Captaining Glamorgan at Cricket, 24 September 1890

With four games in the ICC Cricket World Cup being staged at Sophia Gardens the focus once again this summer is on cricket. A trawl through the records held at Glamorgan Archives has unearthed an account of a cricket match played over 130 years ago, when a Glamorganshire cricket team took to the field against old rivals from across the River Severn. Played at Cheltenham on 24 September 1890, the match against East Gloucestershire had a dramatic ending with the home team needing to score 34 in the last 15 minutes to secure victory. In an attempt to avert defeat, Glamorgan turned to their captain and opening bowler Hill, supported by Webber, to stem the flow of runs. In the first innings they had formed a deadly partnership sharing 8 wickets. Hill had also opened the batting for Glamorganshire scoring 56, with the newspapers reporting that the openers had …hit out freely and the score rose with great rapidity. However, despite their best efforts, a series of hefty blows from one of the Gloucestershire openers, Champain, who scored 31 in quick time, secured victory for the home side and maintained their unbeaten record for the season.

This was no ordinary cricket match. The Glamorganshire captain was Constance Hill, daughter of Colonel Sir Edward Stock Hill of Rookwood in Cardiff, and it is almost certainly one of the first records of a women’s cricket team being formed and representing Glamorganshire.

D1372-1-1-4 match report_compressed

The result would have been a significant disappointment. Earlier in the summer, under the guise of Col Hill’s XI, Constance and many of her team, plus Miss Morgan of Ruperra, had travelled to Dedham in Essex and made short work of a side assembled by Sir John Gorst, then Undersecretary of State for India. The newspapers reported that their arrival had created quite a stir:

Colonel Hill and his party travelling from London in a saloon carriage attached to the 10am train from Liverpool Street arrived at Ardleigh about 11.30am. The stoppage of the express and the detraining of the fair athletes and their friends forming evidently quite an event in the annals of that quiet little station.

After bowling out Dedham in their first innings for a low score,Col Hill’s XI made 113:

…Miss Morgan contributed 32 by hard hitting, her innings included a fine hit to square leg for six and three fours; while Miss Hill, who went in first, played steadily and carried her bat for 51 runs.

It must have felt like a good preparation for the Gloucestershire match but, as it turned out, their opponents in September were far more formidable.

Cricket was very fashionable in this period. There are numerous records of matches being played in Wales between mixed teams or Ladies v Gentleman, often with the men batting with broomsticks and only being allowed to bowl and catch with their weaker hand. However, it was also a time when many women saw no reason why they should not participate in what had previously been a male dominated sport. Only 3 months earlier, in June 1890, an exhibition game had been played in Newport staged by the Original English Lady Cricketers. Although a report in the South Wales Daily News that the match had been watched by thousands was probably overstated, there was a genuine interest as the two teams, known as the Reds and Blues, took to the field. The Newport game was one of a series of exhibition matches staged by the Original English Lady Cricketers across England, Wales and Ireland in the summer of 1890. As paid professionals there was no frivolity in the approach taken, with the players employing overarm bowling and those batting equipped with leather and padding to protect against injury. Even so, it was reported that one player left the field that afternoon with a suspected broken nose. There were also inevitably nods to the conventions of the time with the women wearing long skirts to the calf, trimmed with red or blue and weighted with lead shot.

The match was seen as outrageous in some quarters with the suggestion that engaging in such sports was not ‘lady like’. There were heated exchanges in the press as to the extent that the young female body could cope with the strains and stresses of competitive team games such as cricket. In response, the management team pointed out that the players were handpicked for their athletic ability and, given that team members had an average age of 19 years, the party was cared for and chaperoned by a matron and an assistant matron.

Although the Original English Ladies Cricket team soon faded from sight, women’s cricket was taking root. This was particularly the case in the more wealthy sectors of society and it was often promoted, not without some controversy, in colleges and schools for young women. It is a reasonable assumption that Constance Hill and her colleagues in the Glamorganshire team would have attended the Newport match.

