Warehouse, Bute East Dock (Destroyed By Fire)

Possibly built as part of the former Cardiff and Channel Mills, and subsequently extended upwards, the warehouse pictured by Mary Traynor stood on the eastern bank of Bute East Dock.

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On 12 January 1986, it was destroyed by an apparently accidental fire.  The following day’s South Wales Echo reported that fire fighters were hampered in their bid to control the flames because many of the disused building’s doors and windows had been bricked up.  While the fire hastened its demise, this warehouse would probably have been demolished within a short time anyway, to make way for the Central Link Road, which opened in 1989.

David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

Sources consulted:

Warehouse, Collingdon Road / Lloyd George Avenue, Cardiff

This drawing depicts a grain store which stood on the western side of the Bute West Dock.  During the 1980s and 90s, most of its surrounding buildings were demolished to make way for the Cardiff Bay redevelopment.  While not statutorily listed, the grain store was spared as it was considered to have some architectural merit.  The intention was that it should be refurbished and converted into flats.

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However, when work began, it was found that the structure was dangerously unstable.  In light of this, Cardiff County Council granted planning consent in 2005 for its demolition and the erection of a new-build apartment block with a design which resembled the original as closely as practicable.  Faced with natural stone and named The Granary, the completed building now stands about half-way along Lloyd George Avenue.

David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

Sources consulted:

  • Mary Traynor Collection [D1093/2/36]
  • Cardiff County Council: Planning Application 04/02950/C
  • Lee, Brian, Cardiff’s Vanished Docklands (especially image on p.53)

Norwegian Church, Bute West Dock

In the 19th century, Cardiff was one of Britain’s three major ports, along with London and Liverpool.  The Norwegian merchant fleet was the third largest in the world, and Cardiff became one of its major centres of operation.

From 1866, Sjømannskirken, part of the Lutheran Church of Norway, provided a pastor to serve the religious needs of Norwegians visiting or settled in Cardiff.  Meetings were initially held on board ship and in a redundant chapel but, in 1868, Sjømannskirken was able to build a church on land donated by the Marquess of Bute – where the Wales Millennium Centre now stands.

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The Harbour Master ruled that the church should be constructed so as to be easily dismantled and re-located if necessary.  It was therefore pre-fabricated in Norway and clad with iron sheets.  In the event, this form of construction provided a flexibility which allowed the building to be altered and extended several times over the subsequent thirty years.

With the decline in Cardiff’s importance as a port, there was less need for a dockland church to serve the Scandinavian community.  The Norwegian Seamen’s Mission withdrew in 1959, though a local congregation continued to use the church until it was de-consecrated in 1974, after which it fell into disrepair, but remained standing.

In 1987 the Norwegian Church Preservation Trust was established to rescue and re-build the Church.  Under the presidency of author, Roald Dahl – who, as a child of Norwegian expatriates, had been baptised in the church – funds were raised locally and from a support committee in Bergen, Norway.  This allowed the building to be carefully dismantled and rebuilt in its current location.  The reconstructed church was officially opened by Princess Märtha Louise of Norway on 8th April 1992.  It now serves as an arts centre and coffee shop, with function rooms which are used for exhibitions, concerts, weddings and other events.

David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

Sources consulted: