Pontcanna

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Row of cafés on Pontcanna Street.

Pontcanna (Welsh pont bridge + Canna) is a western district of the city of Cardiff, Wales. Its area is bounded approximately by Llandaff Fields to the north, the Riverside district and Cowbridge Road to the south, the River Taff to the east and the district of Canton to the west.

Pontcanna is part of the Cardiff electoral ward of Riverside. The Riverside electoral ward falls into the parliamentary constituency of Cardiff West.

Description[edit]

Pontcanna is an area of wide tree-lined streets and large houses. It is a gentrified "media village" with a cafe culture-lifestyle centred around Pontcanna Street and Cathedral Road. There is both a large English born population and large Welsh language speaking political and media class. Pontcanna is a popular hotspot for the Welsh-speaking arts and media elite, sometimes known as 'crachach'.[1] The area was formerly home to the Welsh studios of TWW, Teledu Cymru, HTV and S4C's headquarters; the BBC's Broadcasting House is still nearby in Llandaff.

Pontcanna is a popular area for flats within Cardiff. Many of the larger villas (as seen on Cathedral Road) have been converted into flats, guest houses or business premises. Located on the edge of Cardiff city centre, Pontcanna gives easy access to the centre for professionals, as well as easy access via the Gabalfa roundabout to the A48(M) motorway.

History[edit]

The name Pontcanna stems from Pont Canna Farm, which in turn was named after a bridge across the Whitehouse Brook,[2] a one-time tributary of the River Taff which ran between Llandaff Fields and Riverside. The bridge is believed to have stood near the junction of what, today, are Teilo Street and Cathedral Road. It was removed (and the brook covered up) in 1896.[3] Saint Canna was a 6th-century saint.

What is nowadays Pontcanna was almost completely open farmland until the late nineteenth century. The main route, Cathedral Road, was previously known as Pontcanna Lane, running between Plasturton Farm in the south and Pontcanna Farm to the north. In 1854 Sophia, widow of the 2nd Marquess of Bute began to finance the creation of a 41 acre garden on the site of Plasturton Farm, next to the River Taff and Cardiff Bridge.[4] This is now a public amenity known as Sophia Gardens and was a catalyst for the development of Pontcanna.

Between 1885 and 1900 the large villas along Cathedral Road were constructed. They were occupied by the very wealthiest families of Cardiff.[5] Plasturton Avenue and Plasturton Gardens were then added at the turn of the twentieth century.[6]

A large synagogue, designed by Delissa Joseph of London, was constructed and opened at the south end of Cathedral Road in 1896-7.[7] After Cardiff's Jewish community had largely moved to the suburbs, it was closed in 1989.[8] It has been converted into luxury offices.

A Presbyterian Church of Wales, designed by Edgar G.C. Down of Cardiff, was built at the north end of Cathedral Road in 1903. It has since ceased to be a church and has been subdivided into office accommodation.[9]

In 1951 the Sophia Gardens Pavilion was opened. This was a major entertainment venue for the city, hosting top stars such as Danny Kaye and Tommy Steele. In 1982 the roof collapsed after a heavy snow storm and the Pavilion was closed.[10]

Some of the large villas along Cathedral Road have been replaced by modern office buildings. For example No.8 Cathedral Road was rebuilt in the 1970s to create offices for Alex Gordon & Partners,[11] architects of Transport House (see below).

Transport House, prominently located at the south end of Cathedral Road, was designed by Alex Gordon Partnership and opened in 1978. It is 5-storeys in height, constructed using pre-cast concrete panels.[12] It is headquarters for the Wales TUC and other trade union organisations.

Parks and leisure facilities[edit]

Sophia Gardens and Pontcanna Fields form a large strip of parkland between Pontcanna and the River Taff. Pontcanna Fields were acquired by the Cardiff Council from the Marquis of Bute in 1947.[13] The parkland includes the Cardiff City Riding School, football pitches and allotments.

Plasturton Gardens is a small public park between Plasturton Avenue and Plasturton Place.

The SWALEC Stadium (home to Glamorgan County Cricket Club)and the Sport Wales National Centre are located on Sophia Close, just north of the Sophia Gardens park.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carolyn Hitt, So just who are 'the crachach'?, BBC Wales News, 1 March 2006 (retrieved 2012-10-17)
  2. ^ The suburbs of Riverside and Pontcanna www.cardiffians.co.uk
  3. ^ The suburbs of Riverside and Pontcanna www.cardiffians.co.uk
  4. ^ Jones, Bryan "Canton" The Chalfont Publishing Company (1995)
  5. ^ Jones, Bryan "Canton" The Chalfont Publishing Company (1995), p.55
  6. ^ Jones, Bryan "Canton" The Chalfont Publishing Company (1995), p.64
  7. ^ Newman, J., The Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan University of Wales Press (1995), p.279
  8. ^ Jones, Bryan "Canton" The Chalfont Publishing Company (1995), p.63
  9. ^ Newman, J., The Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan University of Wales Press (1995), p.278
  10. ^ Jones, Bryan "Canton" The Chalfont Publishing Company (1995), p.111
  11. ^ Newman, J., The Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan University of Wales Press (1995), p.282
  12. ^ Newman, J., The Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan University of Wales Press (1995), p.281
  13. ^ Cardiff Council website 'Pontcanna Fields (including Sophia Gardens)' Last revised 1 November 2010 (Retrieved 2011-09-25)

Coordinates: 51°29′26″N 3°12′08″W / 51.49056°N 3.20222°W / 51.49056; -3.20222