In July 1891 the Parks Committee agreed to accept a gift of land of some 1½ acres in Splott from Lord Tredegar for the open space that became Moorland Gardens. The gift was subject to the Council enclosing the land and paying half the cost of constructing the roads surrounding it. These roads were Singleton Road, Hinton Street and Moorland Road. The formal conveyance was completed in December 1891 and at the Council's request included permission to build a branch library on part of the land. Subsequently it was agreed that the branch library would be built on the portion fronting Adeline Street [the extension of Singleton Road]. The cost of the library was met by private subscriptions, to which Lord Tredegar and the Marquis of Bute both contributed.
The boundary fencing was erected during 1893-94, and the levelling, laying out and planting was completed by October 1894. The plot reserved for the Splott Branch Library, which was built at the same time, was 75 feet by 40 feet. The Library was officially opened on 16th October 1894. A caretaker's shelter for the open space was incorporated into the building.
The Gardens were formally opened to the public on May 30th 1895. The Parks Committee planned to add a bandstand, but the Council did not approve the expenditure and the Committee agreed in January 1896 to abandon the plan. Nevertheless bands were engaged to play at Moorland Gardens when the Council decided in 1902 to provide band music in the parks. When the much larger Splott Park was created nearby a bandstand was placed there.
Moorland Gardens had no bowling greens or tennis courts - these were provided at Splott Park from 1906 - but there were walks and flower beds. In 1920 it was decided that all the flower beds except for three large central beds would be filled in to allow space for children to play. A. A. Pettigrew wrote in 1932 that practically the whole Garden was a playgound.
The Parks Department Inventory of Parks Buildings and Equipment, compiled for insurance purposes in April 1938, included the following information for Moorland Gardens:
During the 1939-45 war huts for military use were erected Moorland Gardens.
Ordnance Survey maps for the 1950s show that by this time Moorland Gardens was reduced to the space immediately surrounding the Splott Library, the remainder of the original Gardens being occupied by Moorland Road School. This was the eventual outcome of a proposal approved by the Parks Committee in 1947, that the whole of Moorland Gardens be transferred to the Education Committee, which would devise a new layout for schools, health centre and playground space while retaining the existing library. Owing to the terms of the original conveyance it was necessary to obtain the consent of Lord Tredegar and his Trustees for this scheme to proceed, and there were "other legal difficulties" which delayed the transfer of the site to the Education Committee.It was not until March 1950 that the Parks Committee finally approved the allocation of 1.21 acres (meaning almost all) of Moorland Gardens for school buildings.
In 1964 it was agreed that the door and windows of the park caretaker's shelter adjoining the Splott Library be bricked up.
Ordnance Survey maps indicate that by the 1980s a new open space, Moorland Park, had been created on the opposite side of Singleton Road, where originally there were streets and houses. This was awarded first prize (the South Wales Argus Trophy) in the Wales in Bloom Awards 1978 for the best landscaping of a derelict site. The initial development was subsequently extended by incorporating a disused section of Portmanmoor Road converted to open space, where a row of Poplar trees was planted, believed to have been funded by British Steel.
Splott Library has now moved to the STAR Centre, Splott Road. The remaining part of the original Moorland Gardens is a children's playground.
|Left click a postcard image to enlarge it.|
|Looking south west from roughly the centre of the Gardens. Splott Library is in the background, with houses on Singleton Road behind it.|
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.
Other sources are: