Whitchurch, Cardiff

Whitchurch, Cardiff

Whitchurch (Welsh "Yr Eglwys Newydd" "eglwys" church + "newydd" new) is a suburb of Cardiff, Wales. It is approximately 3 miles north of the centre of the city on the A470 road and A4054 road. Its estimated population as of 2004 was 15,649. It falls within the Whitchurch & Tongwynlais ward.


The settlement dates back to the 12th century, when a chapel was established by a priest from the Cathedral Church of Llandaff. The earliest known name for the village was Stuntaf, from the Welsh "Ystum Taf", meaning "a bend in the river Taf").

In the early 18th century there were no more than around 300 people living in Whitchurch, but by the end of the 19th century, this had risen to nearly 5,000. Whitchurch Parish Council was first formed in 1845. Between 1951 and 1961, the population of the parish rose from 19,827 to 27,325. In 1967, most of the parish (with the exception of Tongwynlais) was amalgamated into the City of Cardiff.

Melingriffith Tin Works

Built in 1749, the Melingriffith Tinplate Works in north Whitchurch, on the bank of the River Taff opposite Radyr, was built on or near the site of an old corn mill that had operated as far back as the late 1100s. Melingriffith was the largest working tin factory in the UK, until the much later construction of the Treforrest Tin Works. [ [http://blog.stuartherbert.com/photography/category/merthyr-road/by-water/melingriffith-feeder/ Meligriffith Tin Works] ] The tin mills were powered exclusively by water drawn from the River Taff down the Melingriffith feeder stream, a water course that doubled as a canal that carried raw iron ore from the Pentyrch Iron Works until around 1815, when the Pentrych tramroad was completed. The tramroad crossed the River Taff over the Iron Bridge. The feeder’s lock was permanently closed in 1871 when it was bridged over, but traces of it still remain. The tin works closed in 1957, and today the only signs that the works ever existed at all are the mostly dry bed of the original Melingriffith feeder stream that still runs down from the River Taff from just above the Radyr weir, and the recently restored water pump standing opposite Oak Cottage. The works site itself has been completely cleared, and is now a modern housing estate.

The Melingriffith feeder stream made its way to the original Glamorganshire Canal, where they ran in parallel through the Tin Works and out the other side at Melingriffith Lock. Where they had come together north of the Tin Works, any overflow from the Canal was originally designed to empty into the feeder. This point is now at the southern end of the Glamorganshire Canal Local Nature Reserve and all the water from the canal runs into the feeder before disappearing into a piped water course that passes under the modern housing estate.

At the southern end of the housing estate, the feeder re-emerges at the point where the Melingriffith water pump stands, the pump originally designed to pump water from the feeder into the Canal at Melingriffith Lock. Today, the Glamorganshire Canal has been almost totally overbuilt. Ty Mawr Road has replaced the route of the canal from Melingriffith all the way to Whitchurch.

Contemporary Whitchurch

With the expansion of Cardiff in the twentieth century, Whitchurch is no longer considered a separate village; although residents, old and new, refer commonly to "The Village" in preference to acknowledging its suburban status. The modern suburb contains a number of schools, a shopping centre, Whitchurch Hospital, a psychiatric hospital originally built in the Victorian era. In addition, adjacent to Whitchurch Hospital is Velindre Hospital, a major cancer hospital in South Wales. Whitchurch High School is the largest school in Wales.

The national office of the Presbyterian Church of Wales is located at the Tabernacle Church, Whitchurch.

The Conservative Party in Wales headquarters are located on Penlline Road, Whitchurch.

Road and Rail Access

Whitchurch lies between two local rail services, the Taff Vale Line, which runs through the neighbouring Llandaff North (the train station is called Llandaff and is located on the boundary of Whitchurch and Llandaff North, where Heol Don and Station Road meet) and the Coryton Line at the north of end of Whitchurch. Whitchurch (Glamorgan) railway station is located on the latter.


External links

* [http://www.whitchurchhs.com/new/ Whitchurch High School Web Site]
* [http://www.whitchurchvillagepractice.co.uk/ Whitchurch Village Practice Web Site]
* [http://www.whitchurch-heath.org/ Whitchurch-Heath Cricket Club]
* [http://www.whitchurch-hockey.com/ Whitchurch Hockey Club]

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