D1372-1-1-6 Miss C Hill_compressed

Constance, who was 22 years old at the time, would have had little time for matches involving broomsticks for bats, for the Hills were a cricketing family through and through. Her elder brother, Vernon, played for Winchester and Oxford University and scored a rapid hundred in a varsity game against Cambridge University. He went on to play at county level, for Somerset and Glamorgan, and his brothers, Eustace and Percy, also played county cricket.

D1372-1-1-4 family group_compressed

The Hill siblings

The scrapbooks of the Hill family held at Glamorgan Archives chart the cricketing achievements of Col Hill’s sons and daughters and include match reports and several photographs. Although there is no record of Edward Stock Hill’s elder daughter, Mabel, playing cricket, Constance and her younger sister, Gladys were both keen and talented cricketers. The Gloucestershire game would have been played in deadly earnest for the home team was coached by William Woof, who played over 140 games for Gloucestershire, taking over 600 wickets. He coached the Cheltenham College cricket team and in later years the Oxford and Cambridge University sides. A left arm bowler, Woof had been recommended to Cheltenham College by W G Grace. While the Glamorganshire team may not have had such an eminent coach it is very likely that they would have been coached by Colonel Hill and Constance’s brothers and, in particular, Vernon, who in 1890, was already a member of the Somerset county team.

D1372-1-1-6 cricket match_compressed

The Hill family and friends at a cricket match

The Hill family scrapbooks provide a fascinating picture of women’s cricket in this period. Cricket matches commenced just after midday and ran through to 6 o’clock with a break of an hour for lunch. Teams dressed in long skirts trimmed with ribbons in the team colours and wearing straw boater hats. Constance was an accomplished cricketer with both the bat and ball and almost invariably opened the batting and bowling. Although not taking the precautions adopted by the Original English Lady Cricketers, she would have worn cricket pads and gloves when batting, although the records suggest that the gloves were often discarded. Constance’s style was to accumulate runs steadily rather than spectacular hitting. However, this was not always the case and in a match at Tredegar Park it was reported that:

Miss Hill and Miss Morgan commenced the second innings for their side. Some splendid batting was now seen both ladies hitting to all parts of the field. In 42 minutes when stumps were drawn the partnership had contributed to 72 runs which included 6 3s by Miss Hill and a 5 by Miss Morgan.

As to bowling, accuracy was the key to her success. In the few records that survive her victims were generally clean bowled. In the one set of bowling statistics during a spell of 6 overs Constance took 3 wickets for 11 runs and, unlike many others, did not record any ‘wides’. It should be noted that this was a fairly short spell in that an innings for an afternoon game might last up to 50 overs. So much for the concerns about the ability of ‘frail young ladies’ to play a competitive cricket match.

Without a formal structure for women’s cricket in South Wales, Constance played for a number of ad hoc teams including Fairwater and a range of invitation teams such as Miss Morgan’s XI. She was also recruited in later years to play for the same Miss Gorst’s XI that had been comprehensively beaten in 1890. While cricket was making in-roads at all levels of society the games reported in South Wales were largely constituted between the daughters and occasionally the wives of a number of wealthy and influential families. This including the Morgans of Ruperra, the Morris’ of Danycraig and a bevy of well-known local families including the Pritchards, Beynons, Curtis’ and Davids.  Their rivals in the Gloucestershire team had included three daughters of Col William Agg, JP, of Prestbury and two daughters of Lt Col Bateman Champain, late of the Royal Engineers who had served in India.

There is a very grand set photographs in the Hill family scrapbooks of the wedding of Constance to Walter Robertson Hoare in 1897 at Llandaff Cathedral.

large wedding group

Sadly her marriage also marked the end of the records of her cricket career. It may be that she devoted herself to family and she certainly had other ‘strings in her bow’ as a talented actress, musician and golfer. She was also active in politics, serving as President of one of the Cardiff Branches of the Primrose League.

One hundred and twenty years later another cricketing all-rounder, Heather Knight, lifted the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup at Lords as England defeated India in the final on 23 July 2017. In 2013 former cricketer, Isabelle Duncan, completed a book on women’s cricket titled ‘Skirting the Boundary’. There is no doubt that Constance and her team would have applauded both, for they had made their contribution to putting women firmly at the wicket and no longer skirting the boundary.

Tony Peters, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

This article draws on the records of cricket matches and family photographs held in the Hill Family of Rookwood scrapbooks deposited at Glamorgan Archives. The key books for this period can be found under the reference D1372/1/1, in particular Vol 3 (D1372/1/1/3), Vol 4 (D1372/1/1/4) and Vol 5 (D1372/1/1/5).


And now we four are joined as one: The formation of the South Wales Constabulary, 1 June 1969

It will be 50 years in June since the formation of the South Wales Constabulary. This is the first of three articles that look back at the formation of the constabulary and its early days. It draws on records held at Glamorgan Archives including copies of the annual reports compiled by the Chief Constable.

On any scale 1969 was a challenging year to stage a major reorganisation and weld a new constabulary from the Glamorgan, Merthyr, Swansea and Cardiff police forces. As the Chief Inspector’s report for 1969-70 observed, 1969 was a testing year with the need to contribute to the policing of the investiture of Prince Charles and a number of royal visits to South Wales. In addition, the force faced a range of serious challenges including bearing …the heavy burden of work and investigations into Welsh extremism… alongside policing …anti-apartheid activities and Springbok rugby matches.

The move to larger police forces was a national initiative following the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Policing in 1960. The changes in South Wales were one piece of a jigsaw that aimed to reduce the number of forces across the country from 117 to 43. Preparations for the South Wales Constabulary had been handled by some 13 working groups set up to look at every aspect of the running of the new force. The working group records are held at Glamorgan Archives and from the outset the Chief Constables of the four forces admitted, in a joint letter, issued on 26 July 1967, that the merger would be not be popular in many quarters.

It is acknowledged that the process of amalgamation does not commend itself to all members of the regular forces and civilian staff affected. This we understand.

However, the new force, serving almost fifty percent of the population of Wales, would be more efficient:

…providing greater resources and more modern equipment, transport and communication.

Two years later, on 1 May 1969, a month before the launch of the Constabulary, the Chief Constable designate, Melbourne Thomas, wrote again to his staff admitting that:

…there will undoubtedly be many initial problems and difficulties, but with the co-operation and combined effort of all members we can overcome them… In the whole of Great Britain there are only six provincial forces with responsibility for a greater number of people and the merger is taking place in an atmosphere of economic restraint with restrictions on manpower, and at a time when the structure of the police service is subject to tremendous change in both the administrative and operational fields.

Chief Constable Melbourne Thomas

Chief Constable Melbourne Thomas

As a means of smoothing the transition he sought to reassure officers that they would not be required to move as part of reorganisation and that:

there will be a substantial number of promotions in the new force and I want to stress that these will be on merit with no regard being paid to which of the constituent forces the officers belonged.

The letter made no mention of the disagreement that had surrounded the conclusion of the arrangements for the new force and, at times, had threatened to derail the entire process. Naturally, with an organisation that would embrace almost 3,000 police officers and civilian staff across South Wales, there were questions surrounding job security, relocation and promotion prospects. In addition, as debates in Parliament during March 1969 illustrated, the battle lines also encompassed concerns surrounding the loss of forces such Merthyr with a distinct local identity and a titanic tug of war over the location of the new police headquarters. Although many, including Jim Callaghan, the Home Secretary, had argued the case for Cardiff with its new state of the art HQ in Cathays Park, the eventual choice was Bridgend, the base of the Glamorgan Constabulary and the biggest of the 4 forces.


Police Headquarters, Bridgend

It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that the launch of the South Wales Constabulary on 1 June 1969 was, for most people, a low key affair. Coverage in the Western Mail was limited to a very short article tucked away in the inside pages. Chief Constable, Melbourne Thomas simply stated that:

I have taken the view that there is no funeral and that the good spirit existing in the four forces will be carried forward into the new force (Western Mail, 1 June 1969).

And so it proved. In the annual report, produced in January 1970, the Chief Constable argued that many of the challenges faced in 1969 had helped forge the new constabulary:

The early jointure of the members of the forces in duties for Investiture of HRH The Prince of Wales and the Royal Progress precipitated the business of working together for the whole force. Demonstrations at football matches continued the acceleration of getting to know one another. Social exchanges added to the integration the amalgamation must gain if the desired benefits are to be secured.

While there were ongoing difficulties with the force operating under strength and with limited ability to move staff, Melbourne Thomas concluded:

…the new force was launched and is progressing daily towards the integration and efficiency desired from amalgamation. Twelve months from now it will be possible to look at the progress made from a much better perspective point.

The acid test probably lay in the mood of the members of the new South Wales Constabulary. 1968 and 1969 had seen some 350 retirements and resignations – well above the average. One of the first developments was the production of new Police Magazine for the constabulary. It not only provided news of staff changes and social events but also provided a forum for a range of views on the amalgamation.  An edition published in 1970 contained the following poem, penned by ‘152G’, which possibly summed up the ‘let’s just get on with it’ attitude across the force.


To some it brought promotion

A move they did not want?

For others, no commotion

But don’t give up and daunt


We’ve had it now for many a day

And things are settling down

For those who sighed are heard to say

“I was too quick to frown”


And now we four are joined as one

To form a brand new force

A good beginning has begun

We are the best, of course.


So let us make our motto

“Forever we are best”

Until the day we have got to

Amalgamate with the rest

[Taken from South Wales Police Magazine, Autumn 1970, p73 (DSWP/52/1)].

Melbourne Thomas’ conclusion at the end of 1969 that …the general sense of progress is now quite encouraging… was, therefore, not far from the mark. The South Wales Constabulary, despite challenges on numerous fronts, was up and running.

Tony Peters, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

Records on the establishment of the South Wales Constabulary can be found at Glamorgan Archives, including the Chief Inspector’s report for 1969-70 (DSWP/16/2). The letters from the Chief Constables are at DSWP/29/7 (26 June 1967) and DSWP/29/7 (1 May 1969). Early copies of the South Wales Police Magazine are at DSWP/52/1. Copies of the Western Mail for this period, including the article on the formation of the South Wales Constabulary on 1 June 1969, can be accessed at the Cathays Heritage Library.

Castell Coch, Tongwynlais

The original Castell Coch is thought to date from the 12th or 13th century.  Its name, which translates as Red Castle, comes from the hue of the local sandstone from which it was built.  Abandoned at an early date, it formed part of the estates associated with Cardiff Castle.  By the mid-19th century, only foundations remained.

D1093-1-2 p26

In 1871, the third Marquess of Bute commissioned William Burges to reconstruct the castle as a country residence for occasional occupation in the summer, using the medieval remains as a basis for the design.  Burges rebuilt the outside of the castle between 1875 and 1879, but died in 1881 before the interior had been finished.  This was completed by other members of his team in 1891.  The exterior is considered to be a reasonably accurate reconstruction of a medieval castle, though experts doubt the authenticity of the conical turrets.  However, the interior is a fantasy of colourful symbolism and decoration which must be seen to be appreciated.

The building is quite impractical as a living space and was little used as such.  Since 1950, Castell Coch has been in state guardianship and is currently managed by Cadw both as a popular tourist attraction and also as a venue for weddings and other events.

David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

Sources consulted:

Capel Heol y Crwys (now Shah Jalal Mosque & Islamic Cultural Centre), Crwys Road, Cardiff

Building plans were approved in May 1884 for the erection of a Calvinistic Methodist Chapel in May Street, Cathays.  That building, designed by J P Jones, is now used by the Salvation Army.

