Vulcan Hotel, Cardiff

The Vulcan Hotel has to be the most famous pub in all of Cardiff. Built in 1853, it is one of the oldest pubs in Cardiff, but for several years now has been under threat of closure because it is standing in the way of planned developments in what is becoming prime real estate in Cardiff.

With the current landlady leaving at the end of May, 2010, and (at the time of writing) no news about her successor, fans of this old-fashioned pub are very worried that the pub will finally close for the last time. If it does, the Welsh National History Museum out at St Fagans has previously offered to move this pub to their site.

I, for one, hope that the pub does stay open. A walk through Cardiff today is, imho, a walk through a total planning mess. Too many flats standing empty, and lots of modern buildings that don’t fit style-wise either with each other or their older neighbours. I think it would be nice for the planners (for once!) to see a bit of sense, and do something to preserve what little is left of old Cardiff before it is all lost forever.

References

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Novotel, Cardiff

This is the Novotel Hotel on Herbert Street, Cardiff. It looks north out over what was (until recently) the Tyndall Street Industrial Estate, and south it overlooks the surviving Junction Canal, which linked Sea Lock Pound with the two Bute Docks.

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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The Photos

This Way To Callaghan Square

Callaghan Square was built in 1999, on the site of the old Sea Lock Pond – the very end of the Glamorganshire Canal, just south of the GWR line between Swansea and London.

It has its own blog, and its own Facebook page. I think it’s the first subject I’ve featured in my Merthyr Road project that has its own Facebook page.

British Gas at Callahan Square

These are the new British Gas offices in Callahan Square, home of the European Call Centre of the Year (Sept 2009), and the best call centre in Europe to work for (Sept 2009).

British Gas have had a call centre in Cardiff since 1986, employing up to 1,700 people, making them a major employer in the city. They moved into this new building in 2009. Their old building on Churchill Way has been converted into a Premier Inn hotel.

The Fountains Outside Eversheds

Callaghan Square was built along with the nearby Lloyd George Avenue specifically to link the city centre of Cardiff with the regeneration of Cardiff Bay. One of the key features of this design is its square and water features.

The Fountains Outside British Gas

Although British Gas and Eversheds are the two highest profile tenants of Callaghan Square (they have the logos most prominently seen from the trains from London pulling into Cardiff Central Station …), the offices here are home to other organisations too, such as the British Transport Police.

The Fountains Of Callaghan Square

This is why you buy high-quality, fast glass for your camera, so that you can get shots like this 🙂

Callaghan Square And The TVR Beyond

In the background, you can see the one-car train trundling along the old TVR line from Cardiff Bay station.

Amazingly, when the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation (closed in 2000) drew up the original plans for Callaghan Bay / Lloyd George Avenue, those plans included ripping up the TVR railway line down to Cardiff Bay. It seems that their opportunity has now passed, but you never know … one day the train in this shot might be part of history rather than the present.

Like Anyone Takes Notice Of That

A couple of the lamp posts in Callaghan Square have prohibition signs (banning skateboarding and larking about in the water) attached to them, for what little good they do. I didn’t see anyone in the water, but the skateboarders were certainly enjoying themselves.

Kinda fits in with the history of this area, which reportedly was once the red light district of Cardiff.

The Marquis Of Bute

Callaghan Square was originally going to be called Bute Square (after the Marquis of Bute, who was responsible for building Butetown and the Bute Docks), but partway through construction, Cardiff City Council decided instead to rename it to honour the former Labour Prime Minister, who was a Cardiff MP for many years.

I wonder if anyone noticed the irony of naming the regenerated wharfs of the Glamorganshire Canal after its longtime rival? Perhaps they should have called it Crawshay Square.

Water Feature In Callaghan Square

When I visited, the water features of Callaghan Square were dormant, simply making little spurts like this one. That allowed me to get up close to photograph them in detail.

Callaghan Square

And here it is, in all its glory – Callaghan Square.

In the distance to the left, you can just make out the Herbert Street bridge, over which runs the old TVR line down to Cardiff Bay. On the far right hand side is the statue of the Marquis of Bute. And in the middle, we have the water features that you’re prohibited from playing in.

My Abiding Memory Of Callaghan Square

I’ve been commuting into, and through, Cardiff for many years now, and sadly my one abiding memory of Callaghan Square over the years has been seeing empty offices from the train.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the property developers and agents seeking rents of 20 GBP per square foot these days, in a city that traditionally has paid a lot less for its office space?

The Curves At Callaghan Square

In all honesty, I think Callaghan Square has made the same mistake that most of the redevelopment in Cardiff has made. If you want to create something that can be talked about the world over, please please please make it possible to take interesting photographs of it!

This is what sets the Millennium Stadium and Cardiff’s glorious civic centre apart from the Millennium Centre or indeed Callaghan Square.

But there is one saving grace – although I have not done it justice at all – and that’s the way that 1 Callaghan Square (home to Eversheds) curves around.

References

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Former Home of Welsh National Opera

On John Street, just opposite where the Cardiff Library found a temporary home during the construction of St Davids 2, is the former headquarters of the Welsh National Opera.

