The British Empire - CP6
Car Park 6 -
Cwmcarn and the British Empire
- Fantastic views
- Picnic sites
The coal mined in the valleys was the ideal coal for the Victorian steam age and the great steamships that travelled to every corner of the British Empire. Out across the bay before you, the ships embarked west to the Americas, east to India, Africa and Australia.
There were several steamship companies in Cardiff. They carried all the extraordinary produce of the Victorian Empire and the people of Britain and Wales with them. Many New World families now look for their roots in Wales. Five out of the ten most common black American surnames are Welsh due to connections with Welsh plantation owners.
New citizens of the Empire arrived on return journeys, settling in Cardiff and Swansea, bringing their cultures with them. Wonderful oriental styles influenced the design of great Welsh houses like Castle Coch.
Cwmcarn’s coal travelled down tramways and canals to Newport Docks, and from there to the rest of the world. (A panel at the pit wheel near the entrance to the forest drive explains Cwmcarn mining history in more detail.
Views from the Car Park
The canal system in South East Wales caused a boom in trade. Newport Town dock was completed in 1842 to allow large ships to unload safely. Cardiff had been the only port where large American ships could dock safely.
Newport Transporter Bridge
One of only two transporter bridges in Britain, Newport Transporter Bridge was a suspended ferry over the River Usk, and was opened in 1906. It was constructed as “an overhead bridge by means of which, not only will the great rise and fall of the tides be provided against, but the navigation kept clear in all other ways.”
The Transporter Bridge was closed in 1985 due to lack of use, and restored and reopened in 1995.