The decision to provide recreation and sports facilities at Ely followed the building of the housing estate there in the 1920s. The Ely Recreation Ground was placed on a 1.75 acre plot in Plymouth Wood Road, beside the Herbert Thompson Schools. The Chief Parks Officer in February 1924 stated that there were ten football pitches at Ely Recreation Ground. Only one of these remained in 1930, by which time separate provision had been made for sports pitches.
The Parks Committee in June 1927 approved a proposal for a bowling green, five tennis courts and conveniences at Ely costing £2,600. A public shelter was erected before the end of that year, and the bowling green and five hard tennis courts were completed by the following spring. The formal opening took place on May 5th 1928, when the Chairman of the Parks Committee (Alderman R.G.H. Snook) served a ball on the tennis courts. The bowling green was not ready for play until 1929.
A.A. Pettigrew reported that in the 1930-31 season Ely Recreation Ground had one bowling green and five hard (Griselda) tennis courts.
The Parks Department Inventory of Parks Buildings and Equipment, compiled for insurance purposes in April 1938, included the following information for Ely Recreation Ground:
During the 1939-45 war Ely Recreation Ground was used for Air Raid Precautions (ARP) purposes. In 1939 the Parks Committee gave its consent to a proposal of the ARP Committee to construct buildings in a number of park locations, including Ely Recreation Ground, to serve as rescue, repair and decontamination depots and cleansing stations. The bowls pavilion was also occupied by ARP wardens.
Some wartime buildings were retained after the war ended. As early as April 1945 it was agreed that the rescue centre could be used as a dressing room for the sports fields.
Sources of Information
In general, the information in this section is taken from A. A. Pettigrew, The Public Parks and Recreation Grounds of Cardiff Volumes 3,4 & 5.
Other sources are: