Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Ely Tidal Harbour Coal Staithe Number One

A Scheduled Monument in Grangetown, Cardiff (Caerdydd)

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Latitude: 51.4479 / 51°26'52"N

Longitude: -3.1826 / 3°10'57"W

OS Eastings: 317910

OS Northings: 172759

OS Grid: ST179727

Mapcode National: GBR KHZ.BY

Mapcode Global: VH6FD.SVBY

Entry Name: Ely Tidal Harbour Coal Staithe Number One

Scheduled Date: 7 January 2004

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 981

Cadw Legacy ID: GM583

Schedule Class: Transport

Category: Staithes

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Cardiff (Caerdydd)

Community: Grangetown

Built-Up Area: Penarth

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument comprises the remains of the Ely Tidal Harbour Coal Staithe Number One. This impressive timber structure protrudes out over the sloping muddy embankments of the River Ely and carried a roofed staithe, from which coal could be easily loaded onto a ship from a chute fed by railway wagons with bottom-door discharges. The piers were splayed at the end closest to the shore, to enable two railway tracks to come to a point (just before the staithe) and ensure the quick turnaround of the coal-filled wagons.

The Ely Tidal Harbour and Railway Act (1856) authorised the construction of both a railway and tidal harbour on the northern bank of the mouth of the River Ely. The Ely Tidal Harbour was completed in 1859 and comprised ten tidal coal berths and an iron ore discharging stage. Each coal staithe was capable of loading 150 tons of coal every hour, enabling the railway wagons to discharge directly into the hold of the moored ship below. The distinctive timber structure of Staithe Number One is all that remains of this impressive facility.

The monument is of national importance as an impressive and rare survival of a nineteenth century tidal coal staithe. The monument is of particular importance within Cardiff itself, as a distinctive reminder of the activities that earned the city the title of 'the coal metropolis of the world'. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by the survival of quality original documentation; and by the increasing scarcity of such Victorian timber engineering, once so charateristic of port installations.

The area scheduled comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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