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Here’s a picture of a colourful wall for your troubles.

Cardiff, July 2014 by Alex Feeney

Open Doors Cardiff 2014!

Oh by heck, it’s that time of year again when those hidden nooks and crannies around our city throw their doors open for you nosey lot to go and have a poke around!

Tickets are free but you need to book in advance. Cadw don’t seem to be doing much promotion of Open Doors Cardiff specifically, so it took a bit of digging to find the list. But here it is! There are also about a billion spelling and grammar mistakes on the actual Cadw site, so if that sort of thing grinds your gears, then read the version below, which I spent about two hours editing for them.

You just can’t get the staff these days, eh …

Grammatically yours, Helia x



Open Doors – St Mary’s Church, St Fagans, 06 September 2014

This Grade II listed building in the village of St Fagans was developed in four main stages. The Norman foundations date from 12th century, followed by the change to the Decorate style in the 14th century. The tower was added in the early 18th century and lastly the Victorian restoration and addition of the north aisle and vestry began in 1860. Stained glass windows are Victorian.

The church is normally open for services and to coincide with both Open Doors and the St Fagans village fun day, we will be opening the doors to visitors old and new.

6 September 10am – 3pm

Address: St Mary’s Church, Crofft-y-Genau, St Fagans, Cardiff, CF5 6EL

The church is opposite St Fagans Castle which forms part of the St Fagans National History Museum.

Cardiff buses stop outsie the church. See their website for details. By car follow signs to the National History Museum and continue up to Crofft-y-Genau

More information can be found


Open Doors – St Nicholas’ Greek Orthodox Church, 06 September 2014

The Greek Orthodox Church of St Nicholas is tucked away just off the top of Bute Street. It was built in 1906 in the Byzantine style. In fact, it is one of the very few churches in the UK built as an Orthodox Church. In recent years, the church has been completly renovated. The interior of the church is very beautiful. There is a carved icon screen and wall paintings depicting scenes from the life of Christ and also St Nicholas.

During the open day, the church will be open to visitors. Two guided tours will be given. The Church hall will be open for refreshments and the sale of Greek foods. The open day will conclude with the singing of vespers at 5pm.

6 September 2014 11am to 6pm

Guided tours at 11.30am and 4.00pm

Sung vespers at 5.00pm

Address: Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, Greek Church Street, Butetown, Cardiff CF10 5HA

More information can be found online –


Open Doors – Cardiff Reform Synagogue, 07 September 2014

Visitors will be able to view the sanctuary including our windows (as featured in the book ‘Biblical Art from Wales’) and other features of the building including a Torah scroll. There will be a small exhibition from the ‘Hineni’ oral history project, which captures the varied stories of our members lives.

Visitors will be able to see part of the Righteous Muslims exhibition – telling the story of Muslims who helped Jews during the holocaust.

Sunday September 7 – We will be open from 11.00 until 3.30. At 11.30 and 1.30 talks on the synagogue’s history and Judaism. Tea and coffee will be available.

Address: 6 Moira Terrace, Cardiff, CF24 0EJ

Directions – The synagogue is on Moira Terrace opposite the entrance to Howard Gardens. It originally was and still looks like a Methodist Chapel. Queen Street station is five minutes walk, many buses stop on Newport Road (City Rd stop) two minutes walk away.



Open Doors – Cardiff Bay Barage, 10 September – 18 September 2014

Cardiff Bay Barrage by Gordon Plant

(photo by Gordon Plant on Flickr)

The Cardiff Bay Barrage is 1.1km long and extends from Cardiff docks in the north to Penarth in the south.  This major civil engineering construction project created the Bay, which has over 13 km of waterfront.  The £220m project was the catalyst for the £2 billlion regeneration of the old docklands areas of Cardiff and Penarth.

The Barrage Control Room is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is not normally open to the public.  The Barrage Lock Keepers are responsible for operating and maintaining the Barrage and undertake essential procedures including the operation of the sluice gates to control the level of water in the Bay. As part of Open Doors 2014, Barrage Contro will open their doors to members of the public and conduct tours of Barrage Control and the Barrage itself.

Wednesday 10 September 10am

Thursday 18 September 10am

Booking required as spaces are limited. Please call 029 2087 9727 to book a tour or email

Address: Cardiff Bay Barrage, Penarth Portway, Cardiff CF64 1TP

Directions – Follow signs for Cardiff Bay on A4232. Exit onto A4055 signposted Penarth.  Pass Morrisons supermarket on the left and drive straight up until you reach crossroads with traffic lights. Use the slip road bearing left signposted Penarth. Turn left at roundabout signposted Penarth Marina. Pass Oyster Catcher pub on the left. Straight over roundabout and continue for half a mile. Turn left at roundabout and into Barrage Car park.

Steep Narrow Staircase into the control room with no lift access.


Open Doors – St Michael’s College, Cardiff, 12 September – 14 September 2014

St Michael’s College is a theological college serving the Anglican Church and the work of chaplaincy in partnership with Cardiff University. Situated in beautiful grounds in the tranquil city of Llandaff and just a ten minute bus ride from the vibrant city centre of Cardiff. The original college building, built in river stone, includes a cylindrical tower and spire, cantilevered balcony and a corner oriel window. The college was opened on 8th August 1907. Following bombing damage during WWII some rebuilding work was undertaken and work began on building the college Chapel in 1956, designed by George Pace and consecrated on 2 February 1959.

12 – 14 September

Saturday 13 September, 11am – 3pm – autumn fayre and Llandaff Society Archive open.

Sunday 14 September 12 noon – 2pm – Traditional Sunday lunch.

12, 13 and 14 September – Family quizzes and puzzles based on an exploration of the college site.

Tours and photographic displays with college history leaflets available

Booking required for Sunday lunches. 60 places available. Please phone 029 2056 3379 to book

No booking is required for tours.

Address: St Michael’s College, 54 Cardiff Road, Llandaff, Cardiff, CF5 2YJ


Open Doors – Dyffryn Gardens, 13 September 2014

Dyffryn Gardens are an exceptional example of Edwardian garden design, covering more than 55 acres featuring a stunning collection of intimate garden rooms, formal lawns and seasonal bedding. There is also a statuary collection, and an arboretum with trees from all over the world. Dyffryn House, a grand Victorian mansion, overlooks key aspects of the gardens.  Significant parts of the ground and first floors of the House have been restored to their Victorian splendour and are now open to the public.

For one day only, enjoy free admission to the Gardens from 10am until 6pm (last admission 5pm) and to the House from 12 noon until 4pm (last admission 3.30pm). Come and explore the gardens or join a garden walk at 11am or 2pm. House tours are available too, at 12.30 or 3pm but numbers are limited so you will need to book on arrival.

