100 days in Cardiff – Sea Lock Graffiti Mural

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

Sea Lock Graffiti Mural

sea lock mural

“This huge mural adorns the wall under an overpass and is located at the Windsor Esplanade entrance to Hamadryad Park. It has six panels each depicting a theme connected with the maritime history of Cardiff Docks, and is an early example of the work of the renowned artist Kyle Legall. I really like his work, and indeed his portrait of Blues pioneer Robert Johnson hangs on my living room wall (one day when I’m feeling lazy I shall post it as my pic of the day…). Hamadryad Park is a great open space which runs from the Wetlands along the mouth of the River Taff. The park takes its name from a ship which was moored nearby in the late 19th Century which served as a hospital for merchant seamen, and subsequently the Victorian hospital which took on the name, a building which still stands near the Clarence Embankment entrance to the park, though it is about to be turned into a new housing development.”

Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

100 days in Cardiff – the mystic mound of Grangetown

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

The mystic mound of Grangetown

mystic mound of grangetown

“Ok so it’s not Glastonbury Tor and it’s certainly more Argos than Avalon but this little curio does make an otherwise bland ‘anytown’ shopping centre a little more interesting – so good on the planners for turning a rubble heap into somewhere that offers a small contrast to the chain stores and traffic congestion that surround it.”
Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

Empty Walls Street Art Festival 2014

empty walls street art festival 2014

Last year, I left the country for about five months. When I came back, Cardiff was covered in beautiful, huge murals all over some previously pretty ugly buildings. I’d missed when it happened, but it was the doing of the lovely Modern Alchemists, through a project they organised called the Empty Walls Street Art project.

They’re running another Empty Walls festival this year! They’ve got a Kickstarter, and YOU can help them make it happen. I’ve pledged fifty quid towards it, because frankly Cardiff is streets behind other cities when it comes to street art and murals (like Bristol!) and I love looking at them around the city.

“Our aim is to bring colour, culture and vibrancy to the city of Cardiff by creating an outdoor gallery of public murals,” they say. The money is going towards the hire of cherry pickers, scaffold and ladders. The more they can fundraise, the bigger they can go!

PLEDGE SOME CASH TOWARDS THE EMPTY WALLS FESTIVAL HERE. In exchange for pledges of £5 or more, you’ll get stickers, tote bags and other merch in return. And help prettify our city! What’s not to love?

If you need convincing, have a look at what they did last time…

They’re planning something pretty ambitious this time too…

“We are proposing to have access to the Museum’s collection of artworks that draw upon British/Welsh folklore and heritage.

“We feel that the artists that come here to participate in the festival should receive a sense of place by being given an opportunity to be influenced by the rich heritage and stories that lie beneath the surface of British culture. We’d like the artists to submerge themselves in the National Museum’s collection, enabling them to create inspired works that reflect the stories once told by inhibitors of the welsh landscape. By selecting specific works to re-interpret or by drawing on conceptual or aesthetic elements they will translate their ideas into art works in the streets of Cardiff, allowing a riot of communication through old and new existing art forms. These layers of paint will tell the story of this unique form of expression and will echo the cultures past and stories forgotten.”

Eh? TELL ME THAT DOESN’T SOUND GOOD! Oh wait, you can’t.

PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE EMPTY WALLS PROJECT 2014 HERE! NOW!

Secrets of a signwriter

This week we got sent this lovely video, about Alan Cavley, one of the only signwriters still working in Wales.

It’s only a few minutes long and a lovely little interlude into your day. Watch and enjoy!

Secrets of a Signwriter from Yoke Creative on Vimeo.

A-Z of Cardiff – E is for Ely …

Writer Katie Hamer is busily discovering parts of the city and revealing them through her We Are Cardiff series, the A-Z of what makes Cardiff special to her. She’ll be sharing the parts of the city she finds with you over the following weeks, so stay tuned! 

E is for Ely …

Hidden behind houses, and further concealed by a thicket of trees, you will find a treasure trove for archaeologists and historians alike. The magical place I’m referring to is the location of the hill fort, near the suburbs of Ely and Caerau. For the second year running, this site is being excavated by the CAER Heritage Project team, who are searching for evidence of its use during the Iron Age.

