The Cardiff Story

The Cardiff Story

National Museum Cardiff

National Museum Cardiff


The Cardiff Story

Cardiff Story (Welsh: Stori Caerdydd) is a museum in Cardiff, Wales which exhibits the history of the city. As well as the museum's permanent Cardiff in Context and City Lab galleries, The Cardiff Story also has a programme of temporary exhibitions. In 2016 there are : Representing Butetown: The Caribbean Elders Project; 1 June to 31 August 2016 and Cardiff Remembers 1914 - 1918; on until end December 2016. There was a roman fort at Cardiff. The Norman built Cardiff Castle. A town grew up in the shadow of the castle, made up primarily of settlers from England. Cardiff had a population of between 1,500 and 2,000 in the Middle Ages, a relatively normal size for a Welsh town in this period. It was the centre of the Norman Marcher Lordship of Glamorgan and by the end of the 13th century, Cardiff was the only town in Wales with a population exceeding 2,000. In additional to serving an important political role in the governance of the fertile south Glamorgan coastal plane, Cardiff was a busy port in the Middle Ages due to its location on the Bristol trading routes, and was declared a Staple port in 1327. This furthermore led to the town gaining a reputation for piracy, which by the Early Modern period led to much dispute between the burgesses of Cardiff and the surrounding county families.


Cardiff had become a Free Borough in 1542 and further Royal Charters were granted to the town by Elizabeth I in 1600 and James I in 1608. In 1573, it was made a head port for collection of customs duties. Pembrokeshire historian George Owen described Cardiff in 1602 as "the fayrest towne in Wales yett not the welthiest.", and the town gained a second Royal Charter in 1608. A disastrous flood of the Bristol Channel on 30 January 1607 (now believed to be a tsunami) led to a change in the course of the River Taff and the ruining of St Mary's Parish Church, which was replaced by its chapel of ease, St John the Baptist. During the Second English Civil War, St Fagans just to the west of the town, played host to the Battle of St Fagans. The battle, between a Royalist rebellion and a New Model Army detachment, was a decisive victory for the Parliamentarians and allowed Oliver Cromwell to conquer Wales. It is the last major battle to occur in Wales, with about 200 (mostly Royalist) soldiers killed.


In the ensuing century Cardiff was at peace. In 1766, John Stuart, 1st Marquess of Bute married into the Herbert family and was later created Baron Cardiff, and in 1778 he began renovations on Cardiff Castle. In the 1790s a racecourse, printing press, bank and coffee house all opened, and Cardiff gained a stagecoach service to London. Despite these improvements, Cardiff's position in the Welsh urban hierarchy had declined over the 18th century. Iolo Morgannwg called it "an obscure and inconsiderable place", and the 1801 census found the population to be only 1,870, making Cardiff only the 25th largest town in Wales, well behind Merthyr and Swansea. In 1793, John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute was born. He would spend his life building the Cardiff docks and would later be called "the creator of modern Cardiff". A twice-weekly boat service between Cardiff and Bristol was established in 1815, and in 1821, the Cardiff Gas Works was established. After the Napoleonic Wars Cardiff entered a period of social and industrial unrest, starting with the trial and hanging of Dic Penderyn in 1831.


The town grew rapidly from the 1830s onwards, when the Marquess of Bute built a dock, which eventually linked to the Taff Vale Railway. Cardiff became the main port for exports of coal from the Cynon, Rhondda, and Rhymney valleys, and grew at a rate of nearly 80% per decade between 1840 and 1870. Much of the growth was due to migration from within and outside Wales: in 1841, a quarter of Cardiff's population were English-born and more than 10% had been born in Ireland. By the 1881 census, Cardiff had overtaken both Merthyr and Swansea to become the largest town in Wales. Cardiff's new status as the premier town in South Wales was confirmed when it was chosen as the site of the University College South Wales and Monmouthshire in 1893. King Edward VII granted Cardiff city status on 28 October 1905, and the city acquired a Roman Catholic Cathedral in 1916. In subsequent years an increasing number of national institutions were located in the city, including the National Museum of Wales, Welsh National War Memorial, and the University of Wales Registry Building—however, it was denied the National Library of Wales, partly because the library's founder, Sir John Williams, considered Cardiff to have "a non-Welsh population".


The Cardiff Story is fully accessible, and has the following: Ramp to enter the building on the Working Street side; Lift to all floors; Wheelchair accessible toilets; Wheelchair access to all public areas of the museum; Hearing loops on all audios; Subtitles in both English and Welsh on all films; Transcriptions of all audio material; Large print labels; Tactile maps of the museum; Braille and raised letter signage. Assistance dogs accompanying visitors who are visually or hearing impaired are welcome in the museum. Drinking water is available on request from a member of staff. Dogs must leave the premises to relieve themselves and staff will assist in identifying a suitable area.


