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The Diary of William Southern Clark, 1854: Cardiff Steals a March

During his nearly twenty years as mineral agent to the Bute estate in south Wales, William Southern Clark led or participated in four activities, which made a strong contribution to Cardiff’s fortunes as a coal exporting port and its eventual emergence as the ‘coal metropolis of the world’. These were: his winning of the steam coals of the Rhondda valleys; the installation of coal staithes in the Bute docks, so speeding up the shipping of coal cargoes; defining the route of the Rhymney Railway, thus diverting much of the Rhymney valley’s mineral output from Newport to Cardiff and setting out the first plans for coal shipping from the River Ely. Key moments in all these activities occurred in 1854 and Clark’s diary for that year records his part in them and his interactions with other influential people in the industrial development of the port of Cardiff.

Richard Watson was educated at Dover College and at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After a short military career in the Worcestershire Regiment, he resigned his commission and joined ICT, a British computer manufacturer before moving to Cardiff City Council and subsequently Wales Gas where he came to head the region’s strategic planning department. He later graduated with an MA in Local History in Cardiff in 1996 and was awarded a PhD by Swansea University on the history of Cardiff 1675-1875, in 2007. His other publications include Rhondda Coal Cardiff Gold: The Insoles of Llandaff, Coal Owners and Shippers.

South Wales Record Society publication no. 32
Edited and with an introduction by Richard Watson
Published 2019
ISBN 978-1-9998326-4-3 (paperback)

Price: £18.00

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