Landscapes and Post-Industrial South Wales

Stuart enjoys taking great photos and uncovering the stories behind them.

His main photography project is Merthyr Road - a look at the history and the legacy of the industrialisation of the South Wales Valleys.

Towards Pontypridd

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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Dolbadarn Castle, Llanberis, Snowdonia

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At the foot of Snowdon itself, guarding the Llanberis pass, stands Dolbadarn Castle … my choice today. I remember spending the morning hunting through the camera shops of North Wales trying to find a Sigma 15-30mm lens to purchase, and driving my wife nuts in the process. This was before digital photography was mainstream, and wide-angle lenses were both rare and expensive at the time. But find one I did, and this photo made it very worth while.

If you’ve never been to Llanberis, I strongly recommend it. There used to be (hopefully still is) this wonderful cafe that was popular with the mountaineers, and of course there’s the world-famous hydro-electric power station too. Oh, and a little mountain with a train station and a cafe on top.

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Menai Bridge and Snowdonia

Download the full-size image (1600 x 1063) to use as your desktop wallpaper.

My choice of desktop wallpaper today is one of the most beautiful sights in Wales, imho: the Menai Bridge and the mountains of Snowdonia beyond. As the sun sets, the shadows cast by the mountains bring this very popular (and much photographed) scene to life.

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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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Skien Waterfront

Download the full-size picture (1604 x 952) to use as your desktop wallpaper.

This week is TEK-X conference week over in Chicago. Part of me wishes that I was part of the PHP conference circuit, having thoroughly enjoyed speaking at Marco’s first PHP conference, the now-defunct php|cruise. So please do excuse today’s choice of wallpaper, which was taken at the PHP Vikinger unconference in sleepy Skien back in 2006. Kristi and I had a great time; Kristi in particular fell in love with Norway, and never misses an opportunity to try and convince me that we should move out there!

As I’m not going to the conference, my theme for this week’s desktop wallpaper is staying at home in beautiful Wales, my adopted home. I hope you enjoy them as much as I’m going to.

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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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Bluebells

Download the full size picture (4288 x 2848) to use as your desktop wallpaper.

I’ve decided to end the week as I started it, by spending the day looking at the bluebells outside my front door as today’s desktop wallpaper. This shot was taken up close and personal using a proper macro lens, and after looking at this, I can close my eyes and remember the feel of the wind of my face.

That’s it for this week. Enjoy the weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday with more desktop wallpaper choices to share.

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After The Storm

Download the full-size picture (2654 x 2007) to use as your desktop wallpaper.

My desktop wallpaper today is this cheery sight. I’ve no idea what kind of flower it is, but I love the yellow colour … makes me feel all calm and happy. How about you? How does it make you feel?

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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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Tulip

Download the full-size picture (4288 x 2848) to use as your desktop wallpaper.

It’s the middle of the week, and my desktop wallpaper choice today is another new photo – one of the tulips on display in Cardiff’s historic civic centre.

If you ever go to Cardiff, ignore the lure of its all-too-cloned shopping centre, and seek out the places that make Cardiff different from other towns and cities in the UK. The arcades with their local shops are one such place … but another is Cardiff’s wonderful civic centre just to the north of Queen Street.

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