NOTE: For the up-to-date situation (in 2019) see https://tinyurl.com/yax29qtl
“What’s the oldest pub in Cardiff then?” is frequently barked at me when other Cardiffians get to hear that I’ve a written a book about Cardiff and that it includes a chapter giving a potted history and contemporary review of every single pub/bar in the entire city. By “oldest” they mean “oldest surviving” of course, and that means pub site not just pub name. Also, the questioner invariably wants to know about the city centre rather than the sprawling modern county borough. I will come back to that in a moment. So, the answer to the question, if referring only to the city centre and traditional inner-city zones, is… the Rummer Tavern!! Surprising, because the pub (an independent) makes nothing of the fact, and also not at all surprising, given its position at the very entrance to the Castle. Here are the oldest 20 in chronological order (original name in brackets where different):
- Rummer Tavern 1713
- Dempseys 1720 (Globe)
- Owain Glyndwr 1731 (Kemeys-Tynte Arms)
- Model Inn 1770 (Ship & Launch)
- Sandringham 1792 (Black Lion)
- City Arms 1793 (Cardiff Boat)
- Goat Major 1813 (Blue Bell)
- Kitty Flynns 1830 (Cambrian)
- Bute Dock 1839
- O’Neills 1840 (Market Tavern)
- Old Arcade 1844 (Arcade)
- Golden Cross 1849 (Shield & Newcastle)
- Mbargo 1850 (Blue Anchor)
- Vulcan 1853
- White Hart 1855
- YK 1859 (Elm Tree)
- Cottage 1863 (Cardiff Cottage)
- Packet 1864
- Borough 1867
- Kings Cross 1872 and Yard 1872 (Albert)
But when one includes all today’s Cardiff, many of the ancient villages engulfed by the city have surviving inns which predate these. The title of oldest pub in Cardiff therefore belongs to the 14th century Church Inn (Llanishen), closely followed by the Unicorn (Llanedeyrn).
not a single pub there that I haven’t visited. . . .
…don’t I know you from somewhere…?
Please let me have details of your book
No mention of the ‘Horse and Groom’! Womanby Street, now sadly gone of course, I always understood that that was the oldest pub in Cardiff.
As I said in the intro, these are the oldest surviving pubs (when the piece was written). For the Horse & Groom see dicmortimer.com/2012/10/07/absent-friends/
To update this blog generally: three of these pubs are now closed (Bute Dock, Mbargo and Vulcan) and three have different names (Model Inn – Greenwood & Brown, YK – Four Elms, Kings Cross – Corner House).
Can you tell me the names of the pubs in newtown (cardiff ) I know there was ” the crighton ” the cambridge ” ” the duke of something ” ( which I think Jim Driscol’s wife use to keep, he himself was banned from serving behind the bar because he was such a gentleman he use to give the beer away ” my mother’s parents use to run the crighton her maiden name was Tobin.
Here’s a list of all the pubs of Newtown: the Cambridge (Tyndall St), the Crichton Arms (Tyndall St), the Crown & Sceptre (Pendoylan St), the Duke of Edinburgh (Ellen St), the Eagle (Davis St), the East Dock (Tyndall St), the Hastings (Tyndall St), the Howard (Tyndall St), the Lord Raglan (Ellen St), the Prince of Wales (Adam St), the Rhymney (Adam St), the Royal George (Thomas St), the Sandon (Adam St), the Vulcan (Adam St).
The Crichton Arms was at the west end of Tyndall Street (number 1).
The Green Fields of Erin was at 25 Ellen Street
Good evening. Are there any photos or images of the Cambridge in Tyndall Street? My wife’s grandfather used to be the landlord.
Sorry, but despite an extensive search in my own records and online I can find no images of the Cambridge. Demolished in the 1960s it was located on the north side of Tyndall Street at number 48, approximately where the roundabout under the Central Link flyover now is. Built in the 1870s, it was very much a dockers’ pub being situated opposite the Bute East Dock and Wharf Road (which ran down the east side of the Dock along the line of today’s Central Link). The first landlady back in the 19th century was Mary Richards and among its other proprietors was the father of footballer Terry Yorath in the 1950s.