As summertime arrives, the Garden by the Sea is in its annual bloom. Strolls along the pier, walks amidst Penarth’s gardens and catching sight of regattas remind us of the town’s cultural heritage and the significance of its preservation.
Penarth’s coarse seaside beauty has always been time-honoured and frequently conveyed through verse. Amid myriad poetic tributes, a particular rendition published in the Penarth Chronicle and District Advertiser on 21 July, 1895 echoes its cultural legacy in South Wales and its preservation to date.
“…glorious summer gardens and a promenading pier”
During the Victorian era, Penarth fostered charming architecture and notably the creation of gardens and parks that remain speckled throughout the town today, harbouring trees and greenery that have endured through time. Early architecture and structures, for example in Windsor Gardens, also live on. Minding and engaging with such infrastructure and floral sanctuaries are therefore crucial in preserving Penarth’s Victorian legacy.
Victorian elements remain dotted throughout the town, unmistakably evident in Penarth’s Pier, which holds and remembers culturally and historically consequential moments. Today, it’s occasions like the Penarth Summer Festival that draw us back to the pier, though the Pier Pavilion continues to portray the rugged coastline and open seas of South Glamorgan through local art and photography exhibitions.
Preserving “Oh pretty Penarth in little Welsh Wales”
Historical and cultural attributes characterise the town, and preserving those is vital to preserving a Penarthian identity and hallmark. Thus, one can appreciate the importance of strengthening the role of long-standing admired sites as pillars of a community and its legacy. Here are just some things you can do:
Join in on open-air theatre nights at the Kymin Gardens, with productions including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night. These evenings bring together the community at a late-19th-century estate with rich history and mingles Penarth within greater British cultures.
Strolling through the town with the Penarth Tree Forum’s Town Tree & Nature Walk may lend insights into the local trees and flora dating back to the town’s Victorian founding. Organised and managed by Penarth Civic Society, this sub-group has dedicated their efforts towards Penarth’s heritage, and provides an array
of events and projects to participate in.
Publications of archived newspapers, including the Penarth Chronicle from 1890 to 1896 can be found in Barry and Penarth Libraries containing more beautiful local poetry on the natural vistas and assets of this town. You can also browse many of these online, with thanks to Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru (newspapers.library.wales)