Having outgrown their May Street premises, the congregation obtained approval in May 1899 to build a new chapel in Crwys Road.  Designed by local architect, John H Phillips, the building had a large worship area at street level, with a gallery above and schoolroom and vestry on the lower ground floor.  The frontal treatment was quite ornate with curved rooflines and turreted staircases.  It is the interior of this chapel which features in Mary Traynor’s sketch.

D1093-1-1 p17

During the 1930s, Calvinistic Methodists became the Presbyterian Church of Wales.  In 1975, the congregation at Crwys Road was boosted following the closure of its original ‘parent’ chapel in Churchill Way and, some years later, they moved to the Christian Scientists’ former church in Richmond Road, which is now known as Eglwys y Crwys.  The Crwys Road building was subsequently converted to serve as the Shah Jalal Mosque & Islamic Cultural Centre.

David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

Sources consulted:

  • Mary Traynor Collection (ref.: D1093/1/1)
  • Cardiff Borough Records, plans for new Methodist chapel, May Street, 1884 (ref.: BC/S/1/4307)
  • Cardiff Borough Records, plans for Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Crwys Road, 1899 (ref.: BC/S/1/13732)
  • Bowen, Parch Thomas:  Dinas Caerdydd a’i Methodistiaeth Galfinaidd
  • Rose, Jean: Cardiff Churches through time

Brynderwen, 49 Fairwater Road, Cardiff

On 8 May 1878, Cardiff Rural Sanitary Authority approved plans, drawn up by John Prichard, the Llandaff Diocesan Architect, for building a house on a large plot of land adjacent to Insole Court.  Prichard’s client was Evan Lewis, proprietor of coal mines in the Aberdare area.  By the time of the 1881 census, Lewis, then aged 58, was living in Brynderwen with his wife and eight children.  The household also included Mrs Lewis’s mother, and seven servants.  While not playing a prominent role in public affairs, Evan Lewis was a local magistrate and served for several years as churchwarden at Llandaff Cathedral.

D1093-1-2 p10

Evan Lewis died in 1901 and Brynderwen was subsequently acquired by John Llewellyn Morgan, only child of David Morgan, founder of the department store which traded in central Cardiff until 2005.  The 1911 census lists him along with his wife Edith, two of their sons, and three servants.  John Llewellyn Morgan died in 1941 but Edith was still listed at Brynderwen in the 1949 Cardiff Directory.  By 1952, though, the house was occupied by Major Evan John Carne David, a member of the David family which formerly owned the Fairwater House and Radyr Court estates.  Born in 1888, he served as a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of Glamorgan and was High Sheriff of the county in 1930.  Following Major David’s death in 1982, the house was demolished and replaced by a development of some 26 detached houses, known as Hardwicke Court.

David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

Sources consulted:

  • Mary Traynor Collection (ref.: D1093/1/2)
  • Cardiff Rural District Council Records, plans for house at Llandaff for Mr Evan Lewis, Llandaff, 1878 (ref.: RDC/S/2/1878/8)
  • Family history of the David family of Fairwater (ref.: DDAV/1)
  • Various Cardiff Directories
  • Morgan, Aubrey Niel: David Morgan 1833-1919 The Life and Times of a Master Draper in South Wales
  • 1881 – 1911 Censuses
  • The Cardiff Times, 10 February 1883
  • Weekly Mail, 14 February 1885
  • Weekly Mail, 16 April 1887
  • The Cardiff Times, 31 March 1894
  • Evening Express, 17 April 1900
  • Evening Express, 11 & 14 November 1901
  • The Times, 27 March 1982

Boston Buildings, 68-72 James Street, Cardiff

On 21 March 1900, local authority approval was granted for a building on the northern side of James Street, at its junction with the pathway which ran alongside the Glamorganshire Canal.  It comprised two shops on the ground floor, each with a basement, while a central doorway gave access to offices on the first and second floors.  With re-numbering a few years later, the shops became 68 and 72 James Street, while the offices were number 70.

