Concert Pavilion

A concert pavilion was first proposed in 1914 to allow band and other performances to take place in wet weather, but it was not until 1919 that the City Engineer was instructed to prepare plans and estimates for a structure with a stage and covered seating. In December of that year he submitted a plan for a pavilion with glass covered roof, covering a space of 90 feet by 70 feet, with open sides and capable of seating 1000 people.[1]

The pavilion was constructed on the western side of the bandstand enclosure, beside the brook, and was opened in July 1921. There was seating up to 750 persons in the hexagonal portion, while the rectangular section on the north west side was the stage and dressing room. These two sections can be seen in the 1940 plan and the 1950 aerial photograph shown below, from a postcard entitled Roath Park from the Air. The roof of the Pavilion can be seen in a number of postcards of the lake looking toward the Promenade.

From the summer of 1921, all entertainments - concerts and bands - took place in the pavilion, and the bandstand fell into disuse. In February 1930 a grassed area to the east of the bandstand was set aside for open air dancing during musical performances.

By the 1930s it was usual for the Parks Committee to lease the pavilion to a tenant who would be responsible for providing entertainments throughout the summer season, though Sunday performances were not allowed.[2] For example in 1932 the pavilions at both Roath Park and Llandaff Fields, were rented to Mr Wally Bishop for £4 per week each.[3]

The entry for the concert pavilion in the 1938 Inventory of Parks Buildings and Equipment included 1,250 folding chairs. Other equipment listed included two flood lights and 72 "electric fittings" as well as scenery and a sound board.

The plan below dated 1940 shows the positions of the pavilion, bandstand and the lawn for dancing.

Map of pavilion area

For the 1940 season it was decided that music for dances would be provided using gramophone records and loud speakers, and this equipment was installed in the pavilion. The dances proved popular, and in September 1941 the Chief Parks Officer reported that 48,343 people had paid for admission to the enclosure since the season started in May.[4] Programmes of recorded music were also provided during the war, as shown by the following advertisement from the Western Mail and South Wales News in June 1943:[5]

City of Cardiff
Music from Records
The following programme will be played at Roath Park
tomorrow, Sunday, June 6th, 1943. 3 to 5 p.m.

1 Overture "1812" - Tchaikovsky Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orch.
2 Symphony No. 7 in A major - Beethoven New York Philharhnic Orchestra (conductor: Arturo Toscanini)


O Loveliness Beyond Compare. The Magic Flute - Mozart David Lloyd, Tenor
  Aria Speak for me to My Lady. Don Giovanni - Mozart David Lloyd, Tenor
4 Suite Peer Gynt No. 1. - Grieg 1: Morning; 2: Death of Ase; 3: Anitra's Dance; 4: In the Hall of the Mountain King London Symphony Orchestra (conductor: Eugene Goossens)
5 Pianoforte Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. - Liszt Alfred Cortot, Pianoforte
6 Welsh Air The Stars in Heaven are Bright. Traditional David Lloyd, Tenor
  Welsh Air David of the White Rock. Traditional David Lloyd, Tenor
7 Two Slavonic Dances No. 10 in E minor. - Dvorak allegretto grazioso Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (Conductor: Vaclav Talich)
    No. 12 in D flat major. - Dvorak allegretto grazioso Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (Conductor: Vaclav Talich)
God Save The King   W. Nelmes, Director of Parks

In December 1944 it was decided to install a telephone in the Pavilion.[6]

Roath Park pavilion

Roath Park pavilion from the air c.1950

As well as concerts and band performances the Pavilion could be used for other events. In May 1952 the Council gave permission for the Cardiff Boys Club and the Cardiff Olympic Youth Club to give gymnastic displays from the Pavilion and Green.[7]

In June 1953 the question of the Pavilion's safety arose. A surveyor's report on its use and the costs of repairs and improvements recommended demolition, which was carried out in December 1953.[8]

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 4.

Other sources are:

  1. Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 16th December 1919
  2. Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 6th January 1931; & the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 26th April 1939
  3. Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 19th April 1932
  4. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 9th September 1941
  5. Western Mail and South Wales News Saturday 5th June 1943 page 2
  6. Council Minute Book 1944-1945 page 82
  7. Council Minute Book 1952-1953 page 36
  8. Council Minute Book 1953-1954 pages 214 & 650