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Jantra

You may get your wish. With the new smoking ban there are a lot of premises (bars/restaurants etc) in the citycentre fixing awnings to the front of their premises.

As for old photo's looking more atmospheric. I've often wondered the same. I think I put my finger on it the other day when I realised that there are very few cars! I was looking at a picture of a terraced street in Cardiff from pre First World War 1 and it looked stunning. The street still exists and I couldn't understand why it looks like a bit of a sh1thole now. Of course the last 90 years may have something to do with it but to me the absence of cars parked on both sides of the street plus all the paraphenalia (signs etc) was the main reason.

Welsh American - it's good to know we have a source of info on 'old' Cardiff! Can you recall what the buildings were like on Dumfries Place (where the multi storey car park and Hyper value now are)? All I can remember is it being a grass bank. As for across the road (where Windsor House now is) I have no recollection. Also Newport Road where it meets City Road. I can vaguely remember demolition work taking place and the flats that are now there being built in the 1980's but no recollection of what the buildings were like. Many thanks in advance!
 

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The buildings on Dumphires Place were exactly like the ones on Park Place. Big brownstones, three stories, probably a little older than the ones on Park Place. Interestingly, my father worked in the old car park on Dumphries Place before that multi-story was built. It was the only work he could get after they shut down the Dry Docks.

I seem to recall an old church like structure across the road from there but I'm not exactly sure of that.

The Newport Road/City Road intersection had a hideous new brick beuilding from what I remember. There was also "Oddfellows House" but that's all I know.

I remember the Mill Lane/Bute Terrace area really well though.

I can even vaguely remember Newtown as a kid.

Just a tip for those of you in Cardiff. You can see one of the oldest dwellings in the city quite easily and I think very few people know it is there. Go south on Bute Street, under the bridge to John Street which is on your left. The old Welsh National Opera building used to be there. Take a left on John Street and then left again (still John Street, it is a right-angled street) and towrds the arches under the train tracks. On your right you will see the last remaining house of John Street. It's pretty cool to see. It's probably 200 years old and incredibly small.

One other thing. There was a great looking school on Mary Ann Street called St. Davids School. It was there until the early 70's. A beautiful old dignified building that is now long gone.

Here's an interesting story too. If you are on Bute Terrace, near the Big Sleep Hotel and walk towards the Golden Cross, you will see arches built into the building on the left hand side. Cattle used to be offloaded near here and they would be driven down Bute Terrace like it was the Wild West. They would be driven down to the abbatoir on Tresillian Terrace. The herds were so big that people would jump up into those arches and wait for the herd to go by.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
cool stories! I can just imagine now the rows of brownstones along dumfries place full of solicitors, lawyers and acountants, shame! I did see a pic of a church / convent style building on the corner of city rd / newport rd where eastgate house is.
 

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By some very weird coincidence I found an old framed photo at work of the Queen St end of Newport Rd from May 1974.

Sorry about the quality of photos of the photo - had to use a very high film speed (couldn't use the flash) and there's some reflection off the glass which I've tried to minimise by making the photos black and white.

Click on the thumbnails to view.



EDIT:
Here's a photo of the whole photo, if anyone is interested in a particular bit of the photo, I'll try and get a close-up of that area (can't promise anything though).



P.S. anyone know a good place to put these images apart from imagevenue?
 

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Welsh American - thanks very much for your response. Sometimes ignorance is bliss - the thought of the multi storey car park replacing lovely old houses on Dumfries Place is very depressing! Having said that whilst there have been some abominations committed (the most heinous in my opinion being the demolition of the Capitol, Cory Hall, Queen St station, Casa Gil!! etc that makes that end of town a bit desolate) on the whole we in Cardiff escaped the worst excesses of the 60's/70's.

I vaguely recall the area around North Road used to be full of terraced houses ( and there used to be a pub called the Hope??). Can you recall that area? Also the Plaza cinema used to be near to where the Gabalfa flyover is - I've tried to find pictures of it but to no avail - can anyone help?
 

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hmmmm

the brownstones ala Park place full of professional services firms or Dumfries Place car park....tough one that

I am never visiting this thread again, it makes me want to vomit....

those effing 60's planners
 

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I think we're all getting a bit sentimental and forgetting the reality here; it was not so much the "planners" that drove the development of large office buildings and the construction of car parks et al in the 1960s but market conditions; this was the age of "mass production" - in services as well as industry. So, you had a growing demand for large offices for single occupancy: AA tower, Pearl Assurance etc.

You also had a growing demand for car parking as people wished to make more use of the car - and don't forget this was before there was a major fuss about either CO2 or other exhaust pollutants and congestion.

So for cities like Cardiff it was the case of adapting to new economic realities: smaller firms were amalgamating and closing down; and the resulting large firms wanted large bespoke offices in 'modern' buildings. So you had empty brown-bricks, and demand for towers and car parks.

