Centenary walk plaque

Cardiff’s Centenary Walk takes in some of the city’s most celebrated and historic landmarks, as well as some well-kept secrets. Whether you’ve lived in Cardiff all your life, or are a welcome visitor, you’re sure to learn something you never knew before.

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Welsh National War Memorial
Cardiff Market
St Mary Street/High Street
Friary Gardens

Let’s Go for a Walk…

The Old Library

This building opened in 1882 as a “Free Library, Museum and School of Arts”. The Welsh inscription high up on the south end of the building means “He will not be wise who will not read”.

If you look back at the building from the entrance to the churchyard you’ll notice that the building isn’t quite symmetrical. Part of it was demolished to allow the road to be widened for traffic.

St John’s Churchyard

As you walk through the churchyard to the next stopping point look out for the brass numbers on the pavement. They mark family burial plots.

Cardiff Market

The Market was built by Solomon Andrews, a local entrepreneur, and became known as Solomon’s Temple. Ashton’s Fishmongers, just inside the entrance, was one of the original 349 traders when it opened in 1891. The market is partly on the site of the old County Gaol and the gallows stood at the far end. This is where Dic Penderyn was publicly hanged on 13th August 1831 for his alleged part in the riots in Merthyr over working conditions.

Have a look inside. The Market has a galleried hall with cast iron and glass roof and a decorated clock tower in the centre. Some of the stalls have their original cast iron numbers.

Now bear right towards the church.

St John’s Church

This is the oldest church in the city centre and apart from parts of Cardiff Castle is said to be the oldest building in Cardiff still in constant use. It was founded at the end of the 12tth century and rebuilt in the perpendicular style in the 15th century. After the 1607 floods, which destroyed the original parish church of St Mary’s, St John’s became the town’s principal church.

Inside you can see a memorial to Sir John Herbert, private Secretary to Elizabeth I and James I, and his brother Sir William Herbert, deputy lieutenant of Glamorgan and one of the leaders of gang warfare that dominated pre-Elizabethan Cardiff. The beautiful stained glass includes pieces by William Morris, Ford Maddox Brown and Edward Burne Jones.

The Owain Glyndŵr

This is one of the oldest inn sites in Cardiff, first occupied in 1731. It was once called The Tennis Court, after the real tennis court that was behind it.

Now walk down Church Street.

The Old Arcade

Keep looking around you as you walk down Church Street. Alongside the Old Arcade pub on your left is an alleyway called the Old Arcade, which is one of Cardiff’s oldest arcades. The arcade and pub date from the construction of a market in 1835, which was replaced in 1891 by the present one.

Numbers 3 and 4 Church St

On your right, the distinctive first floor windows of the white buildings at 3 and 4 Church Street date from 1829. The building was a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, built on the site of the first Wesleyan meeting room in Cardiff. John Wesley would have preached here and records in his diary for 6th May 1743 “I preached at eleven in the new room which the Society has built in the heart of the town; and our souls were sweetly comforted together.”

St Mary Street/High Street

This was the most important part of the medieval town. To your left is St Mary Street, named after the principal church of medieval Cardiff. St Mary Street is an almost complete Victorian townscape, and the narrow frontages reflect the medieval burgage plots.

The cream-coloured building on the corner of Church Street and St Mary Street was built for the Richards family. The house was originally called The Corner House and the building represents almost the last survivor of the 18th century town.

To your right is High Street, the principal street of the medieval borough. From 1337 until the 1850s three successive guildhalls stood here until a new town hall opened in St Mary Street. The first floor of the guildhalls was used as a courtroom and a meeting place for the people running the town’s affairs, while the ground floor was used as a market. The annual fairs were held in front of the guildhall.

NatWest Bank

Over the road you can see the NatWest Bank which was built in 1880 for the National Provincial Bank. It has a fine Italianate façade with an arcaded ground floor and pedimented first floor windows.

Now cross the road.

Quay Street

This road got its name in the days when it led down to the town quay on the River Taff.

Before you head down, take a look behind you at the exquisite detail above the entrance to High Street Arcade.

Womanby St

The name Womanby probably pre-dates the Norman occupation and might be of Norse origin. The earliest known form of the name, from 1270, is Hundmanby – possibly meaning “the dwelling of the houndsman”.

Before you move on, go up the street a little way and look through the archway on your right. Jones Court was built in the 1830s as workers’ cottages and is now the last of the 50 or so 19th century housing courts in Cardiff. The houses had just two rooms and there was no water supply or drainage so they were perfect breeding grounds for disease. 396 Cardiffians died in a cholera outbreak in 1849.

Blount’s Gate

On the wall of the car park you’ll see a blue plaque marking the site of one of the town gates. Until the 18th century it was called Wales Gate, then it became known as Blount’s Gate, named after a former gatekeeper of Cardiff Castle. The gate provided access from St Mary Street to the river, at the site of the old Roman quay. It was demolished in 1785.

Millennium Stadium

You’ve now reached Westgate Street and opposite you are Gates 2 and 3 of the Millennium Stadium.

Westgate Street runs along what was the course of the River Taff. The great 19th century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel was building his Great Western Railway westwards but the long curve of the river made a rail crossing difficult. So with the agreement of the Bute family, who owned the land, work began to divert the river in 1849 so that a short railway bridge could be built. That bridge still stands today.

This left a huge area of reclaimed land which the 3rd Marquess of Bute allowed to be used for sport. The area was originally called the Great Park but became known as Cardiff Arms Park, after a nearby coaching inn.

The first organised sport here was cricket. Cardiff Football Club, later Cardiff Rugby Football Club, was formed in 1876 and held its first practice here. Tennis, hockey, bowls and even greyhound racing have taken place here.

The Millennium Stadium was built on the site of the former Cardiff Arms Park stadium in time to stage the 1999 Rugby World Cup Final – although the pitch was turned around by 45 degrees.

It is now one of the most famous stadia in the world. It is the home of Welsh rugby union and many of the national football team’s matches are played here. Among the Stadium’s unusual features are a retractable roof, which takes about 20 minutes to open or close, and a removable pitch which means the Stadium can stage all sorts of other events, such as speedway, concerts and exhibitions, whatever the weather.

Turn right down Westgate Street.

The Angel Hotel

Rugby fans around the world know the Angel Hotel. Because it’s so close to the home of Welsh rugby it became the traditional place to congregate before international matches.

There have been several Angel Taverns on or near this site over the years. During World War One it became the USS Chattanooga when the US Navy took it over.

Cardiff Arms Park

On the other side of Westgate Street you can see the stands of today’s Cardiff Arms Park stadium, which was built in 1967. Until then there was only one stadium here, which was shared by Cardiff Rugby Football Club and the Welsh Rugby Union. Today the smaller ground is the home of Cardiff RFC and the Cardiff Blues.

In the early 1930s the WRU built a new stand, possibly without consulting the 4th Marquess of Bute. It’s said that he was so angry that his view from the Castle to Penarth was blocked that he built the flats you’ve just passed on Westgate Street in order to spoil the eastern aspect of the stadium.

The stand was bombed during World War 2 but the stadium was rebuilt and the view to Penarth was gone for good.

The Animal Wall

Have a look across the main road. The wall opposite has got several hand-carved stone animals perched on it – not all indigenous to Cardiff!

The wall was designed by architect William Burges in 1866, though not built until 1890, and it was originally in front of the Castle. In 1925 the wall was moved to its present position when the road was widened.

Now turn right into Castle Street.

West Gate

Over the road you can see the site of the West Gate of the old town wall. Owain Glyndŵr, who led a famous Welsh revolt against the English Crown, broke through here with his troops to capture the Castle in 1404. The West Gate and the bridge over the moat were restored by the Marquess of Bute in 1921 to their original design.

Radio Studio

A plaque on the wall next to you marks the building where the first BBC radio broadcasts in Wales came from in 1923.


This is on the site of one of Cardiff’s first inns, the Globe Hotel, which opened in 1731.

Castle Arcade

The six Victorian and Edwardian arcades are one of Cardiff’s most attractive and distinctive features. Castle Arcade was built around 1887 and if you go inside you can see a beautiful wooden gallery with a wooden second floor overhang and foot bridges.

Cardiff Castle

Opposite you now is Cardiff Castle. The site has a long history dating back to the Romans – below the red stones you can see the original Roman wall which was discovered during building work in 1889.

The Normans built a castle within the Roman site and the Castle has also been associated with Owain Glyndŵr and the Earl of Warwick. In the 19th century the architect William Burges restored the Castle for the 3rd Marquess of Bute, whose statue we will see later in the walk.

Today you can take a tour of the extraordinary interiors as well as enjoy a Welsh banquet in the refurbished 15th century undercroft. The Castle grounds are a haven of tranquillity in the city centre and the Norman Keep offers spectacular views of the city.

Carry straight on across High Street.

Duke Street Arcade

This arcade dates from 1902.

The earliest known form of the name of this road was Duckstrete (1550) suggesting the association with ducks and possibly the site of poulterers’ shops. After you’ve had a look in the arcade, carry on in the same direction.

Aneurin Bevan Statue

In the 18th century this busy junction of Duke Street, North Road, Queen Street and the top of St John’s Square was called the Bull Ring, because bull-baiting took place here. In 1773 a spectator who got too close to the action was gored to death.

This statue of Aneurin Bevan by Robert J R Thomas was erected in 1987. Bevan was born in Tredegar, in the industrial South Wales Valleys, and was one of the most important ministers in the 1945-1951 Labour government. He was responsible for establishing the National Health Service in 1948.

North Gate

A short way up the busy road to your left is the site of the old North Gate. The sound of the bells from St John’s Church marked the time to open and close the gate at each end of the day.

As you walk along Queen Street, look at the interesting architecture of the upper floors of the buildings around you.

East Gate

Take a look back where you’ve just come from.

The thick line of dark paving stones you have just crossed marks the line of the town wall and the site of the East Gate. The Gloucester to Swansea toll road passed through here, but the town’s gates were removed in the 18th century because of the increasing traffic. The town wall finally disappeared in 1901 when the last surviving section was pulled down to make way for the fish market, which we’ll pass later on in the walk. Stones from the wall were used in the construction of new buildings.

This gate was known as the Crockerton Gate. Crockherbtown was the name of the area on the eastern side of the gate, until it was renamed Queen Street to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. The unusual former name probably came from a nearby garden where “crock” or “pot” herbs grew. Later in this walk we will pass Crockherbtown Lane.

Queen’s Chambers

Look up at the ornate yellow-coloured buildings opposite. These were Queen’s Chambers, built in 1878 in the Venetian style, probably because they were on the banks of the Glamorganshire Canal. The canal was filled in during the 1950s so the building no longer has a prime waterfront position.

Two plaques on the building tell you more about Queen’s Chambers and the town wall.

Now head up The Friary.

The Friary

In 1280 Franciscan Friars founded a friary where the tower block now stands. About a dozen friars were probably based here, who wore grey habits so they were known as Grey Friars.

As well as an unusually large church, it’s likely that the Friary included a refectory, guest rooms, a dormitory and cloisters. There were also fields and gardens where the friars grew their food. In the 1538 Reformation all the property was seized and the church was demolished.

In 1582 Sir William Herbert built a mansion on this site which was probably occupied by the Herbert family until the 18th century. You can see a date tablet from the mansion in the entrance hall of the tower block.

Before the redevelopment of this area there were kitchen gardens here that supplied the Castle.

Now cross Greyfriars Road at the crossing.

Friary Gardens

In the small gardens on your left you can see a statue of the 3rd Marquess of Bute. The Bute family developed and owned Cardiff’s booming docklands in the 19th century and the 3rd Marquess was one of the world’s wealthiest men.

Lord Bute spent much of his fortune on the extravagant redevelopment of Cardiff Castle and in 1898 he sold 59 acres in Cathays Park to Cardiff Corporation with conditions including preservation of trees. He also stipulated that no buildings should ever be built on the site of these gardens.

Dock Feeder

Before heading through the underpass into Cathays Park, have a look at the drinking fountain on the wall on your right. It was donated by former Mayor William Alexander and was originally built into the wall of the Town Hall in St Mary Street in the 1860s. In 1908 it was moved to Mill Lane, and came to its present site in 1952.

Below you is the dock feeder for the Glamorganshire Canal. The Canal was built between 1790 and 1798, to transport heavy goods from the industrial valleys for export around the world through Cardiff docks. It ran for 25 miles from Cyfarthfa, near Merthyr Tydfil, to Cardiff docks. There were 52 locks along its length, which led to frequent delays. The canal was so busy that by the early 19th century traders had to look for alternative forms of transport and by the mid 19th century the Taff Vale Railway was open. The last barge passed down the canal in 1942.

A pedestrian subway runs under the main road from just south of the Hilton Hotel to the Castle. This was originally part of the Glamorganshire Canal and the towpath is still visible today.

This dock feeder was cut in the 1830s. It ran from the Glamorganshire Canal to the docks, helping flush mud and debris and keep the water level in the docks.

Now walk through the underpass and at the other end head up the ramp on your left.

City Hall

You’ve reached Cathays Park, site of one of the most impressive civic centres in Britain. The origins of the name Cathays are not clear, although the second element – hays – probably means land enclosed by a hedge. We also see this in the name of The Hayes, which we’ll reach later in the walk.

