Howard Gardens

Howard Gardens was one of several "town square gardens" created by the Bute Estate at the same time as housing development, and its name was probably derived from that of the 3rd Marquis of Bute's wife, Gwendolen Fitzalan-Howard. These gardens were conveyed to the Cardiff Corporation on December 28th 1889, and they were opened to the public the following spring. At just over an acre, Howard Gardens was one of the largest and it included a tennis court. In March 1890 the Parks Committee agreed that the Higher Grade School Tennis Club could use a tennis court in Howard Gardens on the same terms as the previous year as long as there was no interference with the right of the public to use the space.[1]

In July 1891 the Parks Committee agreed to accept the gift from the Bute Estate of a piece of land adjoining Howard Gardens at Moira Terrace[2] and this was incorporated in March 1892.[3] A caretaker's shelter/toolshed was built in September 1891.[4] Ordnance Survey maps show it to have been placed at the north west end of the Gardens.

A description of Howard Gardens was given in the Evening Express in a special edition marking the opening of Roath Park on June 20th 1894:

"These gardens are bounded by Newport-road, Moira-terrace, and Grove-road, Roath and are laid out something after the same style as Loudoun-square. There is a main walk parallel with the railings, and shrubs are a feature because they are far better grown here than in the other open spaces of the town. A number of flower beds occupy a large portion of the space, and in these all bedding and herbaceous plants will be found flourishing. The space measures about two acres."[5]

Howard Gardens was the original home of the statue of Lord Aberdare: the Council agreed in October 1897 to a temporary site in Howard Gardens while Cathays Park and the new University building there were under development.[6] In 1915 the statue was removed from Howard Gardens[7] and placed in Alexandra Gardens, Cathays Park, facing the University, of which Lord Aberdare was the first president. The statue is the work of Herbert Hampton.[8]

There was no bandstand at Howard Gardens but the Parks Committee engaged bands to play there, as in other parks and open spaces from 1902 onwards.[9]

In January 1908 it was decided that two tennis courts would be provided in Howard Gardens.[10] The bowling green was opened by the Lord Mayor in the presence of the Parks Committee on June 13th 1914.[11]

In January 1915 the Parks Committee agreed to a request from the War Office authorities for the whole of Howard Gardens to be taken over and temporary hospital buildings erected. This required the consent of the Marquis of Bute under the terms of the conveyance dated December 1889.[12]

The Parks Department Inventory of Parks Buildings and Equipment, compiled for insurance purposes in April 1938, included the following information:

During the 1939-45 war the bowls pavilion was occupied by ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Wardens.[13] In 1941 the City Engineer reported that instructions had been received to create emergency static water supplies in several parks and gardens including Howard Gardens.[14] A 1942 aerial photograph[15] seems to show a water tank in Howard Gardens that was not present in an earlier photograph taken in March 1941.[16] By May 1946 this had been removed: the Director of Parks reported to the Parks Committee that all emergency water supply basins had been removed and he had made a claim for restoration of the sites to their original condition.[17]

In 2013 the Council proposed that several bowling greens be closed to save money, Howard Gardens among them. (The others were Maindy, Trelai, Llwynfedw Gardens, Pentwyn, and Grange Gardens.)[18]

The bowling green at Howard Gardens is now (2016) closed.

Other links

Sources of Information

In general, the information in this section is taken from A. A. Pettigrew. The Public Parks and Recreation Grounds of Cardiff. Volume 2, Chapter on Town Square Gardens & Volume 4, Chapter on Tennis

Other sources are:

  1. Meeting of the Parks, Open Spaces, Footpaths and Allotments Committee 18th March 1890
  2. Meeting of the Parks, Open Spaces, Footpaths and Allotments Committee 21st July 1891
  3. Meeting of the Parks, Open Spaces, Footpaths and Allotments Committee 15th March 1892
  4. Meeting of the Parks, Open Spaces, Footpaths and Allotments Committee 17th September 1891
  5. Evening Express 20th June 1894 (Special Edition) page 4
  6. Meeting of the Parks etc. Committee 18th October 1897
  7. Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 26th February 1915
  8. Statue of Lord Aberdare
  9. Meeting of the Parks Sub-Committee 9th October 1902
  10. Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 29th January 1908
  11. Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 13th June 1914
  12. Special Meetings of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 15th & 25th January 1915
  13. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 5th March 1940
  14. Meeting of the Parks, Baths & Cemeteries Committee 9th September 1941
  15. RAF Mendlesham Collection Sortie M3112 Frame 39 25th June 1942
  16. RAF Mendlesham Collection Sortie M2181 Frame 7 1st March 1941
  17. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 7th May 1946
  18. WalesOnline February 16th 2013