urban75 blog

Cardiff street scenes: religious rows, the Beatles, sand dogs and Chip Alley

Here’s a selection of street scenes photographed during my short visit to Cardiff this week.

My walk to the station took me along Queen Street – where’s there’s always something going on –  through Cardiff Market and along the city’s infamous Chip Alley.

Cigarette burns on the plastic window at Lisvane and Thornhill station.

I still miss getting the train at the wonderfully isolated Cefn Onn Halt, which was situated around 500m further north, next to the entrance to the mile-long Caerphilly Tunnel.

As part of a £220m rail improvement scheme, Cardiff Queen Street saw new platforms being opened and a new ground level station building replacing the previously austere offering.

Sadly, there are no plans to bring back the once-stunning original buildings and grand Victorian canopy.

Statue celebrating Cardiff’s mining heritage at the start of Queen Street.

Nearby stood the legendary Cardiff Capitol, a cinema built in 1921 that put on notable acts such as Tom Jones, The Beatles, Queen, Elton John, Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan.

[Pic: Beatles Bible]

The Beatles’ last live U.K. tour concluded with two performances at the theatre on 12 December 1965.

The Beatles Bible reports that, “2,500 fans saw each concert, which lasted around 30 minutes. The Beatles performed 11 songs: I Feel FineShe’s A Woman, If I Needed Someone, Act Naturally, Nowhere Man, Baby’s In Black, Help!, We Can Work It OutYesterday, Day Tripper and I’m Down.”

The Rank Organisation closed the theatre in 1978 and it was demolished in 1979. One of the last shows there was a gig by the mighty Thin Lizzy.

Despite selling out almost immediately, I was so determined to go that I forged a pair of tickets – and successfully got in!

My friend who had got in on the other hand drawn ticket managed to somehow get backstage – and the band were delighted to autograph the dodgy ticket (above).

Aquaboats in Queen Street,

A religious row breaks out in Queen Street.

“My interpretation of the made up God entity is the right one!”
“No, mine is” Etc etc  etc.

Blowing bubbles.


This charming fella insisted that I took his photo. He was very proud of his work,

Funfair attendant looks out over a row in Queen Street.

Poor old Aneurin Bevan. Forever cursed to have a bird shitting on his head.

Bevan is rightly a hero to many. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice, rights of working people, and socialism.

Get all your Welsh tack here!

Inside the fabulous Cardiff Market.

It was great to see that Kelly’s records on the upper floor of the market was doing so well. Such is the rise in demand for vinyl, that they’re going to move out their DVD section to stock more of the lovely black stuff.

Here’s a Tom LP. Tidy.

Enjoying a cuppa with the newspaper.

These were the happiest Hari Krishna people I’ve ever seen.

Cardiff has changed out of all recognition in the last 10 years or so.

Inside one of the arcades.

A pedestrianised street running east/west in the lower part of Cardiff city centre, Caroline Street comes alive at night when hordes of alcohol lubricated revellers seek speedy chip/kebab based replenishment,

The street is known locally as Chip Alley or Chippy Lane.

Polish photographer Maciej Dakowicz spent five years photographing the scenes around Cardiff, with his stunning ‘Cardiff After Dark‘ collection documenting the late night mayhem and madness of the street in wonderful detail.

Here’s how the street looks in the day…

The old Philharmonic Bar/Square Bar in St Mary Street awaits another refurbishment. Opening in 1877 as the Philharmonic Hall, some of the original theatre features survive.

Cardiff has some splendid architecture, particularly along St Mary Street,

Now a Wetherspoons pub, the Prince Of Wales in St Mary Street once served as a particularly sleazy porno cinema in the 70s.

Opening in 1878 as the New Theatre Royal, the Gothic architecture continues to impress.

Street art close to the Central station.

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