Site of Custom House Bridge, Cardiff

Site of Custom House Bridge, Cardiff

Custom House Bridge spanned the Glamorganshire Canal near this spot until the waterway was filled in in the 1950s. The photo below – courtesy of Cardiff Libraries – was taken by Jonas Watson during a royal visit in 1896. It shows Custom House Bridge with St Mary Street continuing in the distance.

cardiff_custom_house_bridgeThe bridge led from St Mary Street and other roads on the left to the Custom House, out of the picture to the right. There were wharves along that side of the canal. Customs officers would inspect cargoes before boats proceeded along the canal. The Custom House still stands. It was built in Victorian times and was replaced in 1891 by a new building at Cardiff docks, which by then were handling far more cargo than the canal.

In the photo, the canal turns right into Mill Lane beyond the bridge. The shadow on the right under the bridge shows where the towpath turns the corner.

In the foreground of the photo are two laden canal boats at a small wharf. Carts would draw up to canal boats in the vicinity to receive goods for local delivery. In 1891 a horse-drawn cart was being backed towards a coal barge when a wheel slipped over the edge, tipping cart and horse into the water. The horse drowned.

In the centre of the photo is the Terminus Hotel, on the corner of St Mary Street and Mill Lane. This area was the meeting point of tramlines from four directions. One route crossed Custom House Bridge and continued eastwards along Adam Street.

Postcode: CF10 1GD    View Location Map

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