History: How Grangetown broke free from Canton

13 April 2016

By the mid 1880s, Grangetown was a fast-growing district of Cardiff – but politically it was still joined to Canton. Things were about to change….

The town council only had five wards – and the rate-payers of Grangetown were lumped in with their neighbours.

Canton had six councillors, who also represented Grangetown. There was dissatisfaction locally, that it was time Grangetown had its own representatives. At that time, the area had about 770 men eligible to vote.

It was largely working class and with a sizeable Irish contingent, who often came under pressure from local priests to vote Conservative!

In March 1886, Samuel Mildon – a Liberal and local builder, from Clive Street – presided over a public meeting at the Clive Hall. Residents heard that the area was growing at a pace “yet many of the streets are in a disgraceful state.”

There were 1,136 homes and an estimated population of 19,000, with 200 more homes due to be built in the following year. A 400-signature petition was gathered and presented to the mayor and the council.

Cardiff realised as the town changed and grew, so the system had to. While Mildon, Conservative Samuel Brain (the brewery founder) and a Councillor Gibbs represented Grangetown – they were technically in Canton.

Change took time and involved the Local Government Board holding an inquiry. It resulted in Cardiff redrawing its boundaries. Not for the last time.

Five wards became 10, and Canton and Grangetown would each get three councillors in 1890.

Next time: “Admiral Jenkins” – Grangetown’s first elected councillor.

See also: www.grangetownhistory.co.uk



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