Insole Court

Insole Court (sometimes also called Llandaff Court) is a Victorian/Edwardian mansion constructed between 1856 and 1908, and was the home of the coal owning Insole family until 1938. The Cardiff Council acquired the Insole estate in 1932 but did not take possession of the house until 1938. The history of the mansion has been well documented elsewhere (see the links below). Historically it was known as Ely Court or The Court, Llandaff, and the name Insole Court was used after the house came into Council ownership. In 1947, however, the Parks Committee decided "that the Council be recommended to approve that in future "The Court", Llandaff (formerly known as Ely Court, Insole Court and The Court) be henceforth named as Llandaff Court."[1]

Postcards of Insole Court are rare, as it came into public ownership well after the peak of postcard production. This card on the Parks & Gardens UK website shows the house.

The gardens of Insole Court contain a wide variety of ornamental trees and shrubs and were at one time notable for a fine collection of alpine and rock plants. The Cardiff Parks Committee sought to take responsibility for the gardens in December 1938.[2] but did not actually do so until after the 1939-45 war. Insole Court was put to a number of wartime uses. An ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Post for the Llandaff area was established there[3] and the Police and various Council departments occupied rooms in the house as offices or for storage. In particular the Medical Officer of Health occupied the north wing as a first aid post and for storage of medical supplies.[4] It was reported that valuable carved doors were removed and replaced with matchboard doors.[5]

Immediately after the war there were a number of proposals for use of the house, but in 1946 it was agreed that the Parks Committee would assume responsibility for the grounds.[6] The Parks Committee was also allocated space in the house for administration functions and living accommodation for the Deputy Director of Parks.[7] Part of the house was converted for use as a Recreation Centre, which was formally opened, along with the Court Gardens, on 16th January 1947.[8] A layout for Llandaff Court as an open space was approved in October 1949.[9]

In the 1950s the grounds were used for events organised by local groups, such as a garden party held by the Llandaff Citizens Association in June 1956.[10]

The present day Insole Court is run as a community facility by the Council Sport and Leisure Service.

The following 35 second video clip (which uses the name Llandaff Court) is from a 16mm cine film entitled Cardiff the City of Flowers produced by Cardiff Parks Committee c.1960.[11] (The audio on this video clip is a little distorted.)

Other links

Sources of Information

  1. Special Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 16th January 1947
  2. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 14th December 1938
  3. Meeting of the Air Raid Precautions Committee 24th April 1939
  4. Meeting of the Air Raid Precautions Committee 24th July 1939
  5. Meeting of the Air Raid Precautions Committee 26th June 1939
  6. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 12th March 1946
  7. Meetings of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 4th June 1946 & 9th July 1946
  8. Special Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 16th January 1947
  9. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 11th October 1949
  10. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 12th April 1956
  11. Cardiff the City of Flowers, cine film produced by City of Cardiff Parks Committee c.1960. Director of Parks W. Nelmes, M.B.E., Filmed by C. Fishwick, Narrator John Darran. (The full film has a run time of 16 minutes of which the section featuring Llandaff / Insole Court is about 40 seconds. The audio quality has been lowered by the many "repairs" to the film over time.)