Meteorological Station

A meteorological station was first established in Roath Park in 1895, when the Parks Committee agreed to purchase a rain gauge and thermometer "for the purpose of enabling the Head Gardener to observe and record the weather."[1]

William Pettigrew, the Head Gardener, described the station in 1905 as follows:

The small white box, standing on four legs, seen on entering from the main entrance, has always been the course of much conjecture among the large number of persons visiting this garden. The conclusion most generally arrived at is that it is a beehive. As a matter of fact, however, it is nothing of the kind, but is simply a covering for a set of Meteorological Instruments, in the form of Maximum, Minimum, Dry Bulb and Wet Bulb thermometers, which are examined at 9 a.m. each day and the temperature recorded by the Health Department. This is practically the Municipal Meteorological Station, for besides the thermometers above mentioned there are several ground thermometers, a surface thermometer, and a rain gauge, all of which are placed in the square piece of ground where the box stands, and the readings of the whole of the instruments are taken each day.[2]

The temperatures recorded by Pettigrew each year from 1895 onwards were reported in the Cardiff Times when an exceptional heatwave was experienced in September 1906.[3]

In late 1906 it was decided to move the meteorological station to accommodate a new greenhouse.[4] This was the Chrysanthemeum House which opened in 1907 - indicating that the "main entrance" mentioned by Pettigrew was at the south east end of the Botanic Garden. The Parks Committee minutes did not reveal the new location for the meteorological station, but it may have been in the nursery area south of the Botanic Garden. In the 1938 Inventory of Parks Buildings and Equipment the entry for the Boiler House and Nursery Store included thermometers and rain guage.

Weather data recorded at Roath Park by Pettigrew and his successors until 1949 was published each year in Reports and Transactions of the Cardiff Naturalists' Society.

Sources of Information

  1. Meeting of the Parks and Open Spaces Committee 7th January 1895
  2. Guide to Roath Park and Catalogue of Herbaceous Plants in Botanical Gardens. Published by the Western Mail, 1905
  3. The Heatwave. Cardiff statistics. Cardiff Times 8th September 1906 page 4
  4. Parks, Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 18th December 1906