By the end of the 19th century Cardiff Corporation knew it needed land for new civic buildings. Councillor Peter Price said “These could be arranged around a central park. If Lord Bute found it in his pleasure to sell this land for a moderate sum, we could make Cardiff one of the most beautiful towns in the country…”

There was a lot of controversy about the site the Corporation wanted, but it eventually bought Cathays Park from the Bute family for £161,000 in 1898 and plans for its development were drawn up. The Portland-stone buildings, parks and tree-lined avenues make the civic centre one of Cardiff’s most outstanding features and a world-ranking example of civic architecture.

As you come out of the subway City Hall is on your right. Designed by architects Lanchester, Stewart and Rickards this is the flagship building of the civic centre. It cost £129,000 to build and was opened in 1906 following the granting of city status to Cardiff the previous year.

The clock tower rises 60 metres, and at the top of the dome is a Welsh dragon. The interior of this building is splendid with the imposing Marble Hall connecting the domed Council Chamber and ornate Assembly Rooms. The Hall houses marble statues of 11 heroes of Wales, which were chosen through a competition in the Western Mail newspaper.

Inside you can ask for a leaflet describing the City Hall art collections and, functions permitting, you can view them at your leisure.

South African War Memorial

In the middle of the turning circle in the road is the Memorial to Welshmen who died in the South African War (1899-1902). The statue is of Electra and was designed by the sculptor Albert Toft.

Walk up King Edward VII Avenue.

Law Courts

The Law Courts on your left were completed in 1904 at a cost of £96,000. The statue of Judge Gwilym Williams, “terror to malefactors”, is by Sir W Goscombe John (1860-1952), whose work can be seen across the city.

Have a look at the obelisk-style lamp stands around the Law Courts building. These are interesting listed structures with griffin and wyvern figureheads on ships prows, each bearing Cardiff’s coat of arms. They are believed to have been designed and built as part of the Law Courts development.

University of Wales Registry

This was the first building erected in Cathays Park, built in 1903/04. It became the administrative headquarters of the University of Wales when Cardiff Corporation offered the University a free site and peppercorn rent to secure the honour of being home to the University’s headquarters.

The style is Classical with Ionic columns at the entrance, circular windows on the upper floor, and beautifully detailed sleeping dragons by Sir W Goscombe John on the posts in front of the building.

Glamorgan Building

Glamorganshire County Council was created in 1888 and this building opened as its headquarters in 1912.

Have a look at the two sculptured groups in front of the entrance representing Mining (Minerva with miners) and Navigation (represented by Neptune in a chariot) which were both so essential to building the economy of South Wales.

Today the building is part of Cardiff University.

This building opened in 1916 as a Technical College, and it’s now part of Cardiff University. It’s in the form of a hollow rectangle, and the main façade is neo-Greek in style with a portico of Doric columns. The red dragon was installed in 1985.

This was architect Percy Thomas’s first major building project. His work can be seen across Cardiff and his firm designed the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.

Temple of Peace

The next building is The Welsh National Temple of Peace and Health which opened in 1938. It was a gift from the great benefactor Lord David Davies of Llandinam to the Welsh people and dedicated to the memory of the loss of life in the First World War.

It’s an abstract classical building with simple lines, built in a T-shape. Below the Temple is the Crypt which houses the Welsh National Book of Remembrance.

Falklands Memorial

Now go into Alexandra Gardens behind you. To the right is the Falklands Memorial is set among six blue cedar trees, planted in memory of 6 Cardiff men killed in action in the 1982 Falklands Campaign.

Welsh National War Memorial

At the centre of the Gardens is the National War Memorial, built to commemorate the men of Wales who lost their lives in the First World War. The Memorial is in the form of a sunken court containing a fountain, surrounded by a seat within a circle of Corinthian columns.

The three bronze figures of a soldier, sailor and an airman are raising wreaths towards the central figures of a winged Messenger of Victory.

The Welsh inscription on the outer frieze says “To the sons of Wales who gave their lives for their country in the war of 1914-18”. The other Welsh inscriptions are from the Welsh poets T Gwyn Jones and R Williams Parry and read “Over the sea he went to die”, “By the trench, resting” and “In the heavens hovering”.

Leave the Gardens on the opposite side from where you came in.

Cardiff University

The University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, was formally opened in 1883 with 102 students enrolled, 15 of whom were women. In 1909 the College moved into this building, which was later extended. Although it is an imposing building architects had their doubts about its aesthetic quality.

Today it’s the main building of Cardiff University.

Bear right back towards the city centre.

National Museum of Wales

Cardiff faced stiff competition from Aberystwyth, Swansea and Caernarfon to be the home of the National Museum of Wales. Cardiff offered this site, along with financial support, and in June 1905 the National Museum of Wales was awarded to Cardiff (the National Library went to Aberystwyth).

The foundation stone was laid by King George V in 1912 and after delays caused by the First World War, the Museum was finally opened by the same King in 1927. Extensions to the eastern side of the building were opened in 1932.

The building was very well received, particularly the impressive entrance with its Doric style and massive bronze doors. Have a look at the sculptures above the cornice. The ones on the south (front) side represent the Stone, Bronze, Iron and Coal ages; the ones on the west represent mining and shipping; and the ones on the east represent learning, art and music.

There’s no admission charge so you could pop inside to see the impressive domed hall and marble staircases. The building houses one of the world’s most exquisite collections of Impressionist art, as well as natural science galleries.

Opposite the Museum steps is a statue of former Prime Minister, David Lloyd George by Rizzello. It was erected in 1960 as a memorial to one of the greatest international statesmen to come from Wales.

Now head into Gorsedd Gardens opposite the Museum.

Gorsedd Gardens

The circle of stones you see here is the Gorsedd circle, which had been erected elsewhere to proclaim the 1899 National Eisteddfod and moved here in 1905.

The Gorsedd of Bards is an association whose members have made a distinguished contribution to the Welsh nation, language and culture. Members include opera singer Bryn Terfel and stars from the world of sport, pop, the arts and politics. During the annual National Eisteddfod the Gorsedd conducts ceremonies to honour literary achievements amongst Welsh poets and prose writers.

The two bronze statues are of Lord Ninian Stuart, MP for Cardiff who was killed in the first World War at the battle of Loos, and John Cory, a coal-owner and philanthropist. Both statues are by Sir W Goscombe John.

Park House

Opposite the gardens, on Park Place, is one of the most important 19th century townhouses in Wales, which revolutionised Cardiff’s domestic architecture. Park House was designed in French Gothic style by William Burges and built in the 1870s for John McConnochie, engineer of Cardiff’s docks. Burges’s influence can be seen across the city, from the Castle through to residential properties in the suburbs.

Now cross Boulevard de Nantes – named after one of Cardiff’s twin cities – at the crossing and carry straight on.

New Theatre

This traditional Edwardian theatre by Runtz & Ford opened in 1906, with Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree and His Majesty’s Theatre Company performing Twelfth Night. The theatre is rumoured to have a friendly ghost known as The Grey Lady.

Institute of Engineers

Before you cross the road take a look at the red brick and terracotta building. This was The South Wales Institute of Engineers, built in 1893, and designed by EWM Corbett in the Queen Anne style. Nowadays part of it is a nightclub.

Head on past Crockherbtown Lane and on your left is the ParkThe Park Hotel

Hotel, now part of a hotel chain. It was built in 1885 in a French renaissance style and was the brainchild of shop owner James Howell, who insisted that commercial travellers who wanted to do business with him had to stay in the Park. The original complex also included two public halls, a coffee house and ten shops.

Now go down Charles Street, at the side of Marks and Spencer. Charles Street was built from the 1850s onwards and was one of the most fashionable streets in Cardiff.

St David’s Cathedral

In the 19th century the number of Catholics increased dramatically with the influx of Irish immigrants who came to work in the docks and in 1888 St David’s opened as Cardiff’s main Catholic church.

It was built by the architectural firm of Pugin and Pugin in rock faced pennant sandstone dressed with red sandstone and became a cathedral in 1916.

The Cathedral was bombed during the Second World War but following extensive restoration it re-opened in 1959.

Ebeneser Chapel

The building opposite was Ebeneser Chapel which opened in 1855 and from 1976 to 2011 was a Welsh language chapel. The multicoloured stonework is a mix of stone from all over the world, brought back as ballast by ships returning to Cardiff. Legend has it that the architect, RG Thomas, wrote to every head of state in the world requesting a stone to place in the façade. His idea was to have a stone representing every nation as a symbol of God’s universal power.

Now walk along the back of Marks and Spencer, and turn left at Debenhams.

Look at the entrance to the St David’s shopping mall on your right. The line of the old town wall ran through it, all the way from the East Gate which we crossed earlier in the walk.

The Fish Market

The building on the right hand corner close to the statue, used to be the Fish Market. It opened in 1901 and sold fish brought in to Cardiff by the Neale and West fishing fleet.

