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.

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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

Glamorgan’s Christmas Past

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

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As we enter the final few Christmas shopping days it’s interesting to look back at what our forebears were buying for their Christmases. The papers of Sybil Rolley of Fairwater, Cardiff (ref.: D790), held at Glamorgan Archives, shows what one family were purchasing for their Christmas celebrations.

One volume records their budgets for every Christmas from 1951 to 1965, documenting their meal and the cost of ‘extras’ such as decorations and presents! Of course it also records the increase in the price of Christmas over the period, and the variety of food and presents people received. The Christmas food recorded included, among other things, Ideal milk, tins of tongue, blancmange, and Turkish Delight. More familiar to our current Christmas shopping lists would be Cadbury’s Chocolate Biscuits, Tango and boxes of Milk Tray.

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Presents that are shown on the list include chisels, the record ‘Mary’s Boy Child’, cigarettes, and a nylon slip with a £1 note. There are none of the more familiar items we might ask for nowadays, like toys or electronics.

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This is not the only Christmas themed archive we hold. Amongst others are the records of the David Morgan Department Store (ref.: DDM), which include many photographs of the shop during the festive season. From the themed ‘Old Woman who lived in a Shoe’ of the 1930s, to the bunny girl elves and burly Santa of the 1960s, and the famous ‘wall of crackers’, we have a selection of photos documenting the history of the store at Christmas.  They illustrate the changing styles and fashions of the Christmas period while David Morgan traded in Cardiff.

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We hope all our followers have a wonderful festive season.

Merry Christmas!