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Penarth Town
Heritage Trail Project


The area of Penarth has a rich history spanning over several million years.


From its time as a dinosaur stomping ground, through Neolithic settlement and Roman occupation, its period of ecclesiastical landownership and then significant development by the Victorians and subsequent 20th & 21st century people, Penarth has become what we see today.

While much of this history is known, it is not always accessible, scattered across books, websites & archives, buildings & landmarks, in the streets, their ever-changing characteristics, in the minds of our historians, and in the memories of those who grew up with the town, or have family history here.


This project aims to bring as much of this knowledge as it can out to where it can be easily found...

About The Project

About The Project

The Penarth Town Heritage Trail is designed to be just that, a trail that leads through the town, showing of its history.

This will be accomplished in several ways, both In-The-Town and online, with static and interactive methods..

The aim of the project is to make this extensive history accessible to as many people as possible, and to showcase some of the more interesting (and possibly not so well known) aspects of its. This includes  things like:

  • The history of a particular area within the town and how it was developed and evolved.

  • The history of a local landmark, its construction and reasons for it.

  • Notable people of the town​

The creation of this project will involve a number of elements, both physical and online.

Project Elements

Project Elements
Information Boards

We aim to position a number of Information Boards around Penarth Town that will display elements of the town's history. Each board will differ in the type of content displayed, depending on where it is situated.

A number of boards will show the local history of that particular area such as how it was developed, used and evolved. (e.g. The History of Glebe St).

Some boards will be themed to a particular topic (e.g. The Arrival of The Railway)

Some boards will have a number of different topics on them, such as local buildings or features, or noted persons of the town / local area. (e.g. Windsor Rd and The Windsors)

We aim to place each board in an easily accessible place (including, where possible, with inclusions for those with disabilities), scattered across the town. (Exact placement is currently TBD but will hopefully include within parks and as near to featured topics as possible).


Each board will consist of several panels of information and photographs, in both English and Welsh, and will also contain a QR code that links back to a page on this website associated with that board, where you will be able to find even more information. Some boards may also contain maps or information about how to follow the trail.

Final designs of the boards are still being decided (as we have to make certain considerations based on where they will be placed.

The images displayed here are merely mock-up examples of how each board could look.

Top: Original concept Oct 2022. Designed by Chris Riley

Bottom: Jan 2023 onwards

Informtion Boards
Boards' Content & Proposed Locations

The following is a list of the proposed boards & their proposed locations. Note some board names may differ in final version. We have 24 initial boards in total, though this number may be revised/increased as the project progresses. The final location of each board is something that needs careful consideration and negotiation with various departments of the VoGC as each location will have certain restrictions regarding how a board can be placed. 

  1. [Overview Map & Welcome Board] - TBC

  2. History of Penarth #1 – Clifftop

  3. History of Penarth #2 – Town Centre

  4. History of Penarth#3  – Paget Rd

  5. History of Penarth #4 – Alexandra Park

  6. The Americans – Paget Rd

  7. [Seafront Area] (Buildings and users + Dinosaurs) – Esplanade

  8. First Houses of Penarth – John St / Arcot St

  9. Penarth’s First Shopping Centre – Glebe St

  10. Holiest Street in Town – Plassey St

  11. [Headlands Area] – Headlands School

  12. Mansions & Wealth – Marine Parade

  1. [New Shops/Arcade/Library & Solomon Andrews] – Windsor Arcade

  2. Arrival of The Railway – Penarth Station

  3. Victoria Square & All Saints – Victoria Square

  4. St Augustine's Church & Yards – St Augustine’s Church

  5. Custom House & Docks – Custom House

  6. The Windsors – Windsor Gardens

  7. Empire & Colonialism – Windsor Gardens or Docks

  8. The Garden By The Sea – Alexandra Park

  9. Prominent Penarthians #1 – Alexandra Park

  10. Prominent Penarthians #2 – Alexandra Park

  11. Cogan – Cogan

  12. [Coastgards] – Coastguard Cottages

Boards in [Square Brackets] denotes To Be Confirmed on board title.

Blue Plaques

Penarth Town has a lot of famous people & landmarks/buildings associated with it, but not that many Blue Plaques in recognition of them. In fact it only has one blue plaque, as well as two non-blue plaques recognising certain well-known Penarthians (one of which is on the wrong house!)

