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The Illustrated History of Cardiff's Pubs

Brian Lee

It is sometimes said that the history of a town can be seen in its public houses, and indeed they are often among the oldest surviving buildings. Cardiff is no exception, and has a long history of brewing. As far back as 1340 the burgesses of Cardiff employed two ale-tasters to ensure the standard of the local beer was up to scratch.

One of the oldest inn sites in the city is that occupied by the Owain Glyndwr in Church Street. Called the Mably Arms in 1731, it has since been known as the Kemys Tynte Arms, the Tennis Court and the Buccaneer, before taking its current name in the 1970s.

Cardiff's docks naturally led to a maritime feel in its taverns, as the owners sought to lure in the sailors who arrived ashore with money to spend. Suitably nautical names have included the Jolly Boatman, the Sailor's Return, Six Bells and Noah's Ark, to name just a few.

In this fascinating survey, celebrated local historian Brian Lee brings to life the history of Cardiff's hostelries. From the fairly salubrious to the downright dangerous, he plots their changing fortunes as the city itself has changed over the years.




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