13 September 10am – 6pm

Address: Dyffryn Gardens, St Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan, CF5 6SU

Getting there – From M4 take junction 33 onto the A4232 (signed Barry). Exit second slip road. At roundabout take the fourth exit on to A48 (signed Cowbridge), then in St Nicholas villlage follows signs for Dyffryn. The X2 bus service goes to St Nicholas, then it’s approximately one mile walk along a road with a pavement.



Open Doors – East Vale Group of Churches, 13 September 2014

Bonvilston Church

The east Vale group is a family of severn ancient churches that work together as a group. We are part of the Diocese of Llandaff and are situated in the Vale of Glamorgan to the west of Cardiff. The seven churches are in the villages of Bonvilston, St Nicholas, St George’s -super-Ely, St Brides-Super-Ely, Peterstone -super-Ely, Pendoylan and Welsh St Donats. Open doors will be taking place at all seven churches andalso at two of the neighbouring Chapels.

There will be an organised walk between some of the churches, a bicycle ride and run as well as travel by car. We also hope to include horse riding in this journey between places of worship. The event will start at St Nicholas Church at 10am with the releasing of 250 balloons from the church tower. This will be done in conjunction with 4 local Church primary schools who will attach a prayer to each balloon. Each church will be open for heritage and family history reasons as well as for prayer and refreshments.

13 September 10am – 3pm

Starting point St Nicholas Church: CF5 6TY


 Open Doors – Glamorgan Archives, 13 September 2014

Photo by the BBC

Glamorgan Archives is a state of the art archive repository which opened in January 2010. It contains four environmentally regulated archive strongrooms, a modern conservation studio, isolation and cleaning rooms, along with spacious and comfortable public areas. The building has been designed to be as environmentally friendly and economic as possible. It is the leading archive repository in Wales and one of the most advanced across the UK.

Take a look behind the scenes at Glamorgan Archives! Discover more about our building and the work we do here to collect, preserve and make accessible historic documents relating to the area we serve.  There will be tours of the building, conservation demonstrations, craft activities for children, and a display of documents relating to the built heritage of Glamorgan. Staff will be on hand all afternoon to answer your questions so do call in to find out more about Glamorgan Archives.

Saturday 13 September 1pm to 4pm

Address: Glamorgan Archives, Clos Parc Morgannwg, Leckwith, Cardiff, CF11 8AW

If you would like to take a tour behind the scene at Glamorgan Archives please contact us to book a place.  Tours take place at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. To book contact us by email at or by telephone 029 2087 2200


Open Doors – Cardiff Riding School, 14 September 2014

Located in Pontcanna Fields, Cardiff, the Riding School is part of the urban parkland adjacent to the Taff Trail.

Volunteers will be on hand to show visitors around and explain what is available at the school which opened in 1970 to enable city children to have an opportunity to ride, and, partly to address the problem of horses in the park.  Pony rides are available on a first come first served basis at £5.

14 September 11am – 2pm

Address: Cardiff Riding School, Pontcanna Fields, Fields Park Road, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF5 2AX

Getting there – The Riding School is just off westbound A48, west of the Gabalfa Roundabout.  Take a small road to the left by the river birdge.  Continue along this road for 300 yards, between large pillars.  The riding school is on the left .


Open Doors – WJEC Headquarters, 16 September 2014

The WJEC headquarters was designed by Jonathan Adams architect of the Wales Millennium Centre. It has a modern frontage with a metallic finish and incorporates some of the eathered sandstone cobbles from an early 20th century house previously on the site. Heating, lighting and ventilation systems have been designed to be environmentally friendly.  The landmark building, at 245 Western Avenue Cardiff houses a public bookshop, conference and meeting rooms used for professional development and youth arts auditions, and offices for over 200 staff.

16 September 12pm

Join Jonathan Adams, the architect behind WJECs headquarters for a tour of this striking building adjacent to Llandaff Fields. Booking essential, e-mail or call 02920 265096

Address: WJEC, 245 Western Avenue, Cardiff, CF5 2YX

Directions – WJEC headquarters can be found just off Western Avenue, opposite Cardiff Metropolitan University, and is accessible vis car northbound and southbound. Western Avenue is also accessible via public transport using the city circle bus route 1 or 2

More information is available online –


Open Doors – Ysgol Pencae, 18 September 2014


The school was built in 1908 and a new extension added to the main building in 1995. Ysgol Pencae was established on the site in 1991.

An opportunity for us as a school to open our doors and welcome members of the Llandaff community to the hustle and bustle of school life. You will be led around the school and will have the opportunity to enjoy a short performance by the pupils.

Thursday 18 September 2014  10am – 11am

Address: Ysgol Pencae Highfields, Gilian Road, Llandaff, Caerdydd CF5 2QA

Directions – Through Llandaff village, past the BBC offices on the right, turn right into Gilian Road. Follow the road down the yellow fence and gates at the school. Sign in at the main entrance.


Open Doors – Howells School, Llandaff, 19 September 2014

Howell’s school is a grade 11* listed building. It was designed by the architect Decimus Burton and was build in 1858/9. With it’s sister school in Denbigh it is te oldest girls school in Wales, and it retains many of its original features. The Great Hall, designed by the diocesan architect George Halliday, was added in 1900 and contains murals by the Western Mail political cartoonist J M Staniforth. The school estate includes other Victorian properties including Cumberland Lodge, a boyhood home of Roald Dahl, and Bryntaf, the home of the draper David Morgan with its oak-panelled walls and billiard room.

Guided tour of the school, including former boarding houses (which now house the Sixth Form College, junior school, nursery and music department). Refreshments will be provided and there will be a chance to look at the school museum before or after the tour.

Friday 19th September 2014.

10am – 10:30am registration, coffee, museum.

10:30am -12:30pm Tour of the school.

Note: tour of the main building will finish by about 12:00pm

Address: Howell’s School, Llandaff, Cardiff, CF5 2YD

Directions – Heading into the centre of Cardiff from Llandaff village, the school is on the main road  (A4119) on the right hand side, about 200-300 yards from Western Avenue. Passing busses include numbers 24,25,33A,60,62 and 62A.

Entry to the school involves climbing about six steps, which are fairly shallow. The tour is not suitable for anyone with very limited mobility. The museum and most of the rooms of interest are on the ground floor, although there are about ten steps leading up to the great hall.


Open Doors – Broadcasting House, 20 September 2014

(photo by the BBC)

Designed by Sir Percy Thomas and Son.
Built by Sir Robert McAlpine and Sons (South Wales)Ltd.
Opened by HRH Princess Margaret on 1st March 1967.  Broadcasting House is the main broadcast base for BBC Wales.