Part of Phase one of the project is to increase this number. A key criteria of this however is that while there are a number of notable and recognisable people who could be honoured by one, there are also a number of 'ordinary' people who could perhaps also be included.

Examples include Dockers, Midwives, Coal Trimmers and more. With so many unrecognised people helping to make the town what it has become, we'd like to show them some appreciation too.

Blue Plaque.jpg

The Criteria for being included in the

Blue Plaque list is:

  1. They must be dead

  2. Must be interesting

  3. Must have lived or worked in the town at a site that still exists (so we an mount the plaque)

Blue Plaques
Proposed Recipients

The following is a list of potential candidates for Blue Plaques. Where a name is not given we are seeking someone of that profession that could be included. Other notable candidates from other professions may also be considered. The goal here is to not only highlight the most well known individuals, but also those who also hade a good influence over the town.


  1. Constance Maillard

  2. Catherine Meazy

  3. Mary Morgan

  4. Gladys Morel-Gibbs

  5. Edith Parnell

  6. Emily Pickford

  7. Emily Rose Bleaby

  8. Johanna Scott

  9. Hettie Millicent Mackenzie

  10. A Nurse?

  11. A Midwife?

  12. A Seamstress?

  13. A Shop Owner?

  14. A Boarding House Keeper?

  15. A Laundry Woman?

  16. Mary Glynne?

  17. Any

  18. other

  19. suggestions?


  1. Solomon Andrews

  2. Jack Bassett

  3. CE Bernard

  4. SA Brain

  5. Marc Brunel

  6. John Coates-Carter

  7. John Crory

  8. Dicky Garret

  9. Ray Milland

  10. George Norris

  11. Joseph Parry

  12. William Sadler

  13. Henry Snell

  14. George Roper

  15. Sgt Samuel George Pearse

  16. Cpn. Richard William Leslie Wain

  17. Peter Freeman

  18. A Coal Trimmer, / Dock Worker??

  19. Any other suggestions?

The above displayed lists do not currently include where we would like to display each plaque as we will not disclose it at this time. This aspect requires us not only consider how they would be displayed where applicable but also negotiate consent with the current owners of each location.


Full information about each of these individuals will be made available as the project progresses. You can find some information about some of them already on our website here.

Submitting Suggested Candidates

Names & Information about other suitable candidates can be submitted to us using the email address below. We will not only need their name & profession of the individual but also a brief history for why they are a suitable candidate as well as the name of an location they are prominently associated with (including both public & private, commercial and residential) upon which a plaque could be mounted. Dates associated with them such as date of birth & death and dates they used the said location also required.


In order to make this project be more than just a number of static bits of material with writing and pictures on them scattered around the town, we are also looking to include some elements of interaction.

These include:


Each board will contain at least one QR Code. This will link back to an associated page on this website where you'll be able to read more information, see more pictures and (with the right accessibility options) have the information read out to you.

qr-code (1).png

Stand Alone QR Codes

We area also exploring the possibility of placing just QR codes around the town at certain locations, that would give you a link to a feature in that location not covered by a board. This would be placed where we are unable to place a full board. This should also include near any Blue Plaques.

Audio Tours & Spoken Elements

At this stage of the development process this is merely an idea, though, thanks to one of our team members (see below) there are already some existing ways for how we could create this. The Audio aspect will also be something to aid those unable to read the signs.

Braille and other Accessability Options

We want to make this project as include as possible, so we will be looking at what possible options we can use. This will include actions such as discussing with the sign-makers what we can add to assist with this. We will look to make all signs Bilingual English/Welsh.

(Note for the Welsh version of these pages, please go to the top of the website to the language selector)

Link back to the Original Town Walking Trails

Did you know there already some walking trails in existence. You'll find them here on our own website (as well as information about how they came about). Why not download them and take yourself on a local town tour with them.

Following The Trail...

While we are calling this a trail; as you will be able to follow it from element to element, it can in fact be viewed in any order., as each board will be mostly self-contained with its information.

Trail Maps

We have not yet finalised how the physical mapping will be displayed, which will allow visitors to navigate to each board. (examples pictured -->).


