all roads lead to Cardiff

Hamadryad Park
The Bay
St David's Hall
The Museum
The City
Check Your Accent
Ffynnon Denis

Cardiff Poets Map

Real Cardiff
Bute Street
Charles Street
City Road
Flat Holm
The Four Elms
The Garth
Gorsedd Gardens
Hadfield Road
Lloyd George Ave
Mount Stuart Square
Newport Road


The Parks of Roath
The Pearl


Womanby St.

to Cardiff

to site map



some history

At the start
nothing definite.

The sandy frith of the river
a fort
a track into the heathland
the reach of the sea

then names

Taf, Ely, Rhymney
Maindy, Crwys Bychan, Cathays
few streets - Shoemaker, Working,
Duck, Worton, Houndemanneby,
the booth-hall, the town cross,
mud flats, boat stays.
In command immigrant merchants
manipulators -
Hugo, Johannes,

Walterus Parvus,
Robertus de Kardif Niger,
Walteri Longi, Alabus,
all foreigners.
This is the Welsh way.


Cae Twc, Coed Yr Hen Wyr,
Maindy Bach, Carreg Picca,
bilingual officials, ascendant chapels.
Cardiff grows.
Visitors from Bristol
find us short,
gregarious, singers,
drinkers, fish sellers, panhandlers,
street peddlers, beggars,
gargling ruffians
in stovepipe hats.

I need not remind you that Welsh
is the common vernacular of Cardiff

- Official advice to travelers

There is no reason why these aboriginals should not be made to speak the King's English
Letter to local paper

King George is a German
- Slogan on wall

Then coal

We name our burgeoning streets
after battles, foreigners,
campaigns, soldiers,
poets, statesmen,
engineers, scientists, metals,
precious stones,
the heavenly bodies -
anything pronounceable by coal owners.
Not yet pastoral England -

Fairwood, Sweet Briar, Mallard's Reach,
but soon.

Now glass

When the coal city fails and the brick city crumbles
We build a glass city with borrowed money.
We close down everything that smells.
We sell shoes, beds and endowment mortgages
from vast shining emporia.
This is not honest toil,
this is sweatless opportunism.
We do it well.

Q: How Welsh do you feel?
A: We don't.

Summary of answers to intelligence test:

Wales is near Spain.
Alexander Cordell is a local boxer.
We have a flag with a red dog on it.
Llewelyn ap Gruffydd is a mystery.
There are 52 nightclubs in our city centre.
We've been to them all.

60% of residents questions
said that Cardiff was not yet
their idea of a Welsh cultural epicentre

5% could not pronounce epicentre.

The rest thought they were
still living in Avon.


This poem was written in 1990. The number of nightclubs has continued to increase. Taken from Poems For Ghosts (Seren), 1991

Peter Finch


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