Those brown-bricks may look nice, but even today with our move back to smaller firms and niche services, they would still unlikely be best use of land in such a prime location; without the car park other parts of the city would be less viable including the small practises on Windsor Place (which I think is quite beautiful) and St Andrew's Crescent. If we hadn't adapted our city centre to big office occupiers we would have seen even more suburban monstrosities (e.g Inland Revenue Tower) and even greater reliance on cars.

We should also remember that as well as attitudes being different, technology was too - refurbs and refitting of old buildings to allow modern usage is much easier and relatively cheaper today than it was in the past. Many of the buildings we now rehabilitate are often nothing more than facades with the internal doings completely new and rebuilt. This wasn't as viable without modern techniques of keeping external walls true/proper during internal demolition.

When was the Capital actually knocked down though? Was it when they built the centre in the mid-late 80s? As by then these techniques were available and in that case its a bit of a travesty that the old building was demolished and some pastiche put up in its place. The old theatre could have been made into a centrepiece of a pretty classy shopping centre.
 

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The Capitol was the biggest movie theatre in Wales and also a concert venue. Everybody played there at one time or the other. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, you name it. It was at the east end of Queen Street where the shopping centre is now.
 

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Cambo Dai

I think we all recognise what you are saying, but the thread is just a bit of sentimental fun. I like to know how the city has evolved, to fill in blanks, recover forgotten memories. Having grown up in Cardiff in the 70's and 80's, left in the 90's and come back in the naughties I can categorically state that the city has never been better - even if a few nice old buildings have been sacrificed for a couple of eyesores. It's not really an exercise in second guessing what the city council was up to in the 60's or what the economic reality was, just a game of 'what if'.

As for the Capitol I recall the facade being sound before it was demolished but what lay behind was more or less a shell. I think it was one of the last occasions that a building of that nature was demolished, facade and all. If you recall the buildings at the southern end of St Mary St (where Life etc are know) were part demolished with just the facade propped up and covered in hoardings for what seemed like ages. This was just a short while after the Capitol was demolished. Obviously attitudes or the listing sytem had changed fairly dramatuically in just a few years.
 

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Karldiff - I remember the building you mean on St Mary St. I remember the support framework for the skeleton and the hoardings advertising the lions gate or something development. It was there when I moved to Cardiff in 1992 (and looked like it had been like that for a few years), it wasn't until around 2000 that they finally built something there.

If the Capitol was demolished in the 1980's then it is truely shameful as the technology was there to preserve the shell of the building whilst building a new shopping arcade within.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Funny how that area is unused now as well. I wonder how much space is unused (discounting the cinema) and what could be built here to bring the area back to life.
 

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In some ways I think the developers of the 80's have more to answer for than those from the 60's/70's. At least then they were building in an unashamedly modern fashion, and in some ways exhibiting ambition. I imagine that at the time the thought of putting in place a modern office block like the AA building in place of a train station that may have been looking a bit worse for wear was quite exciting, modern, progressive.

In the 80's there were a number of buildings that were nothing more than poor, cheap looking pastiche - the Capitol centre is one of the worst examples, the Bank of Wales building on Kingsway is another bad one as are the office buildings on the Canton side of Cardiff Bridge.

Public/Office buildings now seem to be contemporary which I prefer. I want my city to maintain it's past but not cling to it. I think that although the quality of many of the big building projects in Cardiff are variable they all look as though they were created in this period in time. In 70 years time architecture students with a particular interest in early 21st century buildings will be crawling all over the Bay!!

Pastiche is quite rare these days except in residential suburban housing which seems to be re-creating some sort of Georgian myth. Leaving aside market considerations it's really quite depressing that there is little or no ambition in this sector and we end up with whole suburbs indistinguishable in terms of design or materials from any other city, town or village in the UK.
 

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Why are there still patches of terraced housing on the northern stretch of Penarth Rd right across from Callaghan Square and opposite the Arriva offices! I can't believe that someone is actually living there at the moment. Walking past there yesterday it really let down the view of Callaghan Square and I can't help but think it could be a prime development area to fit in with all the other offices in the area. Anyone with more info on these houses?
 

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Penarth Road or Dumballs Road

Do you mean the ones at the top of Dumballs Road opposite Black Horse?
Half of those are boarded up (ie derelict) and the other half are currently residential (mainly by the very vulnerable I believe - there is also a drug/alcohol centre around the corner). I think that they will come down should Callaghan Square progress across this side of the road.

The houses across the road from Arriva are actually not all that bad. In fact, IMO they are a damned site better than the s**t looking Arriva building! I walk past that stinker everyday and it's as bland as they come. They entrance area is particularly without any architectural merit.

I did notice (this may be old news) that the buildings next to the temporary library (ie on the corner just before the Butetown rail embankment) now have many smashed windows (ie also look as if all tenants have been given their marching orders).
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Look at Swansea's old town hall, i think Swansea suffered most out of Welsh urban areas to WWII





Look at this 80's (?) sht of Cardiff from Penarth, look at how drab and 'heavy' it looks compared to the light airy city we live in now

 
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