A behind-the-scenes tour of BBC Cymru Wales’ mainheadquarters in Llandaff and an opportunity to learn more about some of the programmes made at broadcasting House, including Wales Today and Crimewatch.  You’ll discover how television programmes are made and find out about radio progrmammes broadcast on BBC Radio Wales and find out about radio programmes broadcast on BBC Radio Cymru.  If that’s not enough, you also have a go at creating your own news bulletin or taking part in an interactive radio drama.  We will also be showing still photos of the site and building over the past half century and a short video about the site which was made shortly after it opened.

Saturday 20th 10am and 11.30am

To book a place on a tour please email with your name and contact number, which time tour you’d like to take and the number of people in the group.  All participants must be 12 years old or over.  You must pre-book a slot as numbers are limited and will be allocated on a strict first come first served basis.   For more information call 03703 500 700

Address: BBC Cymru Wales, Broadcasting House, Llantrisant Road, Cardiff, CF5 2YQ

Directions – BBC Cymru Wales is located in Broadcasting House on Llantrisant Road in Llandaff.  It is approximately 20 minutes by car, taxi train, and bus from the centre of Cardiff.

No access issues but partipants need to inform us of any mobility or health problems that might arise.  Broadcasting House is a large building and the does involves a fair amount of walking


Open Doors – City of Llandaff, 20 September 2014

W Clarke, Sculptors, Cardiff Road, Llandaff:  This long established family firm has supplied ecclesiastical/monumental sculpture and furnishing for well over 100 years, notably for the Victorian rebuilding of Llandaff Cathedral and its reconstructions following bomb damage in the Blitz during WW2.

The firm’s archives are remarkable and members of the Clarke family will be on hand to explain.

20 September 11.30am – 12.30pm

25 people maximum.  Please call 02920 563181 to book your place

Address: W Clarke, 98 Cardiff Road, Llandaff, CF5 2DT

Directions – Train:  Llandaff Station (approx 1.5 miles) Waun Gron Road approximately .75 miles.  Car:  To Cardiff via M4 Motorway/A48.  Take A4119 and follow signposts for Llandaff.  Bus:  From Cardiff Castle: Services 24,33, 133 and 122 to the Black Lion


Open Doors – Llandaff Cathedral, 20 September 2014

Llandaff Cathedral stands on one of the oldest Christian sites in Britain. The present cathedral dates from 1107, the west front from 1220, and the chapter house from the 13th century. There are also good examples of Pre-Raphaelite art works. The building was heavily damaged in 1941 leading to restoration including Epsteins ‘Christ in Majesty’. In 1992 the bells were recast as a new ring of 12 and in 2010 the Nicholson organ was built. A thriving community exists and choral services take place throughout the week. details can be found at

Friday 19 September – 10am-12pm Local schools event (details to be confirmed) 2-3pm guided tour for parents with/out pushchairs. This event is aimed at enabling parents to look around before picking their children up from school, and bringing younger children with them.

Saturday 20 September – meet inside Cathedral for all events. ONLY bell tower tour needs to be booked. 2.45pm – 4pm Guided tour, 3pm teas in Prebendal House. 4.30pm Tour of Bell Tower (must be booked phone 029 21154275) 6pm Choral Evensong, Cathedral Choir

Address: Llandaff Cathedral, CF5 2LA

Buses from city centre, parking in High Strett carpark, walk / cycle Taff Trail, follow signs.


Open Doors – National Assembly Estate, Pierhead and Ty Hywel, 20 September 2014


(photo by Neil Bradley)

We have three buildings within the estate; the Senedd which is a modern parliamentary building, one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings in Wales and home of the debating chamber of the Assembly; the Pierhead which is a historic. late Victorian building which is now a museum and exhibition centre and Ty Hwel which is the original home of the National Assembly chamber and holds offices to Assembly Members and staff.

We will be opening all three buildings in the estate, taking a journey through time, learning the history of Cardiff Bay and the history of the National Assembly for Wales. Taking a behind the scenes look at the Assembly in all its glory.

20 September 2.00pm

Booking required – 20 spaces available in the first instance, but if demand increases then we’ll look at adding spaces.

Address: National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

The Bendycar bendy bus leaves from Cardiff Queen St Station and Cardiff central station every 10 minutes. Train services are every 12 minutes from Cardiff Central Station to Cardiff Bay Station. The station is a few minutes walk from the Senedd and the Pierhead building. Leave the M4 at junction 33, follow the A4232 to Cardiff bay and follow signposts to National Assembly for Wales. By Bike/foot, the Taff Trail from Brecon through Cardiff city centre to Cardiff bay ends at the oval basin outside the Senedd. 


Open Doors – St Anne’s Church in Wales, 20 September 2014

The church was built in 1987, and the full design was shown at the Royal Academy by its architect A J Reeve, a pupil of William Burgess. The church was never finished but opened in 1187 and the red sandstone font, also by Reeve, was installed a year later. After great fundraising efforts, the vestries and north aisle were completed in 1892. In 1920 the present pulpit, octagonal, in wood on a stone base, designed by Penarth architect and craftsman John Coawstes Carter, was installed as a memorial to the men of St Anne’s who fell in the First World War. In 1898, four carved roundels were placed high in the chancel walls, they depict ‘Angels in Praise’ and are most distinctive. The organ was purchased, possibly from St Martin’s Church in Roath, in 1902. It is a 2-manual pipe organ, one of the few to retain its original swell box mechanisim.

20 September 10am – 4pm

Address: St Anne’s Church, Snipe Street, Roath, Cardiff

Directions – Buses 44 and 45 – alight at Elm Street.  Walk to nearby Partidge Road and access Snip Street.


Open Doors – St Edwards Church, 20 September 2014

A Church in Wales building approximately 100 years old. It is the memorial Church for the parish of Roath and contains 3 memorials to the fallen of WW1, WW2 and a Red Cross memorial. Currently also a local music and arts centre where many musicians , local and international, rehearse and perform.

Historical displays, what the church does now displays, tea/coffee, fairtrade goods, homecraft stall in aid of African Famine relief. Interactive displays for children and adults. Live music/medieval and traditional. This will be the church’s third Open Doors event and it is still evolving as they learn.

Saturday 20 September 10.00am – 4.00pm

Address: St Edwards Church, Westville Road, Penylan, Cardiff, CF23 5DE

More information is available online –

Public access is via the naïve entrance which is easily accessible to wheelchair users.



