Splott (Welsh: Y Sblot) is a district and community in the south of the city of Cardiff, capital of Wales, just east of the city centre. It was built up in the late 19th century on the land of two farms of the same name: Upper Splott and Lower Splott Farms. Splott is characterised by its once vast steelworks and rows of tightly knit terraced houses. The suburb of Splott falls into the Splott electoral ward.
Splott location (post 2016) within Cardiff
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Fanciful suggestions for the origin of the name have included a truncation of "God's Plot", as the land belonged to the Bishop of Llandaff in medieval times, and a derivation of plat, meaning a grassy area of land. The name of the original farm would seem to be Middle English "splott", from Old English (speck, blot, patch of land) and the word is to be found in other English place names in the Vale of Glamorgan, Gower, and Pembrokeshire, as well as in Somerset and Devon, in the West Country of England, from where it was presumably introduced by English settlers. It has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.
The population of Splott in the United Kingdom Census 2001 was 12,074, in 5,101 households of which only 183 are detached homes. Of the 8,221 adults in the area, only 1,000 have the lowest category of qualifications (Level 1 or below). In 2011 the population had increased to 13,261.
Splott is a traditional part of the City of Cardiff. Most of the housing stock is Victorian in origin built during the expansion of the City's iron and steel industry to house workers in these factories.
The early history of Splott is given in the Cardiff Records. This says that "Splott was anciently held by the Bawdrips of Penmark. It consisted mainly of two farms, called the Upper and Lower Splott, situated between Roath Village and the sea."
- 1440 - the Splott is mentioned as bounding certain lands of Isabel le Despenser, Countess of Worcester and Warwick.
- 1596 - William Bawdrip of Penmark built a fair house at the Splott and made it his chief residence.
- 1626 - William Bawdrip of Splott was Member of Parliament for Cardiff. He sold Penmark and Splott to Sir Edward Lewis of the Van.
- 1638 - Sir Edward Lewis of the Van died.
- 1740 - the Llandaff Survey of this year mentions a chief rent of four shillings as payable in respect of Splott Farm in Roath.
No residential or industrial development took place in the area, however, until the end of the 19th century. In 1880 the whole area between Cardiff and the Bristol Channel (known as East Moors) was marshland, apart from the farms of Pengam and Splott. Residential development started in the 1880s, constructing streets, houses, shops, taverns and Board Schools; subsequently, Churches were built by various denominations. The streets and housing were laid out by Habershon & Fawckner, architects for the Tredegar Estate. Splott park opened in 1901.
Inevitably there have been many changes in the years since Splott was first developed. Portmanmoor Road is now an industrial estate and its former Victorian era housing was demolished along with adjoining Enid Street, Layard Street, and Menelaus Street which no longer exist.
There is a strong community focus and this is centred on churches, schools, pubs and sporting teams. Roman Catholics remain well catered for through St. Albans and the associated school. This continues to produce rugby teams of all age groups which compete in city leagues. Splott University Settlement was one of the most successful British baseball teams, winning the Welsh League title several times.
Bridgend Street was one of the 17 streets demolished in the early 1970s, but to this day is recalled in the name of Bridgend Street Football Club, which plays in the Welsh Football League. The nickname of Bridgend Street is "The Mission" and motto is "Deeds Not Words". Their home base is The Fleurs Social Club on Portmanmoor Road.
The Welsh languageEdit
The earliest known example of Welsh-language literature from Splott is a poem by the Elizabethan poet Dafydd Benwyn on the death of William Bawdrip of Splott. It includes the couplet: 'Du yw'r Ysblot dros y blaid, / Diweniaith, da i weiniaid' ('Splott is black for his people, / Without flattery, (he was) good to the weak').
With the growth of Splott as a suburb of Cardiff, English was established as the main language.
The number of Welsh speakers in the area increased when East Moors Steelworks was opened in 1891 with large numbers of workers from the parent plant at Dowlais near Merthyr Tydfil. To meet the religious needs of these Welsh-speaking workers, Welsh-language chapels were opened in the area, including Ainon, Walker Road (1894, Welsh Baptists); Bethlehem, Eyre Stree (1895, Welsh Independents); and Jerusalem, Manon Street/Walker Road (1892, Calvinistic Methodists).
Splott has one Welsh-medium primary school, Ysgol Glan Morfa.
- John Humphrys (radio and TV presenter) was born in Splott.
- Dame Shirley Bassey (singer) originated from nearby Tiger Bay, but moved to Splott at the age of two and attended Moorland Primary School and Splott Secondary Modern School.
- Clive Sullivan (Welsh rugby league player) grew up in Splott.
- Helen Raynor, writer of the Torchwood episode "Ghost Machine", which is also largely set there, lives in Splott.
- Lynn Bowles, the morning traffic reporter on BBC Radio 2, was born in Splott.
Splott is featured in the third episode ("Ghost Machine") of the BBC science fiction drama and Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, which is set in Cardiff. It is also mentioned somewhat humorously in other episodes, due to its English pronunciation, which was referred to as "SP-LO-T" but was corrected as "SP-LO". Splott also features in the Torchwood novel Another Life.
Because the morning BBC Radio 2 traffic reports are read by the Splott-born Lynn Bowles, many listener contributions to the Terry Wogan and Ken Bruce shows feature (primarily fictitious) anecdotes humorously referring to the district. On 14 December 2009, Wogan was made Lord of Splott live on his radio programme in its final week, by resident and broadcaster Noreen Bray. She invested him on behalf of TAFFS, or Terry's Adoring Fans From Splott.
Splott is also an electoral ward and parish of Cardiff, Wales. The electoral ward includes the areas of Pengam Green, Splott and Tremorfa. The ward is bounded by Adamsdown and Penylan to the northwest; Rumney and Trowbridge to the north east; the Severn estuary to the south east and Butetown to the south west. It is a multi-member ward, with three councillors. The ward has generally returned Labour party candidates, including Jack Brooks, who served two terms as Leader of South Glamorgan County Council.
In the UK Parliament, Splott is part of the constituency of Cardiff South and Penarth. Its most prominent MP was former Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan. The current MP is Labour's Stephen Doughty, first elected in 2012.
Splott is part of the STAR area of Cardiff (STAR stands for Splott, Tremorfa, Adamsdown and Roath, four inner city suburbs born out of the industrial revolution). The STAR Centre leisure facility is located in Splott (although this was closed when the new Splott Hub was opened and the former STAR is utilized by the NHS), along with Splott Pool (Splott pool was closed and demolished to make way for the new Splott Hub, that opened in September 2017). The area is served by Splott Library and Roath Library. The latter closed due to prohibitive renovation costs and a deal was made in early 2018 for the building to be taken over by a local dance organization.
- For details of Splott Aerodrome, see RAF Pengam Moors
- Parker, Quentin (2010). Welcome to Horneytown, North Carolina, Population: 15: An insider's guide to 201 of the world's weirdest and wildest places. Adams Media. pp. xii.
- "Neighbourhood Statistics - Area: Splott Community (Parish)". National Statistics. 2001. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
- "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 9 April 2015.
- Matthews, John Hobson (1900). Cardiff Records, being Materials for a History of the County Borough from the Earliest Times (Vol 2). Archived from the original on 22 May 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2006.
- Fr. Graham Venn (2006). "History". St. Alban's Parish Cardiff. Archived from the original on 2 May 2006. Retrieved 4 June 2006.
- Newman, John (1995), The Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan, Penguin Books, p. 311, ISBN 0-14-071056-6
- Tim Lambert (June 2001). "A Short History of Cardiff, Wales". Local and National Histories. Retrieved 4 June 2006.
- "Bridgend Street - The Willows, Cardiff". The Welsh Football League. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
- The City and County of Cardiff (Communities) Order – 2016 No. 1155 (W. 277) (PDF). Welsh Statutory Instruments. 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
- "Cardiff church collapses: Man dies after Splott incident". BBC. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
- "Collapsed church building in Cardiff: Everything we know so far". Wales Online. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
- Dafydd H. Evans, 'The Life and Work of Dafydd Benwyn' (DPhil Thesis, Pxford University, 1982).
- G. Sorton Davies, These Forty Years: A History of Ainon Baptist Church, Splott, Cardiff, 1889-1929 (Cardiff, 1929).
- J. Austin Jenkins ac R. Edwards James, The History of Nonconformity in Cardiff (Cardiff, 1901), t. 92.
- J. Austin Jenkins ac R. Edwards James, The History of Nonconformity in Cardiff (Cardiff, 1901), t. 92
- 'Welsh Language Commissioner: 2011 Census results by Community.
- BBC Wales south east (June 2005). "Hall of Fame – John Humphrys - journalist and broadcaster". BBC – South East Wales. Retrieved 30 March 2006.
- BBC Wales south east (June 2005). "Hall of Fame – Shirley Bassey – superstar singer from Cardiff's Tiger Bay". BBC - South East Wales. Retrieved 30 March 2006.
- Wales Rugby League (2004). "Clive Sullivan [1961–1984]". Wales Rugby League Welsh Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 8 January 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2006.
- Jennie Savage. "STAR radio". Archived from the original on 13 January 2006. Retrieved 15 April 2006.
- Splott page on BBC Wales south-east
- Splott Albion Blacks
- Moorland Primary School, Splott
- The Splott Community Workshop
- St. Saviour's Church, Splott
History of Splott
- Manor of Splott
- Splott Mission and St Alban's, Splott
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Splott and surrounding area