The existence of this hill fort is hardly a secret, as the naming of nearby Hillfort Close demonstrates. Even so, very little has been known about it, and there is almost no mention in history books.

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Archaeology students uncover evidence of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure

As I’ve always been fascinated by archaeology, I decided to make a visit, to see with my own eyes, what discoveries they are making. In this article, I’ll be telling you how I got on, but before I do so, I’ll also provide you with a few snippets of information on why this project is so significant within Wales.

The history of Ely is often overlooked, and it would be easy to assume that this suburb sprung into existence relatively recently. The great expansion of the area started after the First World War, when many houses were built to accommodate returning heroes. Although there is evidence of a Roman Villa in the area, what makes the hill fort so fascinating, is the hint that the occupation of the area extends back even further.

In fact, the hill fort at Ely and Caerau may well be to be one of Wales’s oldest settlements, and the largest of its kind. Its existence as an Iron Age hill fort would date it to approximately 600 BCE. Therefore, the newly found archaeological interest is not before time.

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Cardiff University student, Sarah, sifts through the soil for artefacts

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Liam, also an Archaeology student, digs for further evidence of the causewayed enclosure

For the second summer, the Caer Heritage team have planned a dig on site. As well setting up trenches, they have had temporary exhibits at St. Fagans, and Cardiff Bay. They have also gained UK wide recognition, by winning awards for their engagement with the public.

They extend an open invitation to the public to come and get involved in the dig. Last year, 1,000 volunteers got involved, and a similar number are expected this year. Visitors have included Welsh Assembly Members, such as Eluned Parrott, and it’s inspiring to see how many people have rallied behind this project. It has thrived on one of the suburb’s greatest strengths: community spirit.

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In another trench, Nick from Cardiff University, shows me evidence of the different layers which built up over time

Local schools have been encouraged to plan trips to help with the dig, sort through the ‘finds’ and also get stuck in with making clay pots. As a result of this project, these children may well know more about the history of the area than even their parents, or grandparents.

On the day of my visit, I found my way to the site fairly easily. I drove up to the fort, via a narrow uneven single-track lane, which winds through Caerau woods. I found a parking spot near to the abandoned St. Mary’s Church.

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The dig, with St. Mary’s Church in the background

On reaching the site, I initially felt daunted about introducing myself to the dig party. I quickly realised that there was no need to be, as they were all very welcoming and friendly.

As soon as I arrived, Lydia, an Archaeology student from Cardiff University, volunteered to show me around. She showed me the various trenches, and introduced me to a handful of people involved in the dig.

She explained to me that, although the fort is believed to be Iron Age, dating to around 600 BCE, there is also evidence of earlier Neolithic usage, and later Roman occupation. More recently, the land has been used as pasture for animals.

In one of the trenches, the dig members were particularly excited about the discovery of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure, marked out by a ditch. Causewayed enclosures date between 5,000 and 3,000 BCE. This one could well have functioned as a gathering place for performing rituals or burials.

They have also uncovered Neolithic flints from this trench. The soil in this area is heavy with clay, which allows for the preservation of flints, but isn’t so good for preserving organic material, such as bones, so they haven’t uncovered so many of these kinds of artefacts.

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A Neolithic flint

In another trench, they were uncovering the ramparts that would have been the ditches for the walls to the fort. They uncovered various layers, relating to different eras of history. Another of the archaeologists, Nick, explained the various different layers, and how the further down you dig, the further back in history you explore. Just after I visited, they successfully uncovered one of the most exciting finds so far: a green Iron Age rampart, which was concealed beneath several other layers of history, including a Roman midden deposit.

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A Roman pot, which would have been mass produced from a mold

After my tour of the trenches, I joined Vicky in their tented enclosure, and she showed me some of their most recent discoveries. She showed me examples of Roman pottery, and Neolithic flints. I was particularly fascinated to see a flint tool designed to make holes in leather, perhaps an early development of the sewing needle?

