Please share your memories of Maindy Park with us:
“The photos are a scroll and replica medals that were presented to both my parents as thanks for their contributions to the organising and running of the Track and road events of the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff in 1958.
The Road Race finish photo shows Ray Booty of England winning with the judges on the side of the road to the right of the 2 police men being CW “Charlie” Alexander who ran a bike shop in James Street, in the docks area of Cardiff. Next to him is Joe Field, kneeling is dad Cliff Smith, (dad worked for / with Charlie and was his frame and wheel builder) don’t know the next 2 but the man with the flag is Fred Howells.
All of them stalwards of South Wales cycling in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s The stretch of road for the finish was between Ewenny and Southerndown.
I did attend the games at Maindy although I have no recollection as I was born the year before in 90 Cosmeston St.”
Ian Smith, Cardiff
My memories of Maindy Park go back to the 1950s and are very vivid. Maindy Park to us local kids was the section that contained the swings and roundabouts, the tennis courts and the bowling green, with Maindy Stadium next door. The entrance was in the lane that runs between New Zealand Road and Gelligaer Street (affectionately known then as the Burma Road!), so as a resident of Canada Road it was two minutes away and almost on my doorstep.
The play area was a Health and Safety free zone that would horrify those in that business nowadays. A slide that we discovered could be greased with a margarine wrapper for extra propulsion, two roundabouts, the aforementioned swings and a lethal wooden seesaw contraption all mounted on a layer of knee grazing pebbled groundwork. There was a drinking fountain set in Cathays High School’s perimeter wall and in front of that was a green wooden hut. This was used as a rite of passage by jumping down from the wall onto the roof, a daunting challenge not taken up by everyone! Leading down to North Road was a large grassed area, which became our Ninian Park. Coats for goalposts and if lucky someone brought a heavy leather proper football…I was John Charles, Ivor Allchurch and on a good day even Stanley Matthews! All this are was swallowed up by Cathays High’s expansion, the areas are gone but my memories still remain. There were two bowling greens and a club house, where my grandfather, a stern Victorian figure aimed his woods with deadly accuracy towards the Jack. The park was presided over by two park keepers, Mr Rees who was an avuncular friendly chap and one who was rather corpulent and was only known to us as “the fat parky”. I remember him as more officious than Mr Rees, with a rather disturbing habit of threatening to impale anyone who stepped out of line with his metal tipped litter stick. A few years later in 1958 Maindy Stadium hosted all the cycling events of the Empire Games, and I had a ringside seat every day thanks to a child friendly gap in the railings. One competitor I recall was Don Skene who later had a cycle shop on Newport Road and I’m sure Reg Braddick must have been there too. Maindy Park was a wonderful place to have in the area I lived in, couldn’t have asked for more. Sadly I don’t have any photos of the park in those days, but if anyone has I’d love to see them here.. “Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you”…
Andy Thompson, Cardiff
“Very happy memories of Maindy Park and the Cardiff Junior Triathlon club. My three daughters were all active members, the June Cardiff Junior Tri was always a lot of work, but a great day out for children and parents. I also remember hosting the Junior Triathletes from Nantes at Maindy, wonderful memories”
Ann W, Cardiff
The Maindy Plane Crash
Colin Thomas, then a pupil at Cathays High School, recalled the day an aircraft crashed in to Maindy Park (6 May 1959) on the day the school sports gala was being held…
Chatting to Jeremy Sparkes he said that it was frightening as the aircraft passed very low over the park where the various races and events were being held, and if it had been any lower it would have crashed in to the field itself no doubt killing and injuring many of the children and teachers.
As soon as it had happened teachers cancelled the rest of the rest of the sports day and immediately held a roll call at which it was established that several children were missing. However, fears for their safety were soon allayed when a few others spoke up and revealed that the “missing” had in fact bunked off when the various sports events got underway to watch on telly the soccer match between England and Italy on that afternoon. The next day at school they were called to account for their absence.
Colin recalls that it made the tv news that evening and he still remembers it vividly to this day, 63 years on.