartlett (Sec)
P Roach, A Giles, RP Jones, A Brockway (capt), A Fish, R Podd, TAL Richards
I Dunscombe, R Wyatt

Society notes: March 2019

There were 21 members present at Glamorgan Archives.

WW2 research project: It was suggested that we aim to complete the research for the spring of next year so that a book and exhibition might be prepared for autumn 2020, in readiness for the 80th anniversary of the Blitz in Cardiff in January 2021. Unlike the WW1 project, it will not just be about researching casualties but also stories of people's experiences – from our own oral interviews already gathered, evacuees, rationing, women in work, etc. It will involve collecting more family stories and memories locally. There are six volunteers for the task of researching local newspaper archives. Wartime censorship means some details might also be harder to come by.

Research:b> received an email from Mr Graham Walters thanking Aileen Thayer and Christine German for helping him to find information on his friend Terry O’Reilly (1913-1997).

University Archives:Doug had been to visit Cardiff University’s Archives and described where it was and what was in it.

RAMC request: Zena had sent a resume of the history of our society for inclusion in the magazine of The Royal Army Medical Corps.

Future of the Conservative Club: The future of the Cons Club is in doubt although its closure is apparently not immediate. Zena and Doug visited and have photographs of the inside of it. There will be some archive material which we should be able to access. Meanwhile, Zena undertook some earlier research into the original building, in Holmesdale Street, which opened in 1894. The club moved to the current building before the war. The hope is we can gather what we can before the building closes, if this is the expected outcome.

Future of Grange Gardens: A statutory notice posted in the park warning that it was to be "disposed of" was badly worded and led to a lot of unnecessary alarm. In fact, the Gardens are to be awarded Centenary Fields status, which protects it in perpetuity, together with its war memorial. The bowls pavilion has now been demolished, ahead of the building of a new community venue. Rita pointed out that the pavilion contained plaques containing the names of bowls club members, which should be preserved.

WW1: A joint talk between Whitchurch Historical Society and Cardiff University will take place at Glamorgan Archives on 11th March at 6pm. The theme is The Human Impact of WW1 on Whitchurch Hospital and is also the subject of an exhibition at the archive this month.

In memoriam: A tribute was read to the late Paul Flynn MP, who was brought up in Grangetown and the chairman read out a memorial valediction taken from Paul’s memoirs The Unusual Suspect. See above for more details. His service to his constituents and country were great and he was renowned for his ironic wit.

Books: Copies of Ray's book Island in the City, his memories of a post-war Grangetown childhood, are now available. Sales of Steve's WW1 book It Touched Every Street have been going very well, including healthy online sales.

Voices of War and Peace: We have been asked to participate in a WW1 legacy conference/event, which will take place 6th/7th July and is part of UK-wide events being organised via Birmingham University. Our WW1 project will be featured in the south Wales event - details to be confirmed.

Barry Island Station Book Festival: Zena let us know that we have been invited to take a free stall at this book festival on Easter Saturday, 20th April and she hopes to represent the society.

Cardiff Castle: Brenda recommended members consider booking for history lectures at Cardiff Castle. The dates and topics are: April 23rd and 24th: Lord Bute’s Extraordinary Clock Tower – its 150th anniversary; May 21st and 22nd: ‘Cardiff Yesterday III; October 29th and 30th: ‘1939 and All That. Cardiff Castle in the 2nd World War.; November 4th and 5th: ‘Cardiff Castle and the Marquess of Bute’. (Book launch and celebratory lecture.) Tickets to these talks cost £8.50, available either through their web site cardiffcastle.com or by phone at 0333 666 44 66 Most take place in the Education Centre although the November ones may use the banqueting hall (no disabled access).

New book tells story of Grangetown casualties

Five years of research into the men and women from Grangetown who died in World War One has been published in a book, to mark the end of the centenary of the conflict.

It Touched Every Street tells the stories of soldiers and sailors from the Cardiff suburb who were killed - and the project also found another 156 men and women who were not included on the original war memorial in Grange Gardens.

The stories include the first Welshman to be killed in World War One, within hours of the declaration of war; the first member of the Cardiff 'Pals' regiment to die, as well as the Grangetown men caught up in the major battles of the Somme, at Ypres and in the North Sea at Jutland.

It was launched at Grangetown Hub on Saturday 10th November.

The 200-page book, which includes stories and memories contributed by families, was written by Grangetown Local History Society member and local journalist Steve Duffy.

He uncovered the stories of three women who died in different circumstances directly because of the War, and also tells the story of the only Cardiff City footballer to be killed - just two days before the end of the War.

"It started off as a project to research 330 names on the war memorial but soon it became apparent that there were many other local casualties not recorded - and this in itself was an unexpected twist," said Steve. "Apart from a few mysteries which may never be solved, we now have a pretty good idea about who all the casualties were - where they lived, their families and something about their lives before they went off to war. No Grangetown street was untouched and it's worth reflecting this would have been replicated in many streets across the country."

Since the publication of the book and the postcard project, three more casualties have emerged - thanks to family getting in touch - and these have been added to the online memorial and will be included in any subsequent editions of the book.

It Touched Every Street costs £ 14.99 and is available from the society, direct from Wordcatcher Publishing, online orders add postage. or via Amazon Email grangetownwar@yahoo.co.uk. If you live locally, it may be possible to arrange for you to collect the book or for a delivery. A sister publication In Proud And Honoured Memory about the Whitchurch war memorial, by Ceri Stennett and Gwyn Prescott, is being published at the same time.

A Grangetown boyhood recalled

Growing up in Grangetown - as it changed but somehow also stayed the same, is the subject of a new book by author Ray Noyes.

Grangetown Local History Society's secretary has always been fascinated by how the area developed - and the industry surrounding it. For this book - which began life as a story of his youth in the 1940s and 1950s intended for his children - Ray returns to the streets he knew and recalls those around him.

Island In The City reflects on the quirky location of Grangetown - cut off by river and railway. His "island" became transformed, but becoming less exciting than it once was. This promises to be a gentle, anecdotal walk through two decades of a changing world seen through the eyes of a child. Expect to learn about - or indeed remember if you were around too - some of the characters of Grangetown's post-war past!

The book is available via Ray at our meetings or from Wordcatcher Publishing online, costing £14.99

Media coverage of our World War One project

There was tremendous coverage of the latter stage of our World War One commemoration - especially the postcard project.

ITV Wales ran a lovely report, talking to residents, pupils at Ninian Park Primary School - during a visit by Grangetown Local History Society, as well as society member Michelle Darby Charles. Watch the video above and read more here

The BBC Wales news website has also featured the project, talking to residents and the history society.

The Western Mail and South Wales Echo both ran double page features on the It Touched Every Street book and our poppy map. The story was also reproduced on Wales Online on Remembrance Sunday and the next day in the Daily Mirror online.

There was also another terrific video item with residents and businesses talking about their postcards, produced by the Wales Online team.

Postcard project embraced by residents

Special postcards marked the house of each Grangetown soldier and sailor who died in World War One.

More than 400 postcards were distributed to last known addresses of those who died - with current householders asked to place them in their windows, as a sign of remembrance in time for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.

Hugo - whose great-great grandfather from Grangetown died in the war - helps his family deliver postcards.

Grangetown Local History Society have researched the details of most of the 330 men on the war memorial in Grange Gardens, as well as more than 150 men and women who were omitted when it was erected in 1921.

Letters were included with the postcards to explain the idea behind the project. Each postcard included the name, regiment or ship and date of death of the casualty. And people can find out more about the casualty by looking on this website.

Thanks to members of the society for helping both collate and deliver the cards, which were kindly printed by Allens of Leckwith.

Some streets no longer exist or have no homes on them any more, so the nearest chapel, church or school will be asked to display the cards. There are a small number of casualties for which we either have no details or no address is known.

The project really caught the imagination of residents - and we had some very touching responses from those living in the former homes of soliders and sailors. Families also reacted very positively and there were cases of descendants visiting streets to take a look.

Meanwhile, postcards of the Grangetown "poppy map" - showing all the homes were casualties lived before the War - have also been produced.

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: grcarinfo@yahoo.co.uk Michelle Derby-Charles and Helen Stradling - email queries; secretary - Ray Noyes; treasurer - Alan Collier. The society cannot undertake family history research but member Aileen Thyer has offered to help with limited requests, where time allows - queries email: aileenthyer@hotmail.com

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


"A wonderful online resource that the society is building up: a series of outstandingly good and carefully researched articles on the history of the area" - 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

There is already a good online history of Grangetown on the Grangetown community website, including its medieval origins, Victorian growth and wartime and post-war memories, as well as sport, business, schools and churches - click on the photo icons above for more. See also: grangetowncardiff.co.uk community website.

There are also two published illustrated books in the Images Of Wales series by Tempus publishing, Grangetown (compiled by Barbara Jones) and Grangetown The Second Collection (compiled by Ian Clarke). Copies can be found in the local library, bookshops and you should be able to find copies on eBay or order via Amazon. Society member Ray Noyes has published a book Victorian Grangetown which looks at the building of south Grangetown, including detailed examination of construction and plans for homes, industry and notable buildings. There is also a Tales Of Old Grangetown DVD, by Ian Malcolm, which is available in local bookshops and from the central library.

Cardiff Library members can now access Victorian newspapers online from home, including the Western Mail from 1869 to 1899. You need to log on to the Cardiff e-library with your membership number and password. You can also access Ancestry.co.uk through your library membership log-in. The local studies/archives have now been re-homed in the refurbished Cathays Library. (You can reach it best by taking No 8 or 9 buses heading for Heath). Grangetown Library in Havelock Place has a selection of Cardiff history books. You can also research local history online with the National Library of Wales' free Welsh newspapers online site, for pre-1910 daily and weekly papers, with an excellent search facility.

The Cardiff Museum at the Old Library building in The Hayes opened in 2011. There are quite a few Grangetown elements to it - including stories, objects, photos and a map which shows the changing nature of the area. The museum is very hands-on and interactive and well worth a visit. It houses regular local history exhibitions, amongs other shows. It's also trying to gather memories and photos for its ongoing Collecting Cardiff project.

There is also the Glamorgan Archives, now in purpose-built facilities near to us in Leckwith, close to the new Cardiff City stadium development. You can call in to use the large reading room and users can also register for a card (bring ID). The purpose-built development has temperature-controlled archive space for documents, parish and estate records, original plans for houses and other buildings in Cardiff, as well as local directories and maps. You can also access censuses up to 1901. There are lockers for personal belongings, bring pencils not pens.

Other useful links or interesting sites for local or family history include the Glamorgan Family History Society, which is useful for those both with family connections in the area or those with just an interest in history; Cardiff Heritage ancestry.co.uk (subscription required for most services); GENUKI Cardiff, abandoned communities has details of old Temperance Town and Newtown in Cardiff. There is also a wonderful history of Penarth Docks. There's also a good blog of Keith S Robertson's 1980s photos of mostly east of the city Cardiff Before Cardiff Meanwhile, the National Library of Wales has tithe maps in its Places of Wales website here

Other local history societies in Cardiff: Llanishen Rhiwbina Civic Society Roath Rumney and there is also Butetown History and Arts Centre

© Grangetown Local History Society 2019. Updated March 3rd

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