Until the Industrial Revolution Cardiff was a sleepy little town, but the coming of the Glamorganshire Canal and the development of the first Cardiff dock in 1839 changed all that. By the late nineteenth century Cardiff was the largest coal-exporting port in the world; in 1913 more than 13 million tons of coal left Cardiff. This success brought with it immense industrial expansion, especially the arrival of steelworks and associated trades. The depression in the wake of the First World War brought the first dock closures, and even race riots, and recovery was damaged by bombing during the Second World War. It wasn't until the 1960s and '70s, though, that major dock closures began in earnest. This decline, and the closure of associated manufacturing plants, produced massive areas of post-industrial wasteland - and in 1987 the Cardiff Bay Urban Development Corporation was established, in order to regenerate the docks, economically, socially and environmentally. Cardiff Bay is the result. With the aid of over 300 photographs, Brian Lee tells the long and fascinating tale of Cardiff's docks, focusing especially on the people who worked here.
This story will fascinate anyone who is interested in the city's industrial heartland, and will amaze anyone who has witnessed the transformation from dereliction to the showpiece Cardiff Bay.