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THE HISTORY OF THE DOCK FEEDER CANAL

 

It was created in the 1830s during the industrial revolution and was linked to the construction of the West Bute Dock. The three mile long canal was constructed in order to supply water to the docks in Cardiff Bay so that they could be operated even when the tide was out. This gave Cardiff one of the world’s first 24-hour docks and led to a rapid expansion of commerce and population in the city during the mid-19th Century.

 

The Dock Feeder Canal runs along the eastern boundary of Bute Park from Blackweir at the north end, south to the Castle, where it turns east, and runs along the north side of the Castle to leave the park. It then passes under North Road and along the south edge of Cathays Park, until it is culverted upon reaching Park Place, and it finally emerges at the southern end of Churchill Way.

However, once rail transport arrived, the canals rapidly lost business and often were also bought up – by 1900 the Great Western Railway Company owned 13 canals. Only profitable canals that could maintain an advantage in some way survived.  As a result, the dock feeder canal was surplus to requirement and the first phase of culverting began in 1949, in order to create a new City centre road, Churchill Way.

 

The length of the covered canal beneath Churchill Way is approximately 518 meters. The rectangular culvert was constructed with concrete walls 20 feet apart and a covering of pre-cast reinforced concrete beams - designed to carry the Ministry of Transport loading for trolley-bus routes.

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