 

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A Neolithic tool for making holes in leather

I told Vicky of my own early forages into the field of archaeology. I recalled finding an old piece of very dense glass, shaped like a bowl, which was possibly the base of a large bottle. When I mentioned that it was covered in a thick crust of rainbow patterns, I could see her eyes widening with interest. Very enthusiastically, she informed me that rainbow patterns form when glass decays, and that what I had found could well be Roman glass. If true, this ties in nicely with the history of where I grew up; I lived on top of a Chiltern Hill, rumoured to have been a Roman lookout post.

The project is collaboration between Cardiff University, Action for Caerau and Ely, local residents and schools. If you’d like to visit, the site is open to the public until Friday 25 July. For further information, go to: the Facebook page or the website.

I’d like to thank everyone from the Cardiff University team, who showed me such a warm welcome, especially Lydia, Sarah, Liam, Nick, and Vicky.

 

 

Thanks Katie! Look forward to your next instalment of the Cardiff A-Z….

100 days in Cardiff – Slipper Baths gardens

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

Slipper Baths gardens

slipper baths gardens

This little garden is a hidden gem, it’s at the old Slipper Baths in West Close – just a stones throw away from Cardiff Bay station, but I reckon the vast majority of people who travel there would have no idea of its existence. The bath house is now a community centre run by a dedicated group of local residents, and the garden clearly gets a lot of care and attention. Even on a miserable rainy evening like this one it seems to look defiantly cheery.
Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

100 days in Cardiff – the rolling stones of Penarth

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

The rolling stones of Penarth

rolling stones of penarth

Penarth Beach may not have much in the way of sand, but does boast some very colourful rock formations and as the cliffs are constantly eroding and cascading down to the beach there is always something new to find. This piece of conjoined rock reminded me of the Rolling Stones ‘lips’ logo.”
Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

100 days in Cardiff – marine buildings in Penarth

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

Marine buildings in Penarth

marine buildings

Another woefully abandoned building in this 100 day photo challenge – this magnificent Gothic structure on Penarth Harbour has been derelict for years. It right next to the Custom House which until a couple of years ago was in much the same state but is now a thriving restaurant. It overlooks Cardiff Bay and would be a great location for a hotel.”
Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

100 days in Cardiff – Curran Road

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

Curran Road

curran road

“These old warehouses off Curran Road will soon become rubble as the wrecking ball comes along, and for once there is unlikely to be an outcry – their day has passed. They are to be demolished in Phase 1 of the ambitious plan to transform the industrial area that stretches from Dumballs Road to the River Taff into a new development of housing, shops and a hotel. It’s a plan that has taken far longer than intended to realise. Seven years ago I remember interviewing the then Mayor about the project to built what she called ‘Havana Quay’ on this site, but it was stalled – like so many – because of the recession. Now it seems they are trying again – with the demolition of these old buildings scheduled for later this year. It’s a development I’m especially interested in as the Radio Cardiff studios are located further along on the estate, and it will probably mean we’ll be broadcasting from the middle of a construction site for a while, until the new studios are ready, I’m sure it will be worth the disruption though – this area is long overdue a revamp.”
Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival 2014 – photoblog

Did you make it down to Cardiff Bay last weekend for the Food festival? It was absolutely packed. We went along and ate some cheese. We also sent photographer Jessica Ventura there to enjoy the sunshine and take some snaps.

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Did you head down to the food festival last weekend?

 

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More about Jessica: she’s a Brazilian student of design who loves photography, colour and  gastronomy. Currently she’s living in Cardiff and studying photography at the University of South Wales. 

100 days in Cardiff – Peerless Jim Driscoll

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

Peerless Jim Driscoll

peerless jim driscoll

One of Newtown’s most celebrated sons, Jim Driscoll gained the epithet ‘peerless’ because of his prowess is a bantamweight boxer in the early 20th Century. He already had a street in Grangetown named after him when French hotel chain Radisson Blu decided to commission this statue of him to stand outside their swanky new Cardiff hotel a couple of years back – presumably as an homage to Newtown. The vanished Irish area of the City is a stones throw from where he stands (or was until it was k/’o’d in 1970).
Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

100 days in Cardiff – Cityscape

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

Cityscape

cityscape

“I took this shot this morning on my walk into work, the River Taff, Brains Brewery and the Millennium Plaza in the background. Seems like ages ago, it’s been a long day and I can’t think of anything imaginative to say about it. Heyho – it’s Friday tomorrow!”

Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…