National Museum Cardiff

National Museum Cardiff (Welsh: Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd) is a museum and art gallery in Cardiff, Wales. The museum is part of the wider network of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. The museum has collections of archaeology, botany, fine and applied art, geology, and zoology. In 2011, with funding from the Clore Duffield Foundation, the former Glanely Gallery was transformed into the Clore Discovery Centre, which offers hands-on exploration of the museums 7.5 million items that are normally in storage, including insects, fossils and Bronze Age weapons. School groups, formal and informal groups can also be accommodated but should book in advance. The visitor can take an amazing journey in The Evolution of Wales from the very beginnings of time to the present day. The story begins in space with the Big Bang and takes you on a 4,600 million-year journey, bringing you face to face with dinosaurs and woolly mammoths along the way. Find out how life evolved in Wales and which dinosaurs roamed the land. Witness Wales's diverse natural history on an expedition that begins at the seashore and ends in the mountains. Experience some of the unique environments that make Wales home to over 900 Sites of Special Scientific Interest.


The Evolution of Wales, Natural History and Man & the Environment galleries all have audio material to support the visual exhibits. Some of the natural science galleries have low light levels but walkways, text panels are exhibits are clearly illuminated. A touch trail is available in the Natural History galleries. Only assistance dogs are allowed on site. Drinking water is available on request from the Oriel Restaurant or Coffee Shop. The entrance to the Museum for wheelchair users and families with pushchairs is via a self operated glass lift to the right of the front steps of the Museum. In the event that this lift is out of order, alternative access is available at the gate to the left of the Museum steps by pressing the intercom for assistance. There is wheelchair access to all galleries. Most galleries can be visited independently, but lifts to some galleries must be operated by a Museum Assistant for security reasons. There are signs indicating the location and operating instructions of all lifts. Museum staff are nearby to help. Four wheelchairs and six mobile seating sticks are available on loan from the Information desk on request. These are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. A variety of seating is available throughout the Museum. Please be aware that there are uneven floor levels throughout the Evolution of Wales exhibition and in some of the Natural History galleries – please take care in these areas. The Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre has a viewing platform with six designated spaces for wheelchair users. Access to the Theatre is from the rear of the Visitor Car Park or via a level access pathway from Park Place. The Museum Shop, Coffee Shop and Oriel Restaurant are accessible to wheelchair users. Accessible toilets are situated in the Oriel Restaurant. Baby changing facilities are situated in the Oriel Restaurant.


Location : National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP

Location : The Cardiff Story, The Old Library, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1BH

Transport : Cathays Station (National Rail) then 6 minutes. Bus Routes : 53, 86 and Bay Car 6 stop outside.

Transport : Cardiff Central (National Rail) then 6 minutes. Bus Routes : 35, 36, 38, and X91 stop near by.

Opening Times National Museum: Tuesday to Sunday + Bank Holidays 10:00 to 17.00

Opening Times Cardiff Story: Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 16.00

Tickets National Museum: Free (Donations gratefully accepted).

Tickets The Cardiff Story: Free

Tel. National Museum: 0300 1112 333

Tel. Cardiff Story: 029 2034 6214


Dr Who Exhibition

Dr Who Exhibition

Pierhead - Western Facade

Pierhead - Western Facade


Dr Who Exhibition Centre

Since Doctor Who was first broadcast in 1963, there have been a number of exhibitions of props, costumes and sets throughout the United Kingdom. Some have been intended to be permanent, and others seasonal; most have been staged at existing tourist locations. An exhibition titled Doctor Who Experience, complete with a new interactive Doctor Who episode with the Eleventh Doctor, opened in London on 20 February 2011. The exhibition moved to Cardiff in July 2012, opening on 20 July and will remain there until 2017. The immersive exhibition was designed and installed by the UK-based theme park design and installation company Sarner Ltd. The exhibition begins with a short film and a walk-through adventure inside the TARDIS and in various locations. The group are lead through the experience by a guide and the Twelfth Doctor. Initially the Eleventh Doctor featured in the experience, but was replaced after he regenerated.


Following the adventure portion guests are free to roam two floors of exhibitions including original costumes from nine of the eleven Doctors (the first two being replicas as the originals were lost). Alien prosthetics, Daleks over history, Sonic devices, the interiors of the Fifth Doctor's and Ninth Doctor's/ Tenth Doctor's TARDIS and other show memorabilia and artifacts are also on display. There are also costumes from the companions since 2005 including: Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Donna Noble, Captain Jack Harkness, Amy Pond, and Rory Williams. In 2013, props, such as Porridge's costume and the deactivated chess-playing Cyberman, from Nightmare in Silver have been added. The costumes of the Eleventh Doctor and Clara Oswald, along with the giant snow globe, from the Christmas episode entitled The Snowmen were also added to the collection in 2013. In late 2014 props and costumes from Last Christmas were added. Museum patrons can also take pictures in front of a green screen. There are multiple backgrounds to select from including Totter's Lane, from the Doctor's first adventure and inside the time vortex, as well as several props such as various Sonic Screwdrivers, and articles of clothing symbolic to several Doctors (e.g. Matt Smith's fez). Taking the pictures are free, but visitors must pay for a physical copy.


