Alexandra Gardens

Alexandra Gardens c.1950

Alexandra Gardens c.1950

Alexandra Gardens is a rectangular space comprising formal lawns with island flower beds and specimen trees, placed between Edward VII Avenue and Museum Avenue, and surrounded by the buildings of the Civic Centre. It was planned as a formal garden featuring a fountain at its centre but in the event the fountain was not built and a flower bed was substituted. One of the earliest parts of Cathays Park to be developed, it was known as both Geometrical Gardens and University Gardens before the Property Committee on 26th July 1910 adopted the name Queen Alexandra Gardens. It was formally opened by the Lord Mayor on 27th July 1910.[1][2]

Statue of Lord Aberdare

Statue of Lord Aberdare (January 2018)

There is a bronze statue of Henry Austin Bruce, 1st Lord Aberdare and first President of the University, which faces east towards the University. Created by Herbert Hampton in 1898, this statue was initially placed in Howard Gardens until the new University building in Cathays Park was complete.[3]

In 1917 the Parks Committee agreed that four stone pedestals from City Hall would be moved to Alexandra Gardens.[4] These were very probably placed at each end of the central path that now leads to the War Memorial and they are still present. They can be seen in some of the postcards on this website.

North end of Alexandra Gardens c.1960

North end of Alexandra Gardens and Welsh Office 6th May 1963
By kind permission, © Tom & John Wiltshire Collection

Welsh National War Memorial, Alexandra Gardens c.1960

Welsh National War Memorial, Alexandra Gardens c.1960
By kind permission, © Tom & John Wiltshire Collection

The Welsh National War Memorial, a circular structure of Portland stone, now occupies the position at the centre of the Gardens where originally there was to be a fountain. It was designed by Sir J Ninian Comper and when first discussed in 1919, it was to be placed in front of City Hall. The present position in Alexandra Gardens was not agreed until 1925,[5] and construction by E.Turner & Sons began in 1926.[6] It was unveiled in June 1928 by the Prince of Wales. More recent memorials have been added for the Falklands campaign and the Spanish Civil War.

The 1938 Inventory of Parks Buildings and Equipment included only a Caretaker's Shelter for Alexandra Gardens.

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 5.

Other sources are:

  1. Special Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 27th July 1910
  2. Cardiff Times and South Wales Weekly News Saturday July 39th 1910 page 6
  3. Meeting of the Parks etc. Committee 18th October 1897
  4. Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 6th June 1917
  5. Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 8th September 1925
  6. Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 9th March 1926