New Tiger Bay material to showcase Cardiff docks’ history

More than 7,000 photos and videos will be used to tell the history of what life was like in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay.

The area in the city’s docklands district is Wales’ oldest multi-ethnic community where sailors and workers from more than 50 countries settled.

Archive started in the 1980s will be organised and digitised, while new memories will be recorded from residents born in the 1950s and 60s.

The project, Tiger Bay – Preserving the Stories, will take a year to complete.

Volunteers will receive specialist training in how to correctly archive the old and new materials, and create digital copies.

They will then go on show at an exhibition in Cardiff.#towerlives: Tiger in the tower

“Memories belonging to older members of the Butetown community are steadily being lost, as many of them have moved away or are no longer with us, taking their stories with them,”

said project coordinator Gaynor Legall.

“Tiger Bay was a thriving industrial hub and community, home to thousands of people from different parts of the UK and around the world who came to Wales to make a new life here.

“Their contribution played a pivotal role in Wales’ industrialisation – and we must act now to keep these stories safe for future generations.”

Coal was king and the cash it brought through the docks in the 19th and early 20th century put the city on the map and contributed massively to its growth as the capital of Wales.

Pupils and teachers at South Church Street school in the 1930s
Pupils and teachers at South Church Street school in the 1930s

No one knows where the name Tiger Bay came from but the name became legendary and workers came from rural Wales, Cornwall, Ireland, Africa, Asia the Middle East, Norway, Spain, Italy and the Caribbean to earn steady wages and start a new life on the outskirts of the city.

Funding for the new project has come from the Heritage Lottery fund.

Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said:

“The rich history of Tiger Bay is crucial to understanding the Wales we live in today – the make-up of so many different people from diverse communities beginning their new life in Wales has shaped and enriched our country.

“These stories are in real danger of being lost to time if we do not take action now.”

First Published 13.12.18:

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