Cardiff Bay before regeneration

Cardiff Bay before regeneration

Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff, January 1986

(This post was inspired by

Cardiff has changed dramatically over the past 30 years. It’s hard to imagine how different the old Tiger Bay docklands looked before the Cardiff Bay redevelopment and Cardiff Bay barrage was announced by Margaret Thatcher’s Welsh Secretary Nicholas Edwards in 1986.

Dad and I visited the docks regularly and took these photos on a bitterly cold day at the start of 1986. We liked the look of the imposing warehouse on the right (east) bank of the Bute East Dock.

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In praise of Techniquest, Cardiff Bay

Techniquest, Cardiff Bay

We loved our visit to Techniquest, the hands-on science centre in Cardiff Bay, this weekend. It’s over 15 years since my last visit – and this time I had a child me with!

Owen loved the experience. And it opened my eyes to science – thirty years after leaving school. We were very impressed that visitors were invited to go straight in while one member of each party queued to pay. The cafe was also excellent.

Techniquest is now over 25 years old. It used to be based opposite Cardiff Castle, and moved to its current site in 1995, just before my last visit. I was intrigued to discover that the building was built around the frame of an 1890s engineering workshop, as a photo on display (below) shows. This was a historic part of the old Tiger Bay, where ships were repaired in the three graving (dry) docks. This was the unlikely setting of a fierce political battle in the 1970s, when Christopher Bailey’s company Bristol Channel Ship Repairs fought against the Callaghan government’s nationalisation of the ship repair industry. (By a quirk of fate, Callaghan was the local MP.) Bailey triumphed.

The building that became Techniquest, Cardiff Bay

Techniquest now

I shot and edited some video of our visit on my iPhone. It gives an idea of this wonderful place.