Between 1936 and 1937 it was converted into Electricity Showrooms and Offices – have a look at the plaque on the wall. Cardiff has had an electric supply since 1894, and was one of the first municipalities to adopt electric street lighting.

The interior of the building, particularly on the top floor, still has many original features.

John Batchelor Statue

John Batchelor was a radical reformer who was Mayor of Cardiff in 1853. His achievements included a new drainage and sewerage system which helped combat the frequent cholera outbreaks.

David Morgan

The building opposite you was the David Morgan department store. David Morgan was born in Brecon, some 50 miles north of Cardiff, and opened his landmark store in 1879. He believed in no bargaining, no discounts and no sales and over the next 125 years the store gained a reputation for good value for money and quality products with exemplary customer service. The store remained in the hands of the direct descendants of David Morgan until it closed in early 2005.

At the main entrance you can see a pair of Larvikite columns with shiny feldspar crystals – sometimes called “pub stone” because it was often used for bar counters.

Walk along the front of the shops on the ground floor towards Tabernacl Chapel.

Tabernacl Chapel

This is a Welsh language chapel, where Welsh Baptists have met since 1821. It was rebuilt in 1865 with a classical façade The great one-eyed preacher Christmas Evans was based here 1828-32.

The first television programme broadcast entirely in Welsh, a religious service, was transmitted from here on St. David’s Day in 1953.

Spillers Records

The shop next to the restaurant was Spillers Records. Founded in 1894, it specialised in phonographs, wax phonograph cylinders and shellac phonograph discs. Spillers is now in the Morgan Arcade and claims to be the oldest record shop in the world.

Mill Lane

The Glamorganshire Canal used to run along here. Have a look at the tall cream-coloured building half way down on the right. This was a warehouse and you can still see its loading door right at the top.

The blue “wave” design on the modern fencing was designed as a reference to the canal.

Now head down Caroline Street.

The Old Brewery

Ale has been brewed in Cardiff for centuries. In 1340 two tasters were appointed whose job was to keep a check on the price of ale and test its quality. In 1855 there were seven breweries in the centre of Cardiff. The Brains brewery was the last of these.

Brains beer is one of Cardiff’s great traditions. Samuel Arthur (SA) Brain founded the company in 1882 and bought this site, now called The Old Brewery, with his uncle. The company has remained in the family ever since.

Beer was brewed here from 1713, taking advantage of the natural well, right up until 1999. Today Brains is brewed on a site just south of the city centre.

Turn right into St Mary Street.

Royal Arcade

The Royal Arcade is the oldest of Cardiff’s shopping arcades, dating from 1858.

The Royal Hotel

Over the road is the Royal Hotel. This is where Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his party of explorers dined on the eve of their departure from Cardiff in June 1910, on their ill-fated expedition to be first to reach the South Pole. The party reached the Pole in January 1912 only to discover that Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten them by a month. Scott and the four colleagues who made the final push to the Pole died on the journey back to their ship.

It’s thought that the tower of the hotel was once the tallest habitable building in Cardiff.

Morgan Arcade

This is the best preserved of Cardiff’s Victorian arcades, built in 1896. It’s worth going in to see the first floor Venetian windows and the original slender wooden shop fronts.


This building was built for James Howell, a draper who moved his business here in 1867. Until 1843 part of the site had been used as barracks.

The store incorporates the Bethany Baptist Chapel which dates from 1865 and was sold to Howell’s store in 1964. You can see what’s left of the façade in the menswear department. A bronze plaque on the chapel façade commemorates Rawlings White who was burnt at the stake for heresy in 1555.

In January 1943, during the Second World War, a section of Howell’s store was commandeered to ensure that production of parachutes and barrage balloons was not interrupted after a serious fire destroyed the main manufacturing centre in Cardiff docks.

At the corner of Howells turn right into Wharton Street.

The Hayes

The word Hayes is probably derived from the ancient word for land enclosed by a hedge. Local people were granted areas of land called burgages – sometimes known as heys – in medieval times and there were still vegetable gardens here until the 18th century. By the end of the 19th century the area had became a fashionable shopping area. The Hayes Island Snack Bar, a famous Cardiff landmark, was built in 1911 as the Tramway Parcel Express Office.

St David’s Hall

St David’s Hall is the National Concert Hall and Conference Centre of Wales. It was opened in 1983 by the Queen Mother.

You’ve reached the end of the Cardiff Centenary Walk – time to put your feet up!

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