Site of Glamorganshire Canal, Mill Lane

Site of Glamorganshire Canal, Mill Lane, Cardiff

If you’ve just scanned the QR codes part way along Mill Lane, take a moment to compare the photo below – courtesy of Cardiff Libraries – with the scene today. The curve of the street and buildings on the right is familiar, as is the Great Western Hotel in the distance, but the rest of the view is completely different today!ay!

The photo shows how the Glamorganshire Canal sliced through the centre of Cardiff on its way from Merthyr Tydfil to the sea. It turned left before the Great Western Hotel and passed beneath the railway.

cardiff_mill_lane_with_canalThe canal opened in 1794 and was a commercial success for decades, but it was disused by the time this photo was taken in the 1940s. The canal was filled in during the early 1950s.

The poles along the edge of Mill Lane in the photo supported electricity cables for trams, which ran on 32 miles of track in Cardiff. In 1907 the conductor of a tram bound for Cathays noticed a 22-year-old woman on the canal-side wall here. She was holding a baby. He ran to her and stopped her dropping with her baby into the water. The canal attracted many suicidal people, young women most commonly.

The buildings visible in New Street (on the left, beyond the poster hoardings) include a Fruit Exchange. At the far end is the former office of the National Telephone Company, an amalgamation of regional phone companies which was taken over by the General Post Office in 1912. There is more information about New Street, and a photo, on our page about the canal at Mill Lane corner.

Postcode: CF10 1FL    View Location Map

Website of Cardiff Libraries