If I’m understanding the timeline on the WNO’s website correctly, they moved into these premises in 1984. Or it could be that they moved out in 1984 into the more modern buildings opposite that they still appear to occupy today?

In 2007, the Minister for Heritage in the Welsh Assembly Government went on the record saying that there were plans to sell the WNO’s site in John Street. Whether he meant this one, or the more modern one opposite, isn’t clear from his remarks.

If you can add more detail about this site, please leave a comment on my blog post.

References:

http://www.wno.org.uk/about-us/history-timeline/3682
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_National_Opera
http://wales.gov.uk/about/cabinet/cabinetstatements/2007/wmc/?lang=en

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Temporary Home of Cardiff Library

During the construction of the St Davids 2 shopping centre, Cardiff’s main library needed a new home. Their original site on Bridge Street was to be demolished to become part of the St Davids 2 complex, and their new site in what was the Marriott Hotel’s car park wasn’t going to be ready until towards the end of the St Davids 2 construction work.

The library ended up here, in a temporary building on John Street just south of the main Swansea to London railway line.

Today, the site is unused, and awaiting its next purpose. As most of the empty land around here (both at the end of John Street, and round the corner on Herbert Street) is being used as all-day parking, I wonder if it is just a matter of time before this too becomes a car park?

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Lost TVR Route To The Docks

Lost TVR Route To The Docks

Lost TVR Route To The Docks

If I have this right, the abandoned bridge towers in the foreground of this shot are all that remains of the TVR railway tracks that carried trains down from Cardiff Queen Street station to the eastern bank of the Bute West Dock. Today, none of the track survives; the area south of here was until recently Tyndall Street Industrial Estate, with Cardiff’s Little Venice (the Atlantic Wharf housing development) beyond it.

The surviving bridge tower has a personal significance to me. It’s my waypoint on the way home every evening, telling me it’s time to pack up my things because we’re about to pull into Cardiff Central beyond.

I couldn’t decide on which of these three photos I preferred, so I decided to post all three.

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Custom House Doors

These are the doors to Custom House, Cardiff, built at the north end of the old East Canal Wharf in 1798. They open onto St Mary’s Street, one of the main shopping streets in Cardiff.

Although once an important administrative office for the Glamorganshire Canal and its Sea Lock Pound, Custom House (and the adjoining York Hotel) has been empty for many years now. The reason for this is that the agent for the property is currently asking for an annual rent of 380,480GBP for 12,620 square feet of office space … a charge of around 30 GBP per square foot. I understand that to be quite high, and that’s before you consider the problems of turning this listed building into a modern office block that’s compliant with modern legislation such as the Disabled Discrimination Act.

Just around the corner, on Custom House Street, Chapter Arts hoped to open an arts centre right in the heart of Cardiff back in the 1970’s. To the best of my knowledge, that never happened, and the site they had in mind today appears to have been levelled and replaced by the Open University / Unison offices.

References:

www.cardiffians.co.uk/timeline.shtml
http://www.commercialroute.com/properties/?p=St.%20Lythans,%20Cardiff&i=26152&t=&page=7
http://www.gtj.org.uk/en/small/item/GTJ73166/
http://www.chapter.org/proposal.html

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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The Vue Cinema, Cardiff

Just to the south of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (and, I believe, built at the same time) is this cinema complex, currently part of the Vue chain.

It’s a difficult subject to shoot from the same side of the river (I’m stood with my back to the River Taff); I’ll probably go back some sunny day and shoot it again from the other side of the river.

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Past, Present and Future In Cardiff

One of the first “single shot” series photos I published back in 2007 was Past, Present and Future in Cardiff. Three years on, I’ve taken this follow-up to show you just how much has changed in Cardiff:

Past, Present and Future in Cardiff: Part 2

Past

The Bute Dock Feeder was barely visible last time I visited here. It was overgrown and hidden in the shadows of the warehouse units on Tyndall Street Industrial Estate. This time, the warehouses are gone (as is the industrial estate; I guess we don’t make things any more in New Labour’s Britain), and the banks have been cleared quite a bit. The Feeder is visible here.

Present

“Torchwood Towers” no longer has the skyline to itself. It now has to share with new office blocks, new apartments, and the St Davids 2 complex.

Future

Last time, it was the empty skyline that was due to be filled by the St Davids 2 complex. This time, it seems like the empty foreground is what’s most likely to see change over the coming years.

Past, Present and Future in Cardiff: Part 2

Here’s a different angle of what was once Tyndall Street Industrial Estate, with the skyline beyond.

JR Smart (Builders) bought this site in 2008 and have demolished the industrial estate. They were planning to apply for planning permission for mixed office and residential use on the site. They were previously involved in converting the old AXA office tower into the Radisson Hotel (seen here as the left-most tower on the skyline), and also built the new office block by the Magic Roundabout just a bit to the east.

References

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Animal Wall, Cardiff

Built in 1890, the Animal Wall outside Bute Park is sadly often overlooked by everyone who passes by. A grade 1 listed structure, the wall was originally sited in front of Cardiff Castle, but was moved to its present location in 1925.

The US Library of Congress contains a photo (believe to be taken before 1900) showing the Animal Wall in its original location.

References

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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