In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Cardiff like this:
Cardiff, mun. and parl. bor., seaport, and co. town of Glamorgan, at the mouth of the river Taff and on the estuary of the Severn 29 miles W. of Bristol by water and 170 miles W. of London by rail -- parliamentary and municipal borough, pop. 82,761; 4 Banks, 5 newspapers. Market-days, Wednesday and Saturday. ...
In 1801 the pop. was only 1018; in 1841 it was 10,077; and 59,494 in 1871. The rapid prosperity of the town is due to the abundance of minerals in the district. Its exports of coal and iron from the valleys of Taff, Rhymney, &c., are among the most important in the kingdom. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) The docks have become very extensive, and a tidal harbour and low-water pier have been constructed. There are also very large iron foundries, tin-plate works, and iron-shipbuilding yards. The South Wales University College was opened at C. in 1883. The bor. unites with Cowbridge and Llantrisaint in returning 1 member to Parl. Cardiff Castle, originally founded in 1080, is the property of the Marquis of Bute, who has converted part of it into a modern seat. On the pier-head, Bute Dock, is a lighthouse, with fixed light (Cardiff) seen 10 miles.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Cardiff in Glamorgan | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 27th April 2017
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