These were probably among the earliest houses to be built in Cathedral Road. Prior to the numbering of properties, they were known as Leonida Villa (no. 5) and Bryn Tawel Villa (no. 7). A photograph, thought to have been taken around 1871 from the clock tower of Cardiff Castle, includes a building which looks very much like this one, albeit without the bay window, and with very few neighbouring properties. However, its history goes back at least a further decade as Bryn Tawel Villa appears in the 1861 census, when it was occupied by Thomas Morgan, a 53 year old retired grocer and his daughter, Catherine, aged 24. They were still there is 1871 but Thomas died in May 1875 and Catherine in September 1876. By 1881, a 29 year old master printer, William D. Jones, was in residence along with his widowed mother, Elvena. None of these censuses seem to include entries for Leonida Villa – nor has it been found in contemporary directories.
1891 again sees a Morgan household in Bryn Tawel, headed by Palmer Morgan – another retired grocer, but we don’t know whether he was related to Thomas and Catherine. It is at this date that Leonida Villa first appears, occupied by Charles Arkell, an outfitter, with his wife and family. The 1901 census saw further changes with Sarah A. Davies at number 7 (Bryn Tawel). Although married, her husband seems to have been absent on census day since she was listed only with a servant. Number 5 (Leonida) was now occupied by Mary Ann Allgood.
By 1908, John James Chaddock, an Assistant Superintendent in the Post Office, was at number 7, and Mrs Mary Evans at number 5. In 1909, she obtained building approval for an extension over the porch, which can be clearly seen in the drawing. Mrs Evans remained until at least 1920 but Chaddock had left by 1913, when number 7 was occupied by John Lyal Williams, an elementary school teacher who worked at the Metal Street Council School and was also active in the Welsh Schools Rugby Union. He stayed until his death in November 1945. His son, John George Williams, born in 1913, became a noted ornithologist who spent much of his life as a curator at the Kenyan National Museum in Nairobi.
The 1955 Cardiff Directory lists Kenneth J. Williams at number 7 but by 1964 the house had become offices, occupied by accountants and estate agents.
In the 1932 Cardiff Directory, David Rees Jones, a medical practitioner, is at number 5, where he remained until his death on 7 January 1971.
Mary Traynor drew the building in 1980, since when it has been demolished and replaced by a modern office building known as Carlyle House.
David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer
- Mary Traynor Collection [D1093/2/22]
- Cardiff Borough, building regulation plans, plan for a new toilet for a villa, Cathedral Road, 1876 [BC/S/1/603]
- Cardiff Borough, building regulation plans, plan for alterations to a house, Cathedral Road, 1876 [BC/S/1/650]
- Cardiff Borough, building regulation plans, plan for room over porch, 5 Cathedral Road, 1909 [BC/S/1/17131]
- 1871 – 1911 censuses
- Various Cardiff and south Wales directories
- The Medical Directory, 1967
- Jones, Bryan, Canton (Images of Wales series)
- Registrar General’s indexes of Births and Marriages
- England & Wales National Probate Calendars 1875, 1876, 1945, 1971 & 1978
- Western Mail, 6 Nov 1945