Sculpture and other works of art

It must be said that considering the large area that the old Parish of Roath Parish coverd we are rather bereft of sculptures and other works of art but here’s some we have or have had in the past:

Roath Mill

This 2018 bronze sculpture in Roath Mill Gardens is by Welsh artist Rubin Eynon and is one of the finishing touches added at the end of the work on the Roath Flood Defence scheme. it is a copy of the corn mill that stood on the side of the river and demolished in 1897. More details on the sculpture and the history of Roath mill can be found in The New Roath Mill.

Roath Mill sculpture
The new sculpture in place next to Roath Brook.

Natural Selection

Installed in 2006 by artist Adrian Moakes. Commissioned by Tesco Stores to create an eye-catching landmark at the entrance to the car park of their 24 hour flagship store in Cardiff. In order to consult as many local people as possible at the start of the design process, Adrian literally ‘set up shop’ by the main doors with a market stall display of maquettes and photographs of his previous work. The result was a large, twisting stack of boxes that preserved the image of a gigantic tree that formerly stood on the site. 

The installation was removed sometime between 2012 and 2017.

Natural Selection – Adrian Moakes (2006) (Pic credit: )

Secret Station

The artwork Secret Station is at the junction of Ffordd Pengam and Rover Way, on a grassy roadside bank. It consists of two twelve meter tall cones with wavy metal bars on top.

Secret Station was made in 1992 for the Cardiff Bay Arts Trust at the Gateway, Cardiff. The sculpture is an 11x11x10 metre construction in bronze and steel made of large cone forms. When it was first installed it rhythmically let out steam and was lit up by night by fibre optic lights.

Secret Station by Eilis O’ Connell (picture credit: artist’s website)

The title of the sculpture comes from a poem by Seamus Heaney called The Diviner.

The artist, Eilis O’ Connell was born in Derry, N. Ireland in 1953. She studied at the Crawford School of Art, Cork. (1970-74), Massachusetts College of Art, Boston ( 1974-1975) and Crawford School of Art ( 1975-77 ) where she received the only award for Distinction in Sculpture that year. She spends her time between Cork, Ireland and London, England.

Photo credit: Phil Martin

This bronze sculpture engages directly with Cardiff’s industrial past. The artist’s brief was to provide a gateway work of scale and significance to mark the eastern entrance to the bay. O’Connell, an award-winning Irish artist, looked to the 19th century to the triumph of steam power and the emergence of Cardiff as a centre of industrial excellence. This sculpture celebrates the age of steam power with its intermittent hiss of steam. Her sculpture reminds us of the present with its hi-tech fluorescent polymer lighting.

In recent years the panels on the sculpture have disappeared and making it rather a forlorn sight.

Secret Station interior (photo credit – John Matthews)

Landmark (also known as the Magic Roundabout)

Designed by Pierre Vivant in1992 and at the junction of Tyndall Street / Ocean Way. This collection of geometric shapes made from traffic signs has created a distinctive landmark that is locally referred to as the ‘Magic Roundabout’.


Monorail by Sokari Douglas Camp (1995). This one is a few yards outside the old boundary of Roath parish in Tyndall Street but is included here given the scarcity of sculpture in our area.

Monorail by Sokari Douglas Camp (1995), Tyndall Street, facing the railway line.

Stone sculptures

Lion on top of former bank. Clifton Street, corner with Newport Road (photographed July 2020).
Lion on top of wall of Roath Court, Newport Road (photographed July 2020)

Religious Sculptures and Statues

St Peter’s church (photographed September 1918)
St German’s, Adamsdown. Crucifixion with Mary and John. (photographed March 2023)

The metal sculpture of the Crucifixion with Mary and John dates from 1965 and is by sculptor Frank Roper. The original Calvary sculpture was destroyed in the blitz of 1941. At the same time the adjacent Parish Hall was destroyed, and Sister Teresa, SSM killed. The original Calvary was in stone, dated from 1916, and, like its replacement, depicted the crucifixion with Mary and John. It had been erected through a legacy from Caleb Whitefield. The Roper 1965 Calvary is in memory of Sister Teresa.

St Martin’s Church Vicarage, Strathnairn Street, Roath (photographed March 2023).
St Illtud College, Courtenay Road, Splott. It is thought that only the statue on the right survived. Building demolished in 2016. Stature of St Patrick restored and in Museum of Cardiff.

Cardiff University Queens Building, Newport Road

The story of the Newport Road Skeleton is told in one of our blogs.

Cardiff University Gods

Asclepius, Greek god of Medicine and I’d swear an oath that the other one is Hippocrates.