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Butetown, Cardiff

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Map ReferenceST17SE
Grid ReferenceST1800074000
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCardiff
Old CountyGlamorgan
Type Of SiteTOWN
PeriodPost Medieval
The strip of land between the length of the Glamorganshire Canal sea pound (nprn 400534) and Bute Road was laid out as housing for 'white collar' dock workers and management by the Bute estate in the 1850s. By the twentieth century the fabric had deteriorated and the area had become populated by dockers and seamen's families from throughout the world, popularly known as 'Tiger Bay'. During World War Two, although the centre of Cardiff escaped the extensive bomb damage inflicted on other cities, the docks, at that time the biggest coal port in the world, were an important target and large parts of nearby Butetown were destroyed. In the 1960s the City Council cleared the whole area but retained the Butetown community in temporary accommodation while new housing was built for them on much the same grid plan and retaining the Bute-inspired street names.
Some original housing survives south of James Street, notably Windsor Esplanade (Rat Island) now overlooking the unchanging waterline of the newly-styled 'Cardiff Bay'.
Sources include: A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of South East Wales, AIA, 2003.
B.A.Malaws, RCAHMW, 16 December 2003.