Cardiff, Wales: Old Photos & Films

Categorised as Wales
Cardiff Wales UK local history videos

Step back in time with fascinating old images of Cardiff, Wales.

Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is famous for its medieval castle, gorgeous bay and rainy climate. This city in South Wales was being filmed from almost the start of cinema history, leaving a rich legacy for our own generation to enjoy.

Town Hall & Law Courts

This footage, filmed sometime between 1910 and 1920, shows a number of locations within and around Cardiff Town Hall and the Law Courts. 

Cardiff Town Hall And Law Courts (1910-1920) – British Pathé on YouTube

Centre & Docks in the 1920s

This 1920s footage includes old images of the Cardiff centre and shops, the City Hall, Cardiff Docks, and ships.

Cardiff Docks in the 1920s – Film 1019454 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

Busy Streets in the 1920s

Buses, trams, cars, trucks, bicycles, pedestrians, a policeman and Cardiff Castle are all seen from different points of St. Mary’s Street, Cardiff. 

Cardiff Trams, 1920’s – Film 11652 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

Penarth and Cardifff in the 1930s

This is an amateur home movie of a small steamer boat approaching Penarth back in the 1930s.

We see the Penarth Pier and seafront, as well as some street scenes of Cardiff around Cathays Park and City Hall.

There is also some initially overexposed footage of a couple walking their dog on the beach.

Penarth And Cardiff Wales, 1930s – Film 99374 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

A Booming Population 1930

The Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Robert G. Hill Snook, introduces this 1931 Pathone film.

At the time, the city was home to quarter of a million people, but in his boyhood some 70 years before, the population was just 50,000.

The University college itself now had a thousand students. 

Cities Of Great Britain – Cardiff (1931) – British Pathé on YouTube

London was 3 hours away by express train, which was a steam train with few stops en route. A number of fascinating locations are shown, including the busy docks which were the largest coal exporter in the world.

1940s Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle was a Norman stronghold, where William the Conqueror’s son Robert was once imprisoned. It remained in aristocratic ownership until the 1940s, when the Marquess of Bute transferred ownership to “the people”.

To commemorate this event, a procession headed by the band of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and including large numbers of police and dignitaries came to the castle gates. There the Marquess officially handed over the castle and mace to the Mayor, Alderman Ferguson. RAF planes flew overhead. In the crowds of spectators, uniforms remind us this is during World War 2.

Key to Cardiff Castle, 1940s – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

Princess Elizabeth 1948

In 1948, HRH Princess Elizabeth, (later Queen Elizabeth II), visited Cardiff and carried out a number of official duties.

In a second scene, Hugh Gaitskell (leading Labour politician) watches a boxing match.

Around Britain – Cardiff (1948) – British Pathé on YouTube

Vintage Cars in 1946

In 1946, Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser watched a parade of old fashioned cars.

Shots include a man turning the crank handle to start the car, Fraser taking a look at the old cars, and various shots of people watching the parade.

Vintage Cars In Cardiff (1946) – British Pathé on YouTube

Cardiff Castle Bomb Shelters

This short video shows the bomb shelters under Cardiff Castle used during WWII, using old and modern images.

Cardiff Castle 1940 Wales – Cheryl Sill on YouTube

One Day in 1959

This silent footage from 1959 shows the daily life of the city, from sunrise to sunset.

A Day in the Life of Cardiff – 1959 – Archif ITV Cymru/Wales @ LlGC | ITV Cymru/Wales Archive @ NLW on YouTube

Buses & Streets of the 1960s

Nice images of the old fashioned buses and cars, with glimpses of the city’s streets.

Cardiff Trolleybusses and Street Scenes 1960s – Cardiff333UK on YouTube

Top Rank Nightclub 1964

A TV reporter in a suit visits a 1960s nightclub to ask teenagers if they’d like to see a return of the ‘old fashioned’ dances such as the Foxtrot, and worries whether they’ll find any romance with the modern ‘Twist and shake’.

Top Rank nightclub – Cardiff 1964 – Archif ITV Cymru/Wales @ LlGC | ITV Cymru/Wales Archive @ NLW on YouTube

Harold MacMillan 1960

Harold Macmillan unveils a monument to Lloyd George in a civic event, 1960.

The reporter’s voiceover is heard in place of the speeches.

Protesters are clearly seen in the audience.

Later the Duke of Edinburgh arrives to meet Queen Elizabeth II.

Cardiff, 1960’s – Film 18611 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

Demolition of Historic Housing 1962″

This video shows some of the beautiful buildings which were lost in 1962, during a period which valued progress above history.

The Demoliton Of Old Cardiff Housing, 1962 – Archif ITV Cymru/Wales @ LlGC | ITV Cymru/Wales Archive @ NLW on YouTube.

1960’s Remembrance Day Parade

This is a home 8mm cine film of the 1964 Remembrance Day Parade, recorded by the late Jack Davies, who was a Cardiff Councillor.

It shows images from events at the Civic Centre.

Cardiff Remembrance Day Parade 1960’s. – Peter Ellis on YouTube

St Andrew’s Methodist Church

A large civic parade commemorating the opening of the new St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Birchgrove was attended by the Lord Mayor.

Cardiff Parade, 1960’s – Film 33442 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

Cardiff in 1977

This is a video of the city, including scenes of the traffic, shops, park, scenery, and sea.

1977 – Cardiff – Kees de Jong on YouTube

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