Cardiff, once a small village, was transformed by her role in the Industrial Revolution. The Docks became a bustling, cosmopolitan place as coal from the South Wales Valleys provided the driving force for the world’s steam engines.
In 1905 Cardiff was granted City status and on the eve of the First World War coal exports from Cardiff reached their peak at over 13 million tonnes. However after a brief post-war boom, Cardiff Docks entered a prolonged decline and by the 1960’s coal exports virtually ceased.
The Cardiff dockland had given the City its wealth, but then the City disinherited it. It was against this background and decay that the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation was born.
Cardiff Bay Development Corporation
In 1987 the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation was created as part of the British Governments ‘Urban Development Programme’ to regenerate deprived areas of British Inner cities.
They received funding from the British Government and Europe and commenced the upgrading of roads and open spaces, the building of 3,000 houses and the construction of the Cardiff Bay Barrage.
Cardiff Bay Barrage
At the centre of the regeneration scheme was the Cardiff Bay Barrage. Completed in 2000, the 1.1 kilometre barrage created a 200 hectare freshwater lake for sailing and multi activity. Consisting of five sluice gates, a fish pass and three locks each with individual bascule bridges, the Barrage offers twenty four hour access to the Bristol Channel.
In 2000, 5 successor bodies, including the local authority, took over the role of the Corporation. Through a series of public and private sector partnerships, which still continue today, significant large scale investment has been attracted and the redevelopment of this spectacular waterfront, Cardiff Bay.