The town of Penarth owes its development to the massive expansion of the local coal industry
in the 19th century. Its proximity to Cardiff, which was the natural outlet for the industrial valleys
of Glamorgan, and its waterfront meant that it was ideally situated to meet the world demand for
welsh coal through the construction of the docks. The contract for the building of Penarth
Dock was placed in 1859 and the dock was opened six years later in 1865.
Over 200 years ago Penarth was little more than a village, being one of five parishes in the
Hundred of Dinas Powys, with a combined population of just over 300.
By 1861 the number of people in the five parishes had increased to 1,898 and to 3,382 by 1871. In
1875 three of the parishes - Penarth, Cogan, and Llandough - were merged into the Penarth Local
Board, giving a population of 6,228 persons by 1881. This figure had doubled by 1891 with the
opening of the railway and had increased even further by 1901 to 14,228 persons.
The development of the town was rapid and Penarth soon became
self-sufficient with its own local government,
thriving shopping centre and community facilities. Many of the town's
features owe their origin to the landowners of the time and the results
of their vision can be seen by the many fine buildings and parks which
make Penarth what it is today. Thanks to the generosity of these
landowners, Penarth earned the reputation of "The Garden by the
Sea" because of its beautiful parks and open spaces. Furthermore,
many of the buildings and features of the town have led to a substantial
part being designated as a Conservation Area because of its Victorian/
Source: Penarth Town Council