THIS week’s From the Archive section looks at drawings of mudflats in Cardiff Bay looking towards Penarth Head.

Before it was built and up until the mid-nineteenth century, the whole of Cardiff’s foreshore comprised of sea-washed moors and mudflats through which the Rivers Taff and Ely flowed into the Bristol Channel.

The town quay stood where Westgate Street now runs in Cardiff Bay, but was accessible by sea-going vessels only at high tide.

Cardiff Bay did not exist in anything approaching its present form until the docks were developed in both Cardiff and Penarth.

Even then, for a century and a half, the Bay was tidal, with the river channels passing through large areas of mudflats at low tide.

It was only in 1999, following completion of the Barrage, that the waters of the Taff and Ely were impounded, making Cardiff Bay a fresh water lake.

This particular drawing by Mary Traynor is part of a set and pre-dates the Barrage. In particular, this depicts scenes in the lower reaches of the Ely River, with St Augustine’s Church, on Penarth Head, clearly visible in the background.

Thanks to the Glamorgan Archives and volunteer David Webb for providing the Penarth Times with this image and information.