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Bradshaw’s Guide

Cardiff Castle from the southeast, Cardiff, Wales. Taken between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900. Original: Library of Congress


Cardiff, a borough town, and capital of Glamorganshire, is built on the east bank of the river Taff or Tay, near its entrance into the mouth of the Severn. The inhabitants carry on a considerable trade with Bristol, and export a great quantity of wrought iron and coal to foreign parts.

The new Bute Docks, made on a tract of waste land, by the Marquis of Bute, who is lord of the manor, are about one mile below the town, deep enough for ships, with a basin of one and a half acres and an entrance 45 feet wide. A ship canal 1,400 yards long, 67 yards wide, runs up to the town. The coal and iron of Merthyr Tydvil and the neighbourhood are the chief exports, and the quantity almost doubles itself every two or three years.

There are remains of the town walls, with the Norman keep, 75 feet high, of the Castle, in which Robert Curthose (i.e., short legs), died in 1133, he having been imprisoned there for life by his brother, Henry I. The parish church is very old, and has a good tower. The new Town Hall, just built by H. Jones, is a handsome Italian pile, 175 feet long, including a police court, merchants’ hall, corporation room (71 feet by 36), crown court, judges’ and other rooms, and a nisi prius court. There is also a large county gaol.

Within a short distance are — Hensol, which belonged to Lord Chancellor Talbot; and Wenvoe Castle, the seat of R. Jenner, Esq., with a front of 374 feet.

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