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Cardiff: The multicultural city

Updated Friday, 4th September 1998

Butetown in Cardiff was a crossroads for the world. Not everyone passed straight through.

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A tilt-shift photo of the Cardiff Bay Barrage

Butetown – "All mixed up, and proud of it!" (Glen Jordan)

Cardiff Docks came about as a site of commerce around the early to mid 19th Century with the arrival of the coal and shipping industries. The earliest residents of the Docklands area were middle-class merchants. This changed as the middle-classes moved out and those employed in the shipping industry moved in. Soon the Cardiff Docks area, or Butetown as it is now known, became home to many different ethnic groups – coming from the 19th Century British Empire countries and involved in providing labour for the ships spreading the businesses of Cardiff Docks to the world.

Group of children

Today there are still strong traces of the many different ethnic groups which made up Butetown and the area is still a rich source of the history of these people – from the early Irish Labourers who shaped the Docks to the Somali and Yemeni groups who now form the backbone of the community.


Bute Town History and Arts Centre

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