Diverted Traffic Fire Escape

The work to partially pedestrianise St Mary’s Street in the centre of Cardiff has led to some amusingly placed “diverted traffic” signs in the area. This one is my absolute favourite, as it appears to be directing traffic into the fire escape of one of the city centre pubs.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (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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Millennium Stadium Supports

Most people walking to the bus station or to Cardiff Central railway station pass along Wood Street, but if you cut down onto Park Street instead (which runs parallel to Wood Street), you can be treated to this striking contrast of the support structures of the world-famous Millennium Stadium with these office block windows behind.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (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 community centre at Trallwn in Pontypridd is typical of many in the valleys. Originally a mission hall, it has been extended and converted into a great resource for the local community. The result is an exterior that at first glance appears old, like the terraced houses around it appear old, but look closer, and the mixture of old and new make for an interesting subject for my camera.

The Photos

Gate To The Community Centre

Plants Growing Out Of The Wall

Fence And Yellow

Fastening The Litter Bin To The Telegraph Pole

Extractor Fan Grill

Down The Drain

Drain Pipe On The Wall

Drain Pipe, Leaves and Vent

Grit Salt

Bethania, 1908

The Old Entrance To The Hall

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Roadworks Have Become A Permanent Fixture

The redevelopment and regeneration of Cardiff, which started with the construction of Cardiff Bay in the late 1990’s, is in full-swing, with no sign of any sort of let-up. Roadworks and the knock-on travel disruption have become such a daily part of life in our capital city that at least one roadwork sign has gone from a temporary thing to looking like a permanent fixture!

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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Flexible Office Space at the Coal Exchange

Mount Stuart Square, a designated conservation area since 1980, is home to something like 60 listed buildings. Some of these listed buildings are considered landmark buildings; some are not.

The crown jewel of Mount Stuart Square is the Coal Exchange, where the world’s first 1 million pound business transaction was conducted. Today, it’s a multi-purpose building, and a walk around the outside of it reveals that it currently isn’t fully-let. I’ve never seen inside the building, so I’ve emailed the agent to see if they’d allow me in with my camera. If they do, I’ll share what I find with you 🙂

References

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (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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St Matthews Church was built in 1908 in the middle of the Trallwn community, not far from the Glamorganshire Canal as it approached Pontypridd. Featuring unusual terracotta arches, this large and now disused church is unmissable as you travel down the hill to the local shops.

The church is now closed, and up for sale. The local council has given planning permission to convert the site to residential use; presumably the church will be demolished rather than adapted when this finally takes place. At the time of writing, it wasn’t clear whether anyone has yet bought this site.

The Photos

St Matthews Church, Pontypridd

You can’t travel far in the valleys without running into a (usually former) church or mission hall, but to date I haven’t seen any other church with these distinctive terracotta arches.

St Matthews Church, Pontypridd

The church is quite sizeable, much larger than the much more common mission halls (there are two such halls in the same street alone!) Sadly, vandals appear to taken to throwing stones at the (what appear to be) plain glass windows. I wonder if this is why they’ve been leaving the local greenhouses alone for a little while now?

Ivy On The Walls

There’s no shortage of ivy clinging to the church’s walls.

Terracotta Feature By The Doors

The church’s distinctive terracotta features can be seen up close by the church’s main doorway.

Knocker and Key Hole, St Matthews Church

The main doorway uses two doors of a simple wooden design, with an iron knocker and key hole on the left-hand door.

Wooden Doors, St Matthews Church

Look up at the top of the doors, this shot shows the shadow cast by the archway. I like the simple pattern towards the top, which makes me think of a tree.

Stone Wall and Ivy, St Matthews Church

The walls of the church (like all of the original local housing) are stone rather than brick. There are several former quarry sites in the area; it’s likely that the stone didn’t have far to travel.

Ivy and Fence Post, St Matthews Church

Some of the walls have disappeared underneath the ivy growth, with features such as this drain pipe doing their best to stand out until they too become overgrown.

Under The Eaves, St Matthews Church

This unusual shot, looking up at the guttering, shows wooden beams (presumably from the roof) sticking out from beneath the ivy. The paint on the wood has largely flaked off. I hope the wood is well-treated!

Blackberries Outside St Matthews Church

There are wild berries sticking out of the otherwise overgrown grounds. I’m sure they didn’t stay there for very long, before someone came along and picked them.

Rusted Wire And Plastic On The Fence

This rusting lurid green fence runs around the (small) grounds of the church. My eye was drawn to the contrast of this rusting wire and probably-never-will-degrade plastic wrapped around the fence. I’m guessing that both have been used at some point to fasten notices of some kind to the fence.

The Fence Is Broken

Sadly, the fence is in a poor state of repair, and has broken (or been broken) at one point, causing it to lean back away from the road and pavement.

References

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (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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St Matthews Church was built in 1908 in the middle of the Trallwn community, not far from the Glamorganshire Canal as it approached Pontypridd. Featuring unusual terracotta arches, this large and now disused church is unmissable as you travel down the hill to the local shops.

The church is now closed, and up for sale. The local council has given planning permission to convert the site to residential use; presumably the church will be demolished rather than adapted when this finally takes place. At the time of writing, it wasn’t clear whether anyone has yet bought this site.

