CARDIFF

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GLAMORGANSHIRE

“Here British hearts the arms of Rome withstood.
Repulsed her cohorts with their native blood;
Till Caradoc and independence fell.
And freedom shrieked in CARDIFF’s citadel—
And Cambria’s heroes, rushing on the glave,
Died gloriously for her they could not save!”

THE county of Glamorgan, of which the principal town is represented in the
accompanying plate, abounds in historical sites well adapted for the pencil, and
furnishing the reader with many interesting facts and traditions. The southern portion
of the country is remarkably fertile, highly cultivated, and presents to the stranger a
long succession of luxuriant corn-fields, verdant pastures, and animated pictures of
rural happiness and independence. It would be difficult to find any tract of land in Great
Britain that can surpass the Vale of Glamorgan in richness of soil, or in soft and graceful
scenery. This favoured region extends the whole length of the county — from the base
of the mountains on the north to the shore of the Bristol Channel on the south-west. It
presents throughout a most gratifying proof of what may be accomplished by judicious
management, when soil and climate are both in favour of agricultural operations.

As a fair proof of the mild and salubrious nature of the atmosphere, we need
only observe that the magnolia, the myrtle, and other delicate exotics, not only live
but flourish in this auspicious climate. Equally favourable to health and longevity, this
district has numerous living testimonies in the vigorous health and protracted age of its
inhabitants, who are fully sensible of the blessings they enjoy. The valley, at its greatest
breadth, measures about eighteen miles; in various places, however, it is contracted
into less than the half of this space, and presents in its outline a constant variety of
picturesque and graceful windings.

The town of Cardiff is built on the eastern bank of the river Taff, over which
there is a handsome bridge of five arches, leading to Swansea. It is a thriving town,
possessing considerable trade; and, by means of a canal from Pennarth to Merthyr-
Tydvil, has become the connecting medium between these extensive iron-works and

the English market, and is, in fact, the port of the latter. The Taff, which falls into the
sea at Cardiff, forms a principal outlet for the mining districts of Glamorganshire, the
produce of which has hitherto found its way to market through the Glamorganshire
canal; but its sea-lock, constructed about fifty years ago, has long been found
inadequate to the demands for increased accommodation, in consequence of the great
prosperity of trade since the canal was opened.

The Marquess of Bute, possessing lands in this neighbourhood, obtained, in
1830, an act for constructing a new harbour, to be called the Bute ship canal, and
completed the work at his own expense. The great advantages of this enterprise are
— a straight, open channel from Cardiff-roads to the new sea-gates, which are forty-
five feet wide, with a depth of seventeen feet at neap, and thirty feet at spring-tide. On
passing the sea-gate, vessels enter a capacious basin, having an area of about an acre
and a half, sufficient to accommodate large trading-vessels and steamers. Quays are
erected along the side of the canal, finished with strong granite coping, and comprising
more than a mile of wharfs, with ample space for warehouses, exclusive of the wharfs at
the outer basin. This great work was finished in the summer of 1839, at an expense to
the proprietor of three hundred thousand pounds.

Cardiff Castle, which stands insulated on a high mound of earth, was partially
restored and modernized by the late Marquess of Bute. This ancient fortress is
connected with several interesting events in history. In one of its towers, or dungeons,
Robert Duke of Normandy was twenty-five years imprisoned by his younger brother,
Henry the First, who had previously usurped the throne and deprived him of his
eyesight. In the reign of Charles the First it was bombarded by the Parliamentary forces
during three successive days, and only surrendered in consequence of treachery on the
part of the garrison.

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