Grange Gardens is a small green oasis in the densely populated residential heart of Grangetown. One of Cardiff’s earliest public parks, it retains much of its original late Victorian character and is a focus for cultural, recreational and leisure activities in the local community.
Grangetown was traditionally an area of housing for dock workers and in 1892 an area of about 1.2 ha (3 acres) of land was donated by Lord Windsor and the Marquess of Bute for the purpose of laying out a public park for the expanding local population. The park was given the name Grange Gardens before work commenced in 1893.
Prior to the development of modern day Grangetown, this area was a low-lying coastal marshland criss-crossed with drainage ditches or ‘reens’. The name refers back to the 12th century when the land was a medieval grange or farm, worked by the Cistercian monks of Margam Abbey.
The park was designed by W. W. Pettigrew, Head Gardener to Cardiff Corporation, working alongside William Harpur, Municipal Engineer to the Corporation. Initially the level of the land was raised using refuse and scalpings and the park was laid out and planted between 1894 and 1895, eventually opening to the public in June 1895.
The bowling green was an early recreational feature, first laid out in 1906, although it had to be partially rebuilt in 1909 as a result of ground erosion – a consequence of the original groundwork failing to take account of the drainage ditches which had crossed the site!
Grange Gardens was the first park in Cardiff to have a bandstand, installed in February 1895 at the cost of £100. The structure was of an unusual design with twin pillars and ornate roof, but the original was taken away at some time after the Second World War. An ornate drinking fountain canopy installed in 1909 had also been removed in 1943 leaving the park bereft of some of its original character. However Heritage Lottery Funding paid for replica structures cast from the original designs to be reinstalled in 2000, restoring the park to its former glory..
The park still contains the original Caretaker’s Shelter dating from 1894 and the Grangetown War Memorial, which was erected in 1921 using funds raised by local voluntary subscription.
Despite its traditional origins, Grange Gardens is still very much a community park. The bowling green is open to the public during the summer season, the tennis court has been converted to a multi use games area and a new children’s play area has been built. The bandstand provides a venue for community events and the park is a well used and much loved green space.
Address: Holmesdale St, Grangetown, Cardiff
Postcode: CF11 7LJ
Web Address: www.cardiff.gov.uk/parks
Opening Hours: The park is open from 7.30am to around 30 minutes before the nationally published sunset time for Cardiff.
Admission Charges: Free
Parking Charges: Free
Accessibility information: Good level access – wheelchair accessible