The Photos

St Matthews Church, Pontypridd

You can’t travel far in the valleys without running into a (usually former) church or mission hall, but to date I haven’t seen any other church with these distinctive terracotta arches.

St Matthews Church, Pontypridd

The church is quite sizeable, much larger than the much more common mission halls (there are two such halls in the same street alone!) Sadly, vandals appear to taken to throwing stones at the (what appear to be) plain glass windows. I wonder if this is why they’ve been leaving the local greenhouses alone for a little while now?

Ivy On The Walls

There’s no shortage of ivy clinging to the church’s walls.

Terracotta Feature By The Doors

The church’s distinctive terracotta features can be seen up close by the church’s main doorway.

Knocker and Key Hole, St Matthews Church

The main doorway uses two doors of a simple wooden design, with an iron knocker and key hole on the left-hand door.

Wooden Doors, St Matthews Church

Look up at the top of the doors, this shot shows the shadow cast by the archway. I like the simple pattern towards the top, which makes me think of a tree.

Stone Wall and Ivy, St Matthews Church

The walls of the church (like all of the original local housing) are stone rather than brick. There are several former quarry sites in the area; it’s likely that the stone didn’t have far to travel.

Ivy and Fence Post, St Matthews Church

Some of the walls have disappeared underneath the ivy growth, with features such as this drain pipe doing their best to stand out until they too become overgrown.

Under The Eaves, St Matthews Church

This unusual shot, looking up at the guttering, shows wooden beams (presumably from the roof) sticking out from beneath the ivy. The paint on the wood has largely flaked off. I hope the wood is well-treated!

Blackberries Outside St Matthews Church

There are wild berries sticking out of the otherwise overgrown grounds. I’m sure they didn’t stay there for very long, before someone came along and picked them.

Rusted Wire And Plastic On The Fence

This rusting lurid green fence runs around the (small) grounds of the church. My eye was drawn to the contrast of this rusting wire and probably-never-will-degrade plastic wrapped around the fence. I’m guessing that both have been used at some point to fasten notices of some kind to the fence.

The Fence Is Broken

Sadly, the fence is in a poor state of repair, and has broken (or been broken) at one point, causing it to lean back away from the road and pavement.

References

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (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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Cardiff Central Station From The East

One of the best angles to view Cardiff Central Railway Station is from the east, looking along its open concourse to the main terminal building which houses the ticket office and assorted shops.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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North of Coryton Railway Station, the old Cardiff Railway is long gone; the track ripped up, stations demolished. But it would be wrong to say that there’s nothing left of the old line that once made an ambitious (and far from simple) route up the valley, snaking over and under everything that had already gone before, in an attempt to provide another way for coal to make it from Pontypridd down to the docks at Cardiff.

The single most spectacular section is the nature trail that leads immediately north of Coryton Railway Station up to Longwood Drive, where in days gone by Cardiff Railway was carried over Middle Lock by a bridge. Then there’s some surviving hints where the Cardiff Railway was carried underneath the Rhymney Railway (now the Taff Trail cycle path from Taffs Well to Nantgarw). And then Cardiff Railway re-appears through Taffs Well and out to Nantgarw.

The section out to Nantgarw has, in recent years, been revived as a pedestrian and cycle way, with a new bridge laid across the A4054 to replace the old railway bridge that is long gone. In May of 2009, I went out to the bridge with my Nikon D200 to capture the site as it stands today. I hope you enjoy it.

The Photos

Lost Cardiff Railway Bridge

When it was still in existence, Cardiff Railway used to run through Taffs Well and then out and over the old A4054 Merthyr Road at this spot, crossing from right to left before running atop an embankment north to Nantgarw and the coking plant that used to be there before the land was cleared and turned into Treforest Industrial Estate.

Railings On The New Foot Bridge

The original railway bridge is long gone, but today, the old railway trackbed through Taffs Well is a foot path and cycle way, which is carried over the A4054 by this modern bridge.

Looking North Towards Nantgarw

Looking north from the bridge, the path runs atop the old railway embankment. You can see from the overexposed area on the left of the shot just how much the light and shade contrasts here.

New Bridge Along Cardiff Railway Route

Here’s a better view of the new bridge over the A4054, taking anyone walking or cycling north out of the shaded path and out into the bright sunlight.

Spider's Web In The Railings

In the railings leading up to the bridge, I spotted these spider webs.

Looking South Towards Taffs Well

The route south into Taffs Well from the bridge is best described as “shaded”. Even on a bright day like this one, the path is well sheltered from the sun by the retaining wall to the east and the trees growing on both sides.

Towards A Former Crossing Over The Cardiff Railway

I first walked this route quite a few years ago, before I had heard of the Glamorganshire Canal or any of the railways that I’ve spent so long exploring through the Merthyr Road project.

One of the first clues that there was a lost industrial heritage all around us that I was ignorant of came along this very track, where an old crossing point over the old railway still exists.

Beware of trains

Half-hidden in the bushes besides the old crossing is this sign: “Beware of trains”. The style is one I recognise from the old coal railways of my youth in Yorkshire.

It was this sign, and one just like it up in Treforest, that first made me wonder about what used to be here in the valleys before everything we see today.

House And Church Visible From The Old Railway Route

The former railway crossing leads to this house and what looks like a former church or chapel just behind it.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (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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United Services Mess

When I walked past this, I fell in love with the lovely deep blue paintwork in contrast with the very clean brass work.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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