Options we are considering include dedicated map boards, previous/next indicators and full maps on each board. We will also need to look at the inclusions for additional elements such as Blue Plaques and stand-alone QR codes.

An Interactive Digital Map (similar to the one we already have) will also be accessible via this website, which will show the location of each element included in the trail. We are assessing the possible ways we can do this that will help make it even more interactive.

Other options such as geo-tagging, apps and printed copies of the trail are also being considered, depending on their viability, the processes of creation and funding we can get towards them.

With both physical and digital means to follow the trail, it will hopefully be experienced by a lot of people, both citizens and visitors alike.


Project Timeline & Stages

Project Timeline


  • Research

    • Contact local Historians, councils, businesses for useful information.

    • Compile lists of Information Board topics & Content

    • Compile list of Blue Plaque Candidates

  • Liaise with local organisations, key people / locations around the town for needed cooperation and assistance.

  • Seek Funding

  • Design Website Pages

  • Explore Accessibility Features that need to be considered


  • Public Consultations and Input

    • 1st held - 26th October 2022 - All Saints Lesser Hall

    • Next - 2024 TBC Penarth Library

Phase 1

Part 1

  • Design Information Boards

  • Design & Commission Blue Plaques

  • Create Website pages to be available as additional reference point for above.

Part 2

  • Install Information Boards

    • Board unveiling ceremonies

  • Install Blue Plaques

    • Blue Plaque unveiling ceremonies

  • Make Website Content live

  • Promote Trail

Phase 2

  • QR quick-access points around town and with Blue Plaques

  • Interactive Maps & Trails

Phase 3

  • Enhanced Accessibility Options

  • Other possible Interactive elements

    • Audio Tours​

    • Guided Tours

    • Video Presentations & Guides

  • use of Apps

    • (e.g.) Vale Trail / Voice Map

  • The Future Beyond...

Did You Know...?

This is not the first time we have been involved in the creation of a Town Trail, showcasing the history of Penarth

Click Here to see the original project from the last century.

Original Trails
Project Team

Meet the Project Team

This project's creation and development is being undertaken by a number of our members who either have a good knowledge of the history of the town, or the useful skills to help bring this project to life.

They will also be working with and alongside individuals from other groups, organisations, etc. and the Vale of Glamorgan and Penarth Town Councils. More on them as the project progresses.

Dave Noble

In addition to being the society's Treasurer, Dave is leading this project.

His tasks include coordinating the team, dealing with the funding and funders, and also the various organisations, groups, councils, individuals and businesses that will have to play some part in this project.

Alan Thorne

Alan is a prominent authority on the local history of the town, holding an extensive and detailed knowledge about it, from its buildings (both well and lesser known) to its notable (and often characterful ) people.

Alan (together with Chris)  will put as much of this information as possible into this project,

Chris Riley

Besides being one of our committee members, Chris also specialises in local history. Chris likes to focus on the town's history pre 1900, and has extensive knowledge of things like the Victorian construction of the town and docks, as well as what the area was like before this.

Sarah Salter

Sarah Salter has a background in creating interactive trails through UK towns and cities, so has good knowledge of the types of inclusions we can make, and the tools and resources we could use to help construct and run this project.

Sarah will help us to ensure the physical elements not only look practical, but are as accessible as possible.

Sarah Salter.JPG
Dan Brown

As our IT/Web and tech man, Dan knows his way around websites, social media and other online features.

In addition to his task of translating much of the historical information into an online format for this website, he will also be helping to develop the links between the physical elements of our trail and the virtual ones.

Project Funders, Collaborators and Co-operators.

This project could not exist with out the assistance of the following:

Penarth Civic Society Time Changed copy.jpg

Penarth Civic Society, it's Members and Sub Groups.

This is a PCS project, created by us and our members. 

VOG Council.png

Vale of Glamorgan Council:

VoGC Parks & Gardens Dept.

VoGC Highways Dept.

Other Departments TBC

Various Locations we would like to display at are owned/operated by...

Penarth Town Centre Logo.jpg

Penarth Town Council

Historical Information & Support of both The Penarth Society / Civic Society throughout its existence, and this project.

The Citizens and Visitors of Penarth

For their support, information & assistance in getting this project going.


Project Funded by


Project Funded By


Project Funded BY

Get Involved

If you would like to be added to our news mailing list, please email

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