Site of Glamorganshire Canal, Mill Lane corner

Site of Glamorganshire Canal, Mill Lane corner, Cardiff

If you stood at the corner of St Mary Street and Mill Lane at any time between 1794 and the early 1950s, your view eastwards would have included the Glamorganshire Canal. See the photo below – courtesy of Cardiff Libraries – to understand how different the area looked.

cardiff_canal_mill_lane_corner

Mill Lane is on the left of the photo, taken c.1910. Beyond the canal was a parallel road called New Street, which no longer exists. To the right of the photographer, the canal turned to head south, first under Custom House bridge and then under the railway.

From the 1890s onwards, it was unusual to get such a clear view of New Street from this spot, because the far side of the canal was lined with poster hoardings. They displayed adverts facing both Mill Lane and New Street. They were regarded by many as “hideous” but were still in place in the 1940s, as you can see on our page about the canal further east along Mill Lane.

The tall timbers in this photo are supports for the hoardings, which appear to be undergoing maintenance by the men on the towpath. Canal boats were hauled by horses which walked along the towpath.

Around the time the photo was taken, this area was busy with tramcars. One night in 1908, James Morgan was working as a tram signalman at Mill Lane corner when he noticed a 17-year-old girl from Pontypridd throw herself into the canal. He took off his coat and jumped in. James, aged 19, quickly realised the difficulty of swimming while dressed in uniform and wearing clogs! He rescued the girl and was later presented with almost £2 (more than £225 in today’s money) by Cardiff’s tramways committee. The Royal Humane Society presented him with a testimonial.

Postcode: CF10 1FE View Location Map

Website of Cardiff Libraries