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Cardiff Arms Park
A short History
by Andrew Hignell - Archivist to Glamorgan CCC

The Creation of the Arms Park

© Glamorgan Cricket Archives

In 1803 the Cardiff Arms and the Park became the property of the Marquess of Bute, who owned Cardiff Castle, and vast tracts of land in the area. Indeed, it was the Bute family who developed from 1839 the extensive docks at the mouth of the Taff, and helped to oversee the transformation of the market town into a coal metropolis.

Another key player in the creation of the Arms Park was Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the famous engineer and perhaps the greatest Briton in Victorian times. His involvement coincided with the construction in the early 1840s of the South Wales Railway and the difficulties over finding a suitable site for the town's new railway station, which could be free from the danger of flooding. Brunel`s solution was to divert the river away to the west, thereby creating a larger, and safer site to the south where the railway station could be built.

Brunel's scheme also allowed vessals using the river to have an easier passage, and as far as the Arms Park was concerned, the straightening of the river extended the area of meadowland to some 18 acres. With the danger of regular flooding removed, the Park soon became a popular place for recreation, and from 1848 cricket was played by Cardiff CC on the Arms Park.

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