Open Doors – Tabernacl, Eglwys y Bedyddwyr, 20 September 2014

A Baptist Chapel where all services are conducted in the Welsh language. It celebrated 200 years of Christian whitness in the city centre last year. It is a grade 2 listed building from the Victorian era. Stained glass windows in memory of Rev. Charles Davies former minister from 1888-1927. The two front windows depict the baptism of Christ and the last supper. Their 100 year organ has recently been restored.

The chapel will be open from 10.30am -12.00pm. Visitors may walk around freely but members will be present to to welcome and escort visitors and answer any questions. There will be an organ recital by the chapel organists.

Address: Taberbacle Church, The Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1AJ

More information can be found online –

Saturday 20 September 2014 10.30am-12.00pm



Open Doors – Cathays Cemetery, 21 September 2014

Cathays Cemetery is the largest municipal cemetery in Wales and one of the largest in the UK.  It was opened in 1859 in response to the growth of Cardiff and the lack of space in existing burial grounds.  It is an important source for local and national history, holding the graves of many local families including significant historical figures.  The cemetery boasts a fine example of twin mortuary chapels, also dating from 1859.  The fell into disrepair in the late 20th century, but have recently been restored by Cardiff Council in partnership with Friends of Cathays Cemetery.

This will be the first opportunity for the public to see inside the newly restored twin mortuary chapel at Cathays Cemetery.  The roofs were replaced in 2009, but it’s only recently that funding was secured for internal refurbishment.  The Friends of Cathays Cemetery will be on hand to outline the history of the cemetery, the chapels and their restoration, and help you find your ancestors’ graves.

21 September 11am to 2pm.

There will also be a guided walk around the new section of the cemetery at 2.30pm (Allensbank Road entrance).

Address: Cathays Cemetery, Fairoak Road, Cardiff, CF24 4QF. ST 182785

Directions – Cardiff Bus – Nos 38/38A alight at Cathays Library. Limited space in cemetery.  Parking available in surrounding streets.



Phew! Got all that? Go get yourselves behind some closed doors, and let us know how you get on! Helia x

G is for Grangetown

Katie Hamer is on a quest to uncover her own A – Z of Cardiff. Today she’s off to Grangetown, where she’s having a look around the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir temple. Join her below!


G is for Grangetown

Just south of the city centre, and to the north of the docks is the suburb of Grangetown. Here you will find a vibrant multicultural, multiracial community. While the majority of places to worship are Christian in Grangetown, Muslims and Hindus are also accommodated.




The Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Temple

My focus for this article is on the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, the Hindu Temple. I have a personal interest in this subject, although my own background is Christian, since my brother had a Hindu wedding ceremony at Dulwich College, London in 2002. Despite this family connection, I came to the realisation that I have very little understanding of the faith, and I decided to rectify this situation by doing some research.


Why the Shree Swaminarayan Temple is so significant

The Shree Swaminarayan Mandir is the first of its kind to be built in Wales, and remains the largest. The original temple opened in 1982, and moved to its current location, previously an Irish pub, in 1993. Devotees celebrated its Silver Jubilee year in 2007. Significant renovations took place in the years leading up to this special occasion. Most obviously, the three stone spires (or shikars, which means mountain peak in Sanskrit) were put in place, and hence the building became the recognisable landmark that it is today.




The basics of Hinduism

Hinduism is perhaps the world’s oldest religion. Originating in India, its routes can be traced back to 5000 BCE. For its 1 billion devotees world wide, it is not so much a religion, as a way of life. At the heart of Hinduism, is the belief in one God, a Divinity that manifests in all living creatures. Hinduism teaches its devotees to adopt a compassionate, unselfish, peaceful approach to life. They are taught an acceptance of other faiths, to be at one with nature, and furthermore to accept the inevitability of change. Regional variations exist, as I explain later. However, there is a universal belief throughout Hinduism in Karma, the cycle of life, and in reincarnation.


Explaining the Swaminarayan Sampraday

There are four major denominations within Hinduism. These are Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, and Smartism. The Swaminarayan Sampraday is part of the Vaishnavism denomination. The different denominations exist as a result of regional variations within Hinduism; many of the Swaminarayan Sampraday devotees in Cardiff originate from the Gujarat region of West India.

Bagwhan Swaminarayan is the central figure for the Swaminarayan Sampraday. Born on 3 April 1781, Swaminarayan lived a life dedicated to religious and social reform. Even before his passing, on 1 June 1830, he was recognised by many of his devotees as Bagwhan (a manifestation of the Supreme God). Bagwhan Swaminarayan supported the building of temples as places of correct theological worship. They allow many devotees to participate in Daily Darshan.




Daily Darshan

Darshan derives from the Sanskrit word “drush” which means to see or perceive. Darshan is the most fundamental act of worship for Hindus, and involves not only praying within the presence of images of the deities, or ‘murti puja’, but also being seen by the deities.

In Cardiff, the Darshan is observed twice daily, once in the morning, and again in the evening. Devotees arrive at the temple in traditional dress, and remove their shoes, before entering the prayer room through separate male and female entrances. They bring with them offerings in the form of fruit and flowers, and in turn gifts are handed out all who attend. As well as the offerings, there is also the burning of incense, and the symbolic pouring of water into a cupped hand, which the devotee sips, before placing their right palm on the crown of their head.

While acknowledging the images of the deities, the devotee will engage in ‘pranam’, which involves pressing palms together, and bowing the head as an expression of reverence. Other devotees circumambulate – walk clockwise around the shrines – as an act of acknowledgement that God is at the centre of the universe.


Most important Hindu festivals

Hindu festivities are guided by the lunar calendar, and thus the exact dates vary on an annual basis. Among the most significant are the New Year festivities, which take place during March/April. The Swaminarayan Sampraday mark the birth of Bagwhan Swaminarayan during August/September. The birth of Shree Krishna (Lord Krishna) and the Ganesh Chathurthi (paying obeisance to Lord Ganesha, the Elephant God) are also observed during these months. Then during October/November is perhaps the best known festival: the Diwali, or Festival of Lights.




Stories are at the heart of Hinduism

It is impossible to make an account of Hinduism without also mentioning stories. For instance, there are many stories involving Lord Krishna, who is significant for being the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu. The epic ‘Mahabharata’, which I remember being televised, features detailed descriptions of Krishna as an incarnation of Vishnu. In the ‘Mahabharata’, he appears on the battlefield to proffer advice to warrior-hero Arjuna, as an act of divine intervention. He is also often depicted as an infant playing a flute, or a divine hero, and even as a prankster.




Involvement within the community

The Temple’s devotees have formed a close-knit community, with involvement in humanitarian activities. They have raised funds for disasters such as the earthquake that hit the region of Gujarat in 2001. Most of the funds for the 2007 renovations came from within the community, although the Welsh Assembly also provided a grant.

