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Coordinates: 51°28′01″N 3°09′58″W / 51.467°N 3.166°W / 51.467; -3.166

Butetown electoral division of Cardiff

Butetown (or The Docks, Welsh: Tre-biwt) is a community in the south of the city of Cardiff, the capital of Wales. It was originally a model housing estate built in the early nineteenth century by John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute, for whose title the area was named. Commonly known as "Tiger Bay", this area became one of the UK's first multicultural communities with people from over 50 countries settled here by the outbreak of World War I, working in the docks and allied industries. Some of the largest communities included the Somalis, Yemenis and Greeks, whose influence still lives on today. A Greek Orthodox church still stands at the top of Bute Street. It is known as one of the "five towns of Cardiff", the others being Crockhertown, Grangetown, Newtown and Temperance Town.


A school in Butetown in 1943

In the 1960s, most of the original housing was demolished including the historic Loudoun Square, the original heart of Butetown. In its place was a typical 1960s housing estate of low-rise courts and alleys, and two high rise apartment blocks.

In the 1980s, the new Atlantic Wharf development was built on the reclaimed West Bute Dock, and has involved the construction of some 1300 new houses. Together with the developments in the Inner Habour and Roath Basin, it was hoped this would spur redevelopment and employment in Butetown, but it seems not to have. The divide between the wealthy Cardiff Bay, and the poor Tiger Bay seems as wide as ever, although some of the surviving areas of historic Butetown are becoming prime office and retail locations. With the new Century Wharf development to the west on the banks of the Taff, the housing estate is becoming a little 'boxed in', increasing feelings of exclusion. Over the next few decades, the 1960s housing will require renewal and it is hoped that new development will be more suitable of the urban context of the area and will provide a better mix of private and public housing to help fully integrate the community with the rest of the city.

A three-year £13m project to redevelop a shopping parade, community hub, health centre and homes in Butetown began on 2010. The Loudoun Square development will include environmental aspects such as harvesting rain water. The project is a collaboration between Cardiff Community Housing Association (CCHA), Cardiff Council and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. The facilities and 62 new homes will follow four years of consultation with local residents.[1]


Demographics reveal that from the United Kingdom Census 2001 Census[2]

  • Overall Population: 4,487
  • White British: 63.12%
  • White Irish: 1.27%
  • White Other: 3.25%
  • Black or Mixed Black and White: 18.81%
  • South Asian or Mixed Asian and White: 9.46%
  • Chinese or Other (including mixed race): 4.10%

People identifying themselves as Welsh: 8.71%


Bute Street (left) and the Butetown Branch Line (right)

The area is served by Cardiff Bay railway station with shuttle services every 12 minutes to Cardiff Queen Street. Cardiff Bus operates the 11 service to Pengam Green via Central Station, Splott and Tremorfa and the 35 service to Gabalfa via Central Stn and Cathays. It also on the 1/2 Bay Circle route connecting the area with Grangetown, Canton, Fairwater, Llandaff, Gabalfa, Heath, Cathays, Roath, Tremorfa, Splott and the City Centre. Butetown also enjoys the incorporating Cardiff Bay, thus benefiting from its public transport opportunities such as the Baycar bus route.

Bute Street and Lloyd George Avenue, running parallel, link the area to the city centre. Also, the A4232 links it to Culverhouse Cross and the M4 J33 Cardiff West to the west and to Adamsdown in the east.


The electoral ward of Butetown is located in the parliamentary constituency of Cardiff South and Penarth. It is bounded by the wards of Cathays and Adamsdown to the north; Splott to the northeast; Severn estuary to the southeast; and Grangetown to the west.

On Cardiff Council, the Butetown ward is represented by Cllr Ali Ahmed (Labour).[3]

Images of Butetown[edit]

See also[edit]