D1093-1-4 p4

Designed by Cardiff architect Edgar Down, the premises were erected for Rose & Co., Engineers, who were based at Royal Stuart Buildings on the opposite side of James Street.  The proprietor, Joseph Rose, was born in Leake, near Boston, Lincolnshire, so it is perhaps reasonable to presume that this is the origin of the name Boston Buildings, which still appears in wrought ironwork above the roofline.  The arms of the pre-1974 Borough of Boston are carved into the stonework at one corner.

Earliest occupants of the office space were shipowners and brokers, but with the gradual decline in Cardiff’s importance as a port, later tenants ranged more widely to include printing, stockbroking and insurance businesses, along with professionals such as solicitors, accountants and consulting engineers.

Throughout the first quarter of the 20th century, the shop at 68 James Street was occupied by a butcher, Thomas Morgan (later T Morgan & Sons).  But by 1929 the unit had been taken over by Kristensen & Due, ships’ chandlers, who remained until at least the 1970s; during much of this time, Mr Kristensen also served as the Danish Consul in Cardiff.  It is less easy to trace occupancy of the second shop; during the 1950s to 1970s, though, the tenant was a tobacconist, Anthony Nethercott.  While Mary Traynor’s 1986 sketch identifies it as a general store and snack bar, a well-known cigarette brand is still prominently advertised.

In more recent years, number 68 served as the Somali Advice and Information Centre, while 72 was an office of the Flying Start family support programme.  Today the shop units are occupied by an estate agent and a property management company.

David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

Sources consulted:

  • Mary Traynor Collection (ref.: D1093/1/4)
  • Cardiff Borough Records, plans for new premises, James Street, 1900 (ref.: BC/S/1/14110)
  • Cardiff Borough Records, Glamorganshire Canal Navigation, Memorandum of Agreement, 1904 (ref.: BC/GCA/4/162)
  • Various Cardiff Directories
  • 1881 – 1901 Censuses
  • Google Streetview

Baltic House, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff

Baltic House dates from about 1915, when it replaced 17, 18 and 19 Mount Stuart Square, in a prominent position directly opposite the main entrance of the Coal Exchange.  The architects were Teather & Wilson and their client was Claude P Hailey, a local accountant who later donated the land for Hailey Park in Llandaff North.


Having five storeys plus a basement, the building is oddly asymmetric in appearance, with a more ornate bay at the eastern end.  The approved building plan shows that it was originally intended to balance this with a western extension which has clearly never been executed.

The earliest occupants included Mr Hailey’s accountancy partnership with Sir Joseph Davies, and Mount Stuart Square Office Co Ltd, which appears to have been the building’s management company.  Business Statistics Publishing Co Ltd and the Incorporated South Wales and Monmouthshire Coal Freighters Association – both closely associated with Davies and Hailey – were also based there.  Other tenants were generally coal exporters or shipping companies.  From the outset until at least the mid-1950s, there was a café on the lower ground floor.  While developing patterns of business saw changes in occupancy over the years, Baltic House continued to house a number of shipping and travel companies well into the 1960s.

During the 1990s, Baltic House was the principal office of Cardiff Bay Development Corporation as it masterminded the regeneration of the city’s rundown docklands and waterfront.  More recently, it has housed the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, along with a number of other third sector organisations.

David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

Sources consulted:

  • Mary Traynor Collection (ref.: D1093/1/6)
  • Cardiff Borough Records, plans for offices, Mount Stuart Square, 1913 (ref.: BC/S/1/18776)
  • Evan Thomas, Radcliffe and Company, Shipowners, Cardiff Records, lease (counterpart) for term of 21 years, 1916 (ref.: DETR/92/1-3)
  • Various Cardiff Directories
  • Cardiff Year Book 1921
  • Wales Yearbook 2000