All nationalities/religions within the local community are encouraged to engage with the Temple. School visits are organised on a regular basis, so that pupils can have a greater understanding of the religion. Religious classes are regularly held there, and also seminars to raise awareness of issues such as diabetes. As the Shree Swaminarayan Wales website states: “May Lord Swaminarayan reside in the hearts of all Cardiff Satsangis and in the hearts of all those who come for darshan at the temple”.


Thanks to everyone who helped me with my research.

Further information on the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir can be found here:

More information on the Swaminarayan Sampraday can be found here:

Further background on Hinduism can be found here:


 Thanks Katie! We’ll catch you next time on Katie’s A-Z journey through Cardiff…

The Ring of Steel! A security fence essay by Gareth Bundy

Intrepid reporter Gareth Bundy has been out undercover, examining the teeny weeny inconspicuous little fence that’s currently slicing through Cardiff ahead of the NATO summit. How he found it, I’ll never know. Apparently it’s still unconfirmed whether any of them will actually be making it to Cardiff. Which is exactly what the massive fence tells us, right? Anyway, this is the first time we’ve ever published an essay about a security fence, so I for one am enjoying that, if nothing else. Enjoy. Helia x

Cardiff’s “Ring of Steel” – A security fence essay for We Are Cardiff

On the 4 and 5 of September 2014, Newport welcomes world leaders (including President Obama) for the NATO Summit. There is a possibility that the leaders may dine at Cardiff Castle. For this reason a precautionary “Security Fence” – referred to locally as “The Ring of Steel” – has been erected around part of the city.

NATO Fence 1 Gareth Bundy

Our city is under siege! Or is it? Anyone approaching from the north would be forgiven for thinking they were entering a militarised zone or a low-security prison rather than one of the richest cultural locations in Wales.


The construction of the fence, some three weeks before the summit itself, has already caused traffic chaos and has resulted in bus stop closures, delays and detours to public transport routes. Cardiff Council is recommending drivers use public transport for the coming weeks while also promising long delays on all inter-city bus routes. Great news all round.


Encircling Cardiff Castle and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, running from North Road, through Duke Street and into Bute Park, the eight-foot-high ribbon of metal has transformed our city from a vibrant, beautiful place into something resembling a vast internment camp.


Also, dotted throughout the City Centre, are large yellow “checkpoints” that will most likely be manned by police in early September. One wonders what exactly the cost of such a project must be. And who is picking up the tab?


At the moment traffic is able – save for delays – to flow freely alongside the fence, within its “containment area”. However, one again wonders whether the roads “inside” the fence will be a “no-go zone” by 4 September 2014.


This imposing structure runs not only around Cardiff City Centre but also along the perimeter of the Celtic Manor Resort, the venue for the NATO Summit. Even here, it is ugly, though it likely will not have as much of an impact as it surely will in Cardiff, on tourism, local businesses and public transport.


While, to me, there is a nervous beauty to man-made structures dumped inexplicably into a beautifully natural landscape, I don’t think anyone could offer a valid defence of such a monstrosity as this fence snaking its way through Bute Park’s breath-taking wooded walkways.

Conclusion of sorts…

Is there any need for this to be built? Should the public be disrupted to such a degree on the off-chance Obama decides to pop into town for a snack? And just how much of an effect will this hideous construct have on the local economy? I suppose only time will tell.

Photographs and Words by Gareth Bundy @gabundy.


Editor’s note:

For more information on the massive inconvenience that this whole NATO thing is bringing to the city, check the following:

9,500 police drafted in for Nato summit in Wales (Guardian) (this article also confirms that costs for policing NATO are coming from a central pot rather than from the local forces)

For a full list of bus route changes, visit

Nato Summit 2014: More than 40 schools in Cardiff hit by shorter days, closures and other changes during September 4-5 showcase (Wales Online)

If you’re interested in getting a little closer to nature near the fence, those clever folks at Green City are doing a ‘Forage around the Fence’ event on the 6 September, which to be honest, sounds pretty flipping lovely! More information about that on the Forage around the Fence Facebook page

Bank holiday bonanza! Events on in Cardiff this weekend

So, there are about a billion things on this bank holiday weekend. We’ve picked out just a couple of things for you to consider doing, if you can navigate your way around the NATOPOCALYPSE that nonsensical fence is causing.

Have we missed any events? Let us know! And whatever you end up doing, have a good one. Helia x


Friday 22 August – Book signing in Rhiwbina

Gethin Russell-Jones signing copies of ‘My Secret Life in Hut Six‘, which tells the story of Gethin’s mother Mair, a musician brought up in the Welsh valleys, who ended up in Bletchley Park deciphering codes during the war. Mair wrote this book alongside her son and died on 28 December 2013 aged 96, shortly after it was completed.

The book signing takes place at The Olive Branch bookshop from 12:00 midday to 2pm.


Friday 22 August – If this is nowhere, part two (G39)

A celebration of the opening of the second phase of ‘If This Is Nowhere’; a new video installation by Tom Crawford. This will be preceded by a reading group in the Collective Studio at 4pm – participants will be invited to read from a selection of texts, coming together afterwards to discuss, compare and debate their themes and arguments.

The event takes place at G39 between 4-8pm


Friday 22 August – Butetown Carnival Dance

butetown carnival dance

Butetown Community Centre, 8pm £5 on the door


Saturday 23 August – Riverside Community Festival

Riverside Community Festival will have lots of FREE activities for children and families. There will be food, live music and performances, information stalls, music, art and dance workshops, Circus skils, Face painting, Henna Artist, PCSO bike marking scheme and lots more.

The event takes place in Despenser Gardens, between 12 – 6pm


Saturday 23 – Sunday 24 August – HUB Festival

HUB Festival returns this Bank Holiday Weekend with a whole host of great music and performers! 150 Acts, nine venues, one wristband. £10 Day-Tickets / £15 Weekend Tickets.


Pretty nuts, eh? Just look at the line up!

HUB Festival 2014



Monday 25 August – Butetown Carnival, Canal Park

Read our post about the Butetown Carnival, and get yourselves down there!

11 – 6pm, Canal Park, Butetown

butetown carnival 2014


Monday 25 August – Fair / Play Fair, Cathays Community Centre

A fun day for all the family! An event for all ages, with live music, art, refreshments, children’s and craft workshops, stalls from local and nationally recognised businesses and lots of fundraising games. There’s also  lots of activities for children of all ages with Glitter Tattoos,Glitter Bugs Face Painting, Twist and Turn Balloons, Mini-miss Makeover-parties an XBOX tournament, Graffiti Station, Cupcake Decorating, Music workshops and Totsplay classes.  Also a demonstration by Ash Randall and Tom ‘Conman’ Conners of their World Record winning football and basketball freestyle. All this plus many fundraising stalls for Oxjam Cardiff with loads of prizes to be won, fun to be had and money to be raised for Oxfam.



