Cowbridge Road East
Canton shown within Cardiff
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Cardiff West|
|Welsh Assembly||Cardiff West|
Canton (Welsh: Treganna) is an inner-city district and community in the west of Cardiff, capital of Wales, lying 2 miles (3.2 km) west of the city's civic centre. Canton is one of the most ethnically diverse of Cardiff's suburbs, with a significant Pakistani and Indian population. The total population of Canton is just in excess of 13,086.
The name (from "St. Canna's Town") refers to the 6th century female saint after whom Pontcanna is also named. Canton, also known as Treganna (tref town + Saint Canna), was a 13th-century manor in Llandaff. It became part of Victorian era Cardiff in 1875.
Canton, or Treganna in the Welsh language, was formed around a 13th-century Manor in Cardiff and assumed lands from nearby Llandaff and Leckwith parishes under the stewardship of an Earl (or Baron) de Kanetune, although today the manor comes under the jurisdiction of the Manor of Llandaff. It is believed that Canton is named after St Canna, the holy matron in the Celtic age of Saints, and Canna herself is reputed to have been a relative of King Arthur
In 1215 a parishioner called Lucia de Kanetune is recorded as occupying a field ‘near the Earl's wall’. In 1230 a man named as Walter de Canetune is named in the Cardiff charter, and signed the charter, obviously as a resident of quite high status. In 1262 a doctor or ‘Physicus’ called Nicholas de Kanetone gave evidence in a legal dispute between the Abbeys of Margam and St. Peter's, Gloucester. In 1290 Richard de Canetone is recorded as a witness on the new Cardiff charter. Also in 1290 (Cartae 1 page 294) records:
- “John, son of Robert de Landaf, granting to Milo de Regny a rent of sixpence arising out of three acres of land with the appurtenances, which John de Lake, formerly bailiff of la Lekwiffe, had of my fee under Kanetone, in Sudcrofte. As also one penny rent from John, son of John Godman of Kaerdif, for three other acres in the same Sudcrofte under Kanetone." (Richard de Kaneton was also one of the witnesses to this charter).
A medieval market
From around 1250 for several hundred years Canton Cross was the site of the largest and most significant trading market in the South Wales area. The market was open daily except Sundays on the extensive Canton common lands at the junction where Llandaff Road and Leckwith Road now cross Cowbridge Road East, opposite where the Canton Cross Vaults public house still stands.
Goods, including all manner of fresh food stuffs, live animals and household items were brought from all over Cardiff and the South Wales Valleys to be traded at the market. Items that were to be exported were then transported or herded to the docks at Cardiff, Penarth and Swanbridge. Imports of fresh foods and tradeable goods were also brought to the market from those ports.
19th and 20th centuries
In 1853 St. Johns, Canton was completed and opened as a local chapel annexe of nearby Llandaff Cathedral. From around 1840, Halket Street, Canton, became home to a large number of Irish families, indeed Canton was the recognised centre of Cardiff’s increasing Irish community, most of whom were fleeing the potato famines in their own country and seeking work and housing in the ports of Liverpool and Cardiff. In 1870 the large Atlas Engineering works was built in Canton and opened its doors, creating a large number of new skilled jobs in the area.
In 1899 the Manor House is recorded as still standing, on the west side of Canton Common but is in a poor condition and in danger of falling down. At that time it was under the occupation of a Mr. Richard Williams, but there is no record of when the Manor house was eventually demolished.
The extensive common lands at Ely Common were already in the process of being converted into a municipal recreation ground called Victoria Park and new housing by the city council in 1899. The market near Canton Cross, which by then had wound down to a weekly cattle market, had been relocated to lands that now house Cantonian High School in adjacent Fairwater. The market yard and rows of stables would be full of the farmers’ carts and traps from all over the Vale of Glamorgan. The market dealt with sheep and pigs as well as cattle and the market buildings also included a slaughterhouse, so the animals could be butchered on site ready for transporting to the many butchers shops all over Cardiff. The market’s tram depot and stabling was also next to Severn Road Council School, trams ran on rails with overhead electric power from the depot and Victoria Park to the city centre and on to other locations in Cardiff from 1902 until they were replaced by Cardiff's electric trolleybuses in 1950. The traditional Canton Cross common land now has Cardiff City FC's Cardiff City Stadium football ground and Cardiff Athletics Stadium built on it, with the last remnant of the medieval market represented only by Bessemer Road fruit market. In recent years a large number of commercial car dealerships have moved into the area.
Canton has long been recognised as one of the most multi-cultural areas of Cardiff since the vast influx of Irish immigrants in the mid 19th century and today houses a significant and thriving Asian population such as Pakistanis and Indians.
