Cardiff, Wales: Old Photos & Films

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.

Cardiff 1900-1930

Cardiff Town Hall And Law Courts (1910-1920)

British Pathé: This video shows a number of locations within and around Cardiff Town Hall and Law Courts. 

Cardiff Docks, 1920’s – Film 19454

HuntleyFilmArchives: This 1920s footage includes Cardiff centre and shops, the City Hall, Cardiff docks and ships.

Cardiff Trams, 1920’s – Film 11652

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

Cardiff In The 1930s

Penarth And Cardiff Wales, 1930s – Film 99374

HuntleyFilmArchives: Amateur home movie of a small steamer boat approaching Penarth. Includes Penarth pier and seafront, plus street scenes of Cardiff around Cathays Park and City Hall. There is also some initially overexposed footage of a couple on a beach with a dog.

Cities Of Great Britain – Cardiff (1931)

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. 

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.

Cardiff In The 1940s

Key to Cardiff Castle, 1940s

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.

Around Britain – Cardiff (1948)

British Pathé: HRH Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) visits Cardiff and carries out a number of official duties. In a second scene, Hugh Gaitskell (leading Labour politician) watches a boxing match.

Vintage Cars In Cardiff (1946)

British Pathé: Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser watches 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.

Cardiff Castle 1940 Wales

Cheryl Sill: A short 1-minute film using old and modern media. Showing the bomb shelters under Cardiff Castle used during WWII.

The 1950s

A Day in the Life of Cardiff – 1959

Archif ITV Cymru/Wales @ LlGC | ITV Cymru/Wales Archive @ NLW: Without audio, this footage shows sunrise to sunset in Cardiff in 1959.

In The 1960s

Cardiff Trolleybusses and Street Scenes 1960s

Cardiff333UK: Published on 3 Feb 2011.

Top Rank nightclub – Cardiff 1964

Archif ITV Cymru/Wales @ LlGC | ITV Cymru/Wales Archive @ NLW.

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’.

Cardiff, 1960’s – Film 18611

HuntleyFilmArchives: 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.

The Demoliton Of Old Cardiff Housing, 1962

Archif ITV Cymru/Wales @ LlGC | ITV Cymru/Wales Archive @ NLW.

Cardiff Remembrance Day Parade 1960’s.

Peter Ellis: This footage was originally recorded on 8mm cine camera by the late Jack Davies, a Cardiff Councillor. The Remembrance Day Parade took place approximately 1964, and shows scenes from Cardiff Civic Centre.

Cardiff Parade, 1960’s – Film 33442

HuntleyFilmArchives: A large civic parade attended by the Lord Mayor, to commemorate the opening of the new St. Andrew’s Methodist Church, Birchgrove, Cardiff, South Wales.

The City In The 1970s

1977 – Cardiff

Kees de Jong: Home video of the city, traffic, shops, park, scenery, and sea.

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