“Butetown has been changing all of my life” – Keith Murrell

In preparation for the first Butetown Carnival for 16 years, we asked organiser Keith Murrell to chew the cheese with us. The carnival takes place this Monday 25 August in Canal Park in Butetown. We hope to see you all there!

keith murrell by lann niziblian

(photo of Keith by Lann Niziblian)


Q. You’re involved in running the Butetown Carnival. Can you tell us something about the history of the event?

Keith. The first events I remember were in the mid 1960s (it was called Mardi Gras in those days) – I understand that there were smaller, more spontaneous things that preceded this.


Q. When did you get involved?

Keith. As a member of the local youth club in the early 1970s … as a musician in the early 80s … as an organiser in the early 90s.


Q. Is there a particular Butetown carnival that sticks out in your mind as being a great one?

Keith. I remember one of the earlier Mardi Gras’ which was a quite small event mostly taking place in a Marquee alongside the Community Centre … I guess this one sticks in my mind as it was all still new to me –and I saw ‘real’ people that I knew playing and singing something other than hymns … no doubt later Carnivals were ‘better’ but they were also quite similar to each other … and I also remember the first year our band got paid


Q. Do you live in Butetown? What’s your history in Cardiff?

Keith. I am Butetown born and bred and lived and worked in the community for most of my life – I currently live in Grangetown.


Q. What do you think about how Butetown has changed over the years?

Keith. Butetown has been ‘changing’ all of my life: the “slum clearance” programmes of the 60s had not actually been completed by the time of the urban regeneration led by CBDC in the 80s & 90s – which in turn has been followed by various area renewal schemes of the current era… the more things change the more they stay the same …

For me, the most significant changes have been in community demographics and characteristics … what was once the most diverse and cohesive communities has been replaced by ‘larger’ ‘minority’ groups with minimal interaction and integration.

I would say that this is a direct result of gerrymandering by Cardiff Council, Housing Associations and other service providers.


Q. Can you tell us something about the city in general? How has it changed?

Keith. Thinking about the city entity has all kinds of political and civic connotations – and my impression is “all fur coat and no knickers”… But I’m more interested in people and places around me … and there’s nowhere else that I would rather be.


Q. What’s your favourite place in Cardiff to go for a drink?

Keith. The kitchen sink


Q. Favourite place to get breakfast?

Keith. The settee


Q. Tell us a Cardiff secret or little known fact

Keith. Cardiff Castle is (mostly) a fake


Q. What are you hoping for this year at the Carnival?

Keith. That all kinds of people from all over will get together and feel alright – and develop a habit for it!


Keith Murrell will be mostly all over the Butetown Carnival, taking place this Monday 25 August in Canal Park. There’s also a Butetown Carnival Dance taking place this Saturday 23 August at Butetown Community Centre, with all proceeds going towards the Carnival. See you at the front!

butetown carnival dance




The markets of Cardiff – photo blog by Jess Ventura

Photographer Jess Ventura has been wandering around the markets of Cardiff taking some snaps for us. She’s hit Riverside, Roath, Rhiwbina and Queen Street Market so far. Are there any other markets in Cardiff you think we should get ourselves along to? Let us know in the comments!

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More information:

Riverside Market
Rhiwbina Market
Roath Market

Butetown Carnival returns after 16 years! Monday 25 August 2014, be there!

After a massive break of 16 years, Butetown Carnival is returning to bring joy and good vibes to all of you on this Bank Holiday Monday, 25 August!

butetown carnival 2014

A steering committee led by community members and heavily supported by Butetown Community Centre won their bid  to bring back the Butetown Carnival this August Bank Holiday Monday. The carnival will be celebrating the rich musical heritage of the Butetown community.

Butetown Carnival began in the mid-1960s but came to an end in August 1998. Back in its glory days, the carnival attracted tens of thousands of people to enjoy performances, workshops, parades, market stalls and activities for children. Throughout its lifespan of 40 years, Butetown Carnival rivalled carnivals and festivals across the UK, including St Paul’s and Notting Hill.

Remember now that Butetown is the oldest multicultural community in the UK … so the decision to bring the carnival back to its former glory was taken one summer evening in 2013. Carrole Fox, General Manager at Butetown Community Centre said:

“You mention the carnival and the general response is –BRING IT BACK, so that’s what we’re doing, and we decided to just do it and not wait for yet another year. We know the carnival will be great this year, but we’re also aware that this is a journey so we’ll continue to build on it each and every year, so we can bring it back to its former glory.”

This year’s carnival will include two performance stages, both of which are supported by Butetown Carnival partners, Wales Millennium Centre. The stages – one acoustic and a main stage – will feature a variety of performances including jazz, blues, reggae and ska from celebrated local artists. Alongside live music, there will be market stalls, a parade to kick off the celebrations at 2.00pm, pop-up poetry and theatre and a huge flash-mob performance of the Electric Slide.

Simon Campbell, Chair of the Carnival’s Steering Committee said:

“We’ve received a lot of support from local businesses to get this year’s carnival off the ground, for which we are incredibly grateful. The Carnival holds a special place in all of our hearts; it reminds us of what a close community we were and I know this will bring us closer yet again.”

The Wales Millennium Centre is working in partnership with the carnival. Graeme Farrow, the Centre’s Artistic Director said:

“We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with the carnival’s steering committee to support the ambition of bringing the Carnival back to Butetown. The rich musical history and diverse culture of the area is cause for celebration and reflection. We are delighted to support in any way possible, particularly in helping to make the event sustainable.”

Response through social media sites about Butetown Carnival has been incredibly popular, with over 2000 people signing up, within two days of the page going live on Facebook. Keith Murrell, an active member of Butetown Community for many years, has been working tirelessly to pull together a creative programme that has a little something for everybody. He said:

“It’s important that the carnival is inclusive and has an ethical dimension. The carnival is made by the community and is for the community; we hope everyone will be out in force to support and enjoy the day.”

We’ll be running an interview with Keith later this week on We Are Cardiff, so stay tuned for that!

When? Where? How?

Butetown Carnival takes place on Bank Holiday Monday, 25 August 2014. It will begin with a parade in Loudoun Square at 2pm. Following the parade, performances and workshops will run throughout the day and night at Canal Park behind Butetown Community Centre, Butetown, Cardiff. We Are Cardiff will be wandering around, taking pictures and making a nuisance of ourselves. We hope to see you there!

Butetown Carnival Facebook Group

For anyone who wants to volunteer, there’s also a Facebook Group for Butetown Carnival Volunteers

A drinker’s guide to Cardiff – Oliver

Oliver Hurley has recently put together a book about the pubs in Cardiff. He takes some time to chew the pork scratchings with us over the pubs of Cardiff. Want to find out his recommended pub for an apocalash? Or the best pub garden in the city? Read on!

Drinker's Guide cover


Q. How did you end up in Cardiff? Are you born local or a transplant from another dimension?

I grew up in the Forest of Dean, which I think it’s fair to consider as another dimension. I went to uni in Treforest and then moved to Cathays when I graduated. I live just outside Bristol now but I’m back in Cardiff all the time for gigs, nights out and general shenanigans.


Q. Tell us about your blog, Pint of 45. We Are Cardiff has been a fan of the blog for some time now. How did it come about?

I do the blog with my friend Phil, who takes the photos – he took all the shots for A Drinker’s Guide to Cardiff as well. We were on a boozy night out in Hamburg (this is how most of my anecdotes begin) but didn’t really know which bars to go to. Which gave us the idea for doing some sort of online drinker’s guide that provided a snapshot of a particular city’s drinking dens. Cardiff seemed the obvious choice as it’s where Phil lives, I’m generally in Cardiff a lot anyway, and there are plenty of pubs and bars to cover. The first post, Barocco, was in August 2008 and we’ve covered about 120 places since. I don’t write reviews as such – the posts are more along the lines of subjective, first-person accounts with some stupid jokes thrown in. We approached Graffeg to see if they’d be interested in putting out a book version of the blog. They seemed to like the idea and A Drinker’s Guide to Cardiff is the end result.


Q. The million dollar question… What’s your favourite Cardiff pub for a drink?

I tend to go through phases of liking different places but at the moment I’d probably have to say Urban Tap House for an early evening pint (although, admittedly, it’s more hipster-bar than pub but there you go), and then Dempseys for a full-on late-night apocalash.


Q. What’s your favourite Cardiff pub for food?

Well, as anyone who’s having a proper session knows, eating is cheating (2am visits to Chippy Lane notwithstanding). That said, I’m quite partial to the wild boar and chorizo burger in Wellingtons, even though they’ve got that infuriating habit of serving food on wooden boards. Why anyone thinks balancing a burger and a punnet of chips on a chopping board covered in greaseproof paper is in any way preferable to using a plate is utterly beyond me.


Q. What’s your favourite Cardiff pub for the ‘ambience’?

Hmmm… I suppose it depends what sort of ‘ambience’ you’re after. I’m going to say the Queen’s Vaults on Westgate Street due to the simple fact that it’s got a brilliant jukebox.


Q. Have you had any adventures in pubs during the course of writing your blog? Anything weird or wonderful happen anywhere?

Probably the most memorable incident was our visit to the Canton Cross Vaults, when a member of the bar staff followed us outside and accused us of being undercover police officers. To this day, I’m still not entirely convinced they believed our explanation when we told them we were just taking photos for a humorous pubs blog. Oh, and we’ve also come across a wake for someone who wasn’t dead and been sworn at by a parrot.


Q. Have you got a favourite Cardiff pub that doesn’t exist anymore?

Yeah, I used to love The Philharmonic at the bottom of St Mary Street. It seems a shame that it’s just been left empty for years.


Q. What’s your favourite place for breakfast in Cardiff?

Probably Garlands in Duke Street Arcade. The staff are really friendly and they do a fantastic fry-up – although it’s a shame they don’t put the baked beans in little ramekins any more. I always thought that was a nice touch.


Q. Tell us a hidden part of Cardiff that you love.

I love the unlikely beer gardens that are hidden around various parts of Cardiff. One of my favourites, which is in the book, is the outside area tucked behind Milgi on City Road. You’d never know it from the front but round the back is a beer garden that houses a massive disco ball-equipped yurt.


Q. What was the last book you read?

Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York by Gail Parent.


Q. Tell us a secret.

As a child, I once won a knobbly knees competition.



Oliver Hurley could be loosely described as a writer and journalist. His new book, A Drinker’s Guide to Cardiff, has just been published by Graffeg and he also provides the words for Cardiff pubs blog Pint of 45. He currently works for an interiors magazine, which may explain his fixation with lampshades, and he has also written a book on professional wrestling. But that’s another story.

A Drinker’s Guide to Cardiff is available now

Oliver Hurley

We Are Green Man!

we are green man

Bit of an exciting side project for us this weekend – we’re running away from Cardiff to decamp in the beautiful Glanusk countryside for GREEN MAN! We are going to be running a mini ‘We Are…’ project at Green Man Festival, doing some portrait photos of festival goers, gathering your festival tips and making a wee film of the event.

If you see us, come and say hi! We’ll be wearing We Are Cardiff t-shirts. Or, if it’s raining, possibly Pac Man ghost ponchos.




About Green Man:

Located in the truly lovely Black Mountains (near Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons), this intimate festival is in the most beautiful festival site in the UK, with a 10 year tradition of championing great music, good times and good causes..

With ten entertainment areas in lush Welsh Wilderness, 1500 performers, 24 hour entertainments, comedy, poetry, literature, art and science, fun for 12 and unders and a separate area just for teens, spas, therapies, hot piping showers, luxury camping areas, local ale and cider sipping, all night bonfires, gorgeous selection of locally sourced food over 4 days of festival fun, the award winning Green Man really has got it all.

Experience iconic headline performances at the Mountain’s Foot, go Far Out After Dark with the UK’s only 24-hour festival licence, and get down and dirty with some truly devilish DJs and dance acts. Soak up the best in stand-up comedy and spoken word at Babbling Tongues, witness science and nature collide in the mind-boggling Einstein’s Garden, or stray far from the ever-madding crowd in the blissful idyll of Fountain Falls.

In the beating heart of the breathtaking Black Mountains, where mystical leylines converge amid ancient oak trees, something truly magical is stirring. Mischief and misrule will reign supreme in a four-day festival experience unlike any other … It wouldn’t be the same without you…

The Green Man line up is one of the best in years, so says me – see the full Green Man line up

Green Man festival website

Please note: this year’s event is SOLD OUT. Make sure you get your tickets early next year to avoid disappointment!

Green Man - photo by Green Man festival


We’ll be back next week. Whatever you’re doing, remember – there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.



Photo blog – Snapped Up Market – wrestlers theme!

We sent photographer Jessica Ventura along to the wrestling themed Snapped Up Market at the Printhaus to capture the day there!

Check out the Snapped Up Market page on Facebook to see what they’ve got planned for their next event … they also do classes, have a look on the Printhaus Facebook page to see what you can sign up for.