The main road through the district is Cowbridge Road East, a busy thoroughfare with many discount shops as well as pubs and restaurants and independent retailers. Canton is home to Thompson's Park and Victoria Park, to the education centre Llanover Hall, and to the Chapter Arts Centre, which is housed in a former school.
Though the area has strong working class roots, many artists and young professionals have found the proximity to the city centre and the number of arts venues and pubs an attraction, which has resulted in gentrification and a bohemian feel. This shift, in turn has resulted in an animosity towards the many "artists", hipsters and creative industry bottom feeders amongst the local population. Although the disparity in wealth, the acquiescence to new money by elected officials and the sheer weight of numbers backed up by out of control housing/rental markets has fostered apathy in the locals, allowing the gentrification, social cleansing, displacement and cultural appropriation to run smoothly as planned with no signs as yet of the various assortment of toss pieces fleeing back across the Taff.
The main road running through the heart of Canton is Cowbridge Road East, which is served by many bus services. The following bus services all run through Canton:
- 1: City Circle via Cardiff Bay, Canton, Heath Hospital, Roath and Splott (Cardiff Bus)
- 2: City Circle via Splott, Roath, Heath Hospital, Canton and Cardiff Bay (Cardiff Bus)
- 13: City Centre to Drope via Canton and Ely (Cardiff Bus)
- 15: City Centre to Heath Hospital via Ely (Cardiff Bus)
- 17: City Centre to Caerau/Ely via Canton (Cardiff Bus)
- 18: City Centre to Ely/Caerau via Canton (Cardiff Bus)
- 32: City Centre to St Fagans via Canton and Fairwater (Easyway Minibus)
- 64: City Centre to St Mellons via Canton, Fairwater, Pentrebane, Danescourt, Llandaff, Whitchurch, Heath Hospital, Cyncoed and St Mellons/Llanrumney
- 65: City Centre to St Mellons via Canton, Fairwater, Pentrebane, Danescourt, Llandaff, Whitchurch, Heath Hospital, Cyncoed and Llanrumney/St Mellons (Cardiff Bus)
- 66: City Centre to Danescourt via Canton and Llandaff (Cardiff Bus)
Schools include Lansdowne Primary School,Severn Primary School, St Mary's RC School, Radnor Primary School, Ysgol Gymraeg Treganna, Ysgol Gymraeg Pwll Coch and Fitzalan High School. It also has the large Canton Library.
Local community sports clubs include junior football club, Canton Rangers Football Club (Formerly known as Canton & Riverside FC) which was founded in August,1999 and is affiliated to the South Wales Football Association. Since its formation, the club has won four Cardiff & District Junior titles, two at Under 12s, one at Under 13s & one at Under 16s as well as finishing as runners-up in the Under 14s age category. The season 2010/2011 season will see Deportivo Centrico of the Cardiff & District Senior league Division one merge with Canton Rangers FC to become the club's first ever senior men's side. Following the merger, Deportivo Centrico will become known as Canton Rangers FC.
Senior Football Club Canton Liberal FC also reside from the Canton Area and play in the South Wales Amateur League and are affiliated to the South Wales Football Association.
Since the club's formation in 2006 they have gained 5 successive League Titles winning Divisions 4, 3, 2, 1, and Premier League respectively. The 2010/2011 season saw the Liberals for the first time field a second side in the third division of the Cardiff and District league. The club currently plays its games at their newly built ground at lawrenny avenue in partnership with Fitzalan High School.
The electoral ward of Canton is located in the constituency of Cardiff West. It is bounded by Fairwater and Ely to the north; Riverside and Grangetown to the east; the Vale of Glamorgan to the south; and Caerau to the west.
Canton Ward is represented by three County Councillors on Cardiff County Council. Since Cardiff became a unitary authority in 1996 Canton has been represented by Labour Councillors. Currently they are Richard Cook, Cerys Furlong and Ramesh Patel, they hold an advice surgery every Saturday morning (except in August) at Canton Library, Library Street from 10.00 - 11.00am.
Famous residents include singer Charlotte Church, while John Toshack attended Radnor Primary School and Cantonian High School in neighbouring Fairwater. Welsh writer Jennifer Sullivan grew up in Canton, whilst the half-mile world champion runner Frederick Charles Davies, who was better known as ‘Tenby Davies’, lived at Preswylfa Street. In recent years Canton has produced even more Welsh international football stars, most notably Ryan Giggs (once Wales' youngest international) and Jermaine Easter. Cantonian High School's most famous comedy actor was Robin Nedwell star of TV's Doctor in the House.
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Canton and surrounding area
- BBC Wales : Memories of Canton feature
- The official site of Canton's junior football club: Canton Rangers F.C
- The official site of Canton Liberal F.C