Allotment Gardens in Roath

Another of our ‘Occasional Papers’ researched be our members in the past, this time from 2008.  This paper is best read in conjunction with another written the same year and previously published as a blog: Allotments in Roath – Personal Reminiscences of Margaret Reeves.  Unfortunately the coloured map referred to in the paper below is not available but a map of some sorts has been included.

Allotment gardens used to be fairly well scattered throughout Roath.  I suspect that they were mostly established on land earmarked for a different purpose and disappeared with the building of Eastern Avenue, Howardian School, Timbers Square, Melrose Avenue …until now there are no allotments left in Roath, the nearest being visible from Allensbank Road where it crosses Eastern Ave or on Highfields Road near its junction with Lake Road West.


On 20 July 1910, under the Smallholdings and Allotments Act 1908, the City of Cardiff confirmed Rules as to the Sale and Letting of Holdings and Preventing any undue Preference in the Sale or Letting thereof.  Among much else, the Rules require the Council to keep “a list of the smallholdings intended … and a map or plan showing the size, boundaries and situation of each holding. Every holding … shall be distinguished by a separate number.”  Unfortunately, I haven’t found this list in the Glamorgan Record Office (GRO) or the Central Library.

In the Rules, among the conditions placed on tenancies are:

“(h) The tenant shall not without the written consent of the Corporation … erect on the smallholding any dwelling house, toolhouse, shed, greenhouse, fowl house, pigsty or other building or structure whatsoever;

(i) The tenant shall not use or permit to be used any dwelling house or building on the holding for the sale of intoxicating liquors;

(j) The tenant shall not break up any pasture … All remains or objects of archaeological or other scientific interest on the holding are to be the property of the Corporation and the tenant on discovering any such remains or objects shall forthwith report same to the Town Clerk.”

With regard to (j), at least one such “object”, a Neolithic hand axe was discovered on the site between Colchester Avenue and the River Rumney in the 1940s.


GRO has a map dated 1936, coloured green to indicate allotments and striped or hatched, with a Key to divide them into the categories below.  There are also some plots coloured pink and marked as allotments but not included in the Key. (I have put green and pink plots in roughly the same area together and added some description).

Permanent allotments, in use as such

Pengam – 7 acres between Rhymney River and the Great Western Railway line.

In pink, 2 sites east of the Great Western Railway and north of Splott Park.

Temporary allotments in use or to be acquired for permanent allotments

Colchester Avenue — 40.68 acres (includes site of the present Howardian Adult Centre and the former School playing fields. There is an oddly shaped “‘bite”’ out of this site to the south where Lady Margaret High School was probably under construction).

In pink, on either side of the Electric Power Station (present Sainsbury’s/KwikSave).

In pink, between Ty Gwyn Road and Railway (extends as far as Fairoak Farm)

Clodian Avenue — 16.25 acres (west of Allensbank Rd – still existing!)

In pink, Allensbank Rd, north and south of TVR (now Eastern Ave).

Permanent allotments, boundaries undefined

North of the Clodian Avenue site above (part of present University Hospital of Wales)

Ordnance Survey Maps are available in the Central Library and GRO and for the early 1900s the Roath and Cathays sheets show:

OS Sheet Dated 1881 revised 1898/99.    Allotments shown:                                                                                            

North of Taff Vale Railway, east of Penylan Road (present Melrose and Colchester Avenues).  Field Nos.119 and 137.

OS Sheet Dated 1901.   Allotments shown:                                                                                                                          North of TVR, north of Deri Farm.  Field Nos. 39, 139, 142.

Splott/Pengam, east of GWR directly across from Biscuit Factory. Field No. 203.

OS Sheet Dated  1919.    Allotments shown:     

North of Newport Rd, around Tramways Depot. Field No.157.

Area north of above, includes Roath Brook (now Sainsbury’s?). Field Nos. 77, 145, 157.

Around Roath Pottery and Brickworks. Field Nos.138, 139, 136.

Splott/Pengam alongside GWR. Field Nos.174,175, 184, 186, 188 (184 is same field as 203 on 1901 sheet).

Between TVR and Colchester Ave. Field No. 204.

OS Sheet Dated  1936 (not OS sheet – existing and proposed allotments on previous page)

OS Sheet Dated  1947 (surveyed in 1941).  Allotments shown:     

Albany Road east of Princes Street, opposite Marlborough Road junction (present Timbers Square).

West of Allensbank Rd, north and south of Taff Vale Railway, (present Eastern Ave).

North of Ty Draw Rd and north of railway, immediately west of Convent of the Good Shepherd.


There is more research that could be done on allotments in Roath.  GRO holds the minutes of Cardiff Borough Council’s Parks, Open Spaces, Allotments and Gardens Committee and its Smallholdings and Allotments Committee in their Repository. The latter Committee’s minutes extend from 1890-1974 in volumes and the question is, how much of that relates to allotments? Still, it would be interesting…

1 thought on “Allotment Gardens in Roath

  1. This prompts a memory. My father had an allotment in the 1950s, accessed up a track at the very bottom of Lake Rd East, near the junction with Ty Draw Rd and just north (I think) of the old TVR, before the construction of the Lakeside Estate. The prompt was the flint tool pictured: he found a flint arrowhead, which he donated to the National Museum.
    Neil Merchant

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