Working in Archives

As a second year Cardiff University student, before embarking on this project on the history of the arcades in Cardiff I knew relatively little about researching in archives. Other than a vague idea that they were a kind of library filled with primary sources where you weren’t allowed to use pens (a fact I subsequently…

Arcade Personalities: Gilbert Taylor

Gilbert Taylor was the manager of Collets bookshop in the Castle Arcade and also a member of the Young Communist League during the 1930s. At this time the backroom Collets bookshop was used by the Labour Cardiff United Youth Movement of which Leo Abse was a member, and also served as the local recruiting office…

Changing Forms of Retail in the Arcades

There are similarities between the type of goods that are sold in the arcades in Cardiff today and those that were sold in 1909. The arcades were filled with milliners, drapers and dressmakers selling items which are in many ways similar to the items sold in clothes shops today. Despite this, however, the Cardiff Directory…

Crime in the Cardiff Arcades

The ambiguous space that the arcades inhabit between being a public right of way and an indoor retail space has posed problems relating to law and order right from when the arcades first opened in the late Victorian period. A look at local newspaper articles from the period gives an idea of the kind of…

The Mystery of Cardiff’s ‘Royal’ Baby

Just over 100 years ago in July 1908, a woman was handed a baby in the Royal Arcade and told that its mother lived in another of Cardiff’s arcades, the Wyndham Arcade, before leaving never to return. The lack of information about the child’s mother meant that there was no option other than for the…