Saturday, 19 August 2017

Cardiff Now and Then...

Regulars may remember that two of my interests are my own family history and the history of my home city of Cardiff.  I actually have over 3,500 people on my family tree - as in "get a life". A great resource for things Cardiffian is "Cardiff Now and Then".  
This is a group on Facebook, and I can really recommend it to anyone with an interest in Cardiff both present and past. Like all groups there, once you have joined you can post anything to do with the city, see what everyone else has put on - and, sometimes the most interesting part of all - read the comments, which sometimes run into dozens, as folks share their stories and views.
Some of the most fascinating and thought-provoking pictures are of the poorer parts of Cardiff. Special mention must be made of the "courts" - tiny cramped collections of humble homes squeezed in between the main streets like St Mary Street and the Hayes. My great grandparents lived in Giles Court at one point. Historians estimate that there were over 50 such courts scattered through what is now the city centre, but only one or two survive, including Jones Court off Womanby Street near the Castle, now turned into comfortable office spaces.  According to Wikipedia "Each of the original 50 houses had just two rooms, and with no water supply or drainage, the occupants fared poorly in the cholera outbreak in the city in 1849." Many of these courts would have been populated by the Irish brought in or washed up to build the docks etc as Cardiff exploded in population in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Landore Court, further south, off St Mary Street and long gone, has become rather famous - or infamous - because of a couple of photos of it which survive, and surface from time to time on "Cardiff Now and Then". These seem to capture the scene very well, and remind us of what went into, and was the cost of, the foundations of modern Cardiff.  I'll leave you with them...

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