In 2005 the people of Cardiff celebrated the fact that their hometown had been a City for a hundred years and the Capital of Wales, the youngest capital in Europe, for 50 years. In the Introduction, the authors take a quick look back to Cardiff in the pre-Christian era and later times before it was made a city by Royal charter in 1905 but the rest of the book chronicles the City over the past 100 years.
One advantage of this book is that has been written by two very knowledgeable Cardiffians – John Sullivan, a journalist in South Wales for 50 years, who saw and reported on many of the events recorded in the book, and Bryn Jones, who was in charge of the local studies department of Cardiff Central Library until his retirement in 2005.
Another good thing is that they have arranged all the entries in chronological order, year by year. This makes it easier to follow the City’s development over the years and to pin-point a particular incident. Also, for those thousands of us who spent some time in the City and moved on, it is quick and easy to turn to those particular years and be reminded of what the City was like then. There is so much to include that many items are only allowed a paragraph but reading even a short piece about the Empire Games in 1958 brings back very happy memories. I searched for cricket events - those heady cricket days at the Sophia Gardens. There is an entry in 1948 when Glamorgan won the Championship for the first time and a photograph of the tall, lean captain, J.C. Clay, but nothing in 1969 and 1997 when they won it again, probably because it was a County organization rather than a City Club.
Almost every year has some excellent photographic illustrations such as the widespread destruction in Albany Road following bombing in 1941, early public transport in Cardiff, and local celebrities such as Shirley Bassey, the evangelist Evan Roberts and the boxer Jim Driscoll. More recent years have brought the Assembly to Cardiff and the development of Cardiff Bay. There are many references to these, as well as world tragedies, such as the Twin Towers and the Tsunami, and how they impacted on the City.
Cardiff can be proud of its position as a City and the capital of Wales and the authors can be proud of their contribution to the celebration of its centenary.
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Gellir defnyddio’r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatad Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.