The Doctor Who Experience is not suitable for assistance dogs due to loud noises and floor movements, however they do offer free carer tickets. Wherever possible, they can look after your guide dog whilst you are in the interactive experience, returning to you once you have progressed to the exhibition. An Audio Description track for the interactive experience is available to hire. Please call us or email us for more details. The track is available on portable devices, which are available for loan from the main ticket desk. A security deposit will be required. The interactive section will be led by a guide, so if you have any additional requirements there will be a member of staff to assist. In the exhibition section, stewards will be available to assist with describing artefacts and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Large print packs to accompany the artefact signage are available to borrow from the Box Office. There is no Audio Description track available on our Walking Tours but our hosts will deliver a full description for all visitors. There is no Audio Description track available on the TARDIS Studio Tours but our hosts will deliver a description for all our visitors. An information sheet describing the set will be available in large print. Guide dogs are permitted in the studio and on the set. The Doctor Who Experience is fully accessible for wheelchair users. Due to the venue evacuation policy, the number of wheelchairs allowed in the building at any one time is controlled. The Walking Tours are accessible to wheelchair users. The Walking Tour lasts up to 75 minutes and covers 1.5 miles around Cardiff Bay. Visitors will be travelling on public pavements.



The Pierhead Building (Welsh: Adeilad y Pierhead) stands as one of the city of Cardiff's most familiar landmarks and was built in 1897 as the headquarters for the Bute Dock Company. The clock on the building is unofficially known as the "Baby Big Ben" or the "Big Ben of Wales", and also serves as a Welsh history museum. The Pierhead Building is part of the estate of the National Assembly for Wales, which also includes the Senedd and Ty Hywel. The Grade One listed building was built in 1897 and designed by the English architect William Frame. It was a replacement for the headquarters of the Bute Dock Company which burnt down in 1892. Frame's mentor was William Burges, with whom Frame worked on the rebuilding of Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch until Burges's death in 1881. The Bute Dock Company was renamed the Cardiff Railway Company in 1897. A coat of arms on the building's façade bears the company's motto "wrth ddŵr a thân" (by water and fire) encapsulating the elements creating the steam power which transformed Wales. The Pierhead became the administrative office for the Port of Cardiff in 1947.


On 1 March 2010, the building re-opened again to the public as a Welsh history museum and exhibition. It contains a number of films and exhibits exploring Welsh history as well as spaces to function as venues for public debate and assembly-sponsored events, where people can express their views about what happens in the nearby National Assembly building itself. Artefacts on display include the original binnacle (the stand housing the ship's compass) from Scott of the Antarctic's ship Terra Nova, and the Pennal Letter sent by Prince of Wales Owain Glyndŵr to Charles VI of France in 1406. Another feature is an audio-visual display of Welsh heroes who have made significant contributions to Wales' cultural and political identity, such as former Prime Minister David Lloyd George, fashion designer Laura Ashley and the late rugby player and broadcaster Ray Gravell. Films and exhibits explore the history of Cardiff Bay from the Neolithic era onwards and show how iron ore and coal exports made Cardiff one of the busiest ports in the world. They describe the impact of the coming of railways from 1841, which meant goods could be transported as far in an hour as they would have been in a month using the canal system. They also illustrate how, following the crisis of a steep drop in demand for coal in the 1920s, and its decline as a port for container ships from the 1950s, Cardiff Bay entered a difficult period, ending with its regeneration at the century's close. All floors of the Pierhead are fully accessible. Assistance dogs are welcome.


Location Dr Who: Discovery Quay, Porth Teigr, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF10 4GA

Location Pierhead: Pierhead Building, Cardiff CF10 4PZ

Transport Dr Who: Cardiff Central (National Rail) then bus (BayCar 6). Bus Routes : Bay Car 6 or National Express stop outside.

Transport Pierhead: Cardiff Bay (National Rail) then 8 minutes or bus. Bus Routes : 2, 7, 8, 91 and X10 stop nearby.

Opening Times Dr Who: Daily 10:00 to 17.00; Off Peak closed Tuesdays

Opening Times Pierhead: Monday to Saturday 10:30 to 16.30

Tickets Dr Who: Adults £14.00;  Carers Free;  Children (5 - 16) £9.75; Prices when booked online.

Tickets Pierhead: Free

Tel. Dr Who: 0844 801 2279

Tel. Pierhead: 0845 010 5500.