Thanks Jessica! And catch you soon…

A-Z of Cardiff – F is for St Fagans …

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!

Rhyd-Y-Car Terrace, originally built c.1795
Rhyd-Y-Car Terrace, originally built c.1795


F is for (St) Fagans

There are three places for which I will always find time to take an annual pilgrimage. These three places are the Eden Project in Cornwall, the grounds of Cliveden in Berkshire, and St Fagans’ National History Museum in the heart of Cardiff.

I thought I was fairly clued up about this open-air museum until my most recent visit last week. I got chatting to a couple of Australian tourists, who posed a relatively simple question to me: “So, why’s it called St. Fagan’s?” They were clearly very puzzled, and I was completely stumped.

On the off chance that those lovely ladies, who let me share a table with them in the tea rooms, are reading this article, here’s the reason for the unusual regional name: St Fagans is the village in which this museum, formerly the Museum of Welsh Life, is situated. Saint Fagan is believed to have been a second century missionary in Wales, but no historic records exist to back this fact up. As well as the museum, there is also a castle and an old rectory in the locality; this whole place is steeped in history.


St Fagans in the winter


St Fagans in the summer
St Fagans in the summer


The museum takes you through so many eras of history, from the Iron Age, right up to the present day. I’ve always had a fascination for the Industrial buildings of Wales, ever since I first set foot in the country nearly twenty years ago. In particular, I have a fondness for the rows and rows of houses that rise to greet you in almost every town, village, and city. So, it’s no surprise that it’s this era of history that I decided to concentrate on, for this article.

The Rhyd-Y-Car Terrace – a row of six terraced houses – is one of the main attractions for me. I couldn’t wait to see it when I first visited the museum ten years ago, and it continues to fascinate me, even now. St Fagans have done something truly special with these houses: starting from 1855, each house takes you forward a generation, with the final house decorated in the style of the 1980’s. The result is a time travel experience, on a level with “Back to the Future”, or “Doctor Who”.


The houses in their original location
The houses in their original location

This terrace of six houses was built in c.1795. They housed many generations of families before they were declared unfit for habitation, and demolished in 1979. In 1987, they were rebuilt in the grounds of St Fagans, and have been lovingly preserved ever since.


I’ll briefly talk you through each of the six houses, picking out the details which I found special. Here goes:

The original occupants would have been, in all probability, iron stone miners. They would have moved into these houses from near by villages, bringing their furniture with them. The interior is pared down, with just a few functional possessions. The little ornamentation that this home has is religious in nature, giving the whole interior an almost Puritanical feel. I find the simplicity refreshing. In a way, I felt that this home has more in common with modern minimalist styles, than perhaps the later houses have.

The 1805 interior
The 1805 interior
The 1855 interior
The 1855 interior


It’s from this era onwards that the ever-expanding mining community would have occupied these houses. Living standards were in decline, leading to outbreaks of cholera, of which the residents of this terrace didn’t escape unaffected. The interior is very similar to the home from 1805. There is perhaps a little more furniture, but the over-all feel is still very plain and religious.

With now enter the late Victorian age. We witness the era of factory mass-production. The walls are still plain, but the furniture, mantelpiece and ceiling, are adorned with pictures, patterned fabrics, and ornaments. It feels very cosy; I could imagine having a bath in a tin tub, beside a roaring fire. Look out for the needlework samples: the first hint that housewives had time for indulging in fireside hobbies of a winter’s evening.

The 1895 interior, complete with china dogs and looking-glass mirror


Tankards adorn the ceiling of the 1895 interior
Tankards adorn the ceiling of the 1895 interior


The 1895 interior captures the imagination of young visitors
The 1895 interior captures the imagination of young visitors



We fast forward to after the First World War. The current occupants have papered the walls with roses and pastel stripes. There’s a simple camera, hinting at the advent of mass photography. Most poignantly, there is a card with a reminder of the loss of life from the Great War of 1914-1918: “Lest We Forget”. This reminds us of the continuing grief of those who survived the front line combat, from a war where few escaped unscathed.

 The 1925 interior with patterned wallpaper, and camera
The 1925 interior with patterned wallpaper, and camera


The 1925 interior. Can you spot the war medals?
The 1925 interior. Can you spot the war medals?


"Lest We Forget"
“Lest We Forget”

With this house, we enter the Golden Era of the 1950’s, the era during which Harold Macmillan proclaimed: “You’ve never had it so good.” Despite the post-Second World War rationing, this became the dawn of the baby boomer generation.

Due to the population expansion, the residents of these houses would have been allowed to extend. As a canal ran along the back of this terrace, they would have had permission to build outhouses. This era also sees the introduction of the goggle box, or television, which now competes with the fireplace, for centre of attention.

The 1950's out building at Christmas
The 1950’s out building at Christmas


The out building during the summer
The out building during the summer


Interiors are becoming more fun. This one reflects lifestyle and fashion fads, as demonstrated by the flying ducks, an iconic image for this era. I’ve included a picture to show how this home would look decked out in its Christmas glory, as I saw it on my visit last December. This scene evoked memories of Christmas past for me. I don’t know about you, but I’d have loved to join this family in their festivities.

The 1955 interior at Christmas
The 1955 interior at Christmas
The 1955 fireplace competes with the goggle box for attention


With 1985, I can feel the dawn of the age of IKEA. The furniture begins to feel more flat-packed for home assembly, in complete contrast with the solid wood furniture of the earlier interiors. There are hints that this family had fish and chip suppers in front of the television. For the first time, there’s a fully fitted kitchen at the back of the house, where the bedroom would have been for earlier generations. When you enter the kitchen, look towards the left: you’ll be in for a huge surprise!

The pastel coloured 1980's exterior
The pastel coloured 1980’s exterior
The 1985 interior, with Sony television, and portable cassette player
The back of the houses, where there would have been a canal originally


St Fagans is a living museum, with seasonal shrubs as well as static exhibits. It’s well worth visiting at different times of the year, to see it change with the seasons. I hope you enjoy looking at my photo gallery. If you have any thoughts, or memories about visiting St Fagans, I’d love to hear from you.

St Fagans is open all year round. For further information, visit their website:


Rollerskates on top of the 1955 coal store
Rollerskates on top of the 1955 coal store


Visitors outside the 1955 house bring the whole place to life
Visitors outside the 1955 house bring the whole place to life


A pidgeon suns itself on a chimney pot
A pidgeon suns itself on a chimney pot


A potted plant in the 1980's kitchen
A potted plant in the 1980’s kitchen
Where does the footpath in the 1985 garden lead?
Where does the footpath in the 1985 garden lead?