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Penarth Town
Heritage Trail

Project Timescale
~200M BC -1AD - 1200s - 1800s - 1840s - 1900s - 1984 - 1986 - 2000s -

2022 - Present Day


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.

In November 2021 we announced a campaign to establish a Heritage Trail in the town to celebrate the rich history of Penarth.

The project is designed to inform residents and visitors alike and will involve a series of Information Boards dotted around the town, Blue Plaques attached to buildings celebrating people of interest that are associated with the building, and QR codes which will lead users to a page on our website where there will be more detailed information on the buildings and people.


We are planning to feature not only the great and the good but also “ordinary” people such as dockers, coal trimmers, midwives, seafarers and shopkeepers… in other words the people who actually built or worked in the town and docks and gave it the rich heritage we are seeking to explore.


We have approached all schools and churches in the town, as well as various “Friends of...” (& similar) groups to ask them to be involved in building their relevant entry on the project. Local businesses will also be invited to contribute content to the project.


Vale of Glamorgan Council & Penarth Town Council have agreed to support the scheme and we are currently developing the text for the Boards and creating the list of Blue Plaque individuals.


We hope that you too will support the scheme, whether you are a resident of or visitor to Penarth, have some sort of association with the town &/ its history, or are just a curious individual who appreciates these types of projects.


If you would like to make any suggestions or comments, &/ be included on the mailing list for updates on the project as it progresses, then please email us using the address at the bottom of the page.

We would love to hear from you.

Project Elements

Project Elements
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All designs featured are currently concept

Information Boards

Informtion Boards

Image above shows Draft Version #3 as of November 2023

(Click to enlarge)

We aim to position 28 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 will look 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.

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 28 boards plans.


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. 

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

Board Locations - Contents

(Boards 1-4 will hold the same information. Board number order is not finalised)

  1. Town Centre - History of Penarth

  2. Paget Road - History of Penarth

  3. Alexandra Park - History of Penarth

  4. Clifftop - History of Penarth

  5. Paget Road - The Americans

  6. Esplanade - Pier/ Esplanade/ Holidaymakers & Beach/ Swimming Baths/ Tourism

  7. Italian Gardens - Italian Gardens/ Dinosaur Footprints/ RNLI/ Yacht Club/ Marconi

  8. North Penarth - The first houses in Penarth and what they were like. St Paul's

  9. Glebe Street - Penarth's first shopping Centre

  10. Plassey Street - Holiest Street in town

  11. Headlands School - Penarth Hotel/ Old fort/ Northcliffe and Uppercliffe Mansions/ Clive Arms

  12. Marine Parade - Mansions and wealth

  13. Windsor Road - New Shops/ Arcade/ Library/ Solomon Andrews

  14. Station - Arrival of the Railway and effect it had.

  15. Victoria Square - Victoria Square/ All Saints/ Arts and Crafts architecture/ Victoria and Stanwell schools

  16. St Augustine's - St Augustine's church and churchyard

  17. Windsor Gardens - The Windsors

  18. Marina - Customs House and Docks/ The rise and fall of coal exports/ Cosmopolitan population

  19. Marina - Empire and Colonialism

  20. Alexandra Park - The Garden by the Sea

  21. Alexandra Park - Prominent Penarthians

  22. Kymin - Prominent Penarthians

  23. Cogan - Cogan

  24. Coastguard Cottages - Lookout Tower/ Cottages/ Rescues/ Shipping Info/ Rocket

  25. Zig Zag Path (St Joseph's Park) - Billybanks/ Zig Zag Path/ Arcot Triangle/ St Joseph's Church/ Dockers strike & Pilot

  26. Turner House - Roxburgh/ Turner House/ SA Brain

  27. Belleview Park - Belle Vue/ Albert Road School/ Council Offices/ Post Office

  28. Cosmeston - Cement Works/ St Peter's Church/ Landfill/ Medieval Village/ Country Park

Specified siting locations not set. Board Titles may differ from those listed.

Blue Plaques

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.

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Blue Plaque.jpg

Left: Our current draft design of what a blue plaque could look like

Right: The only blue plaque in Penarth

The criteria for being included in the

Blue Plaque list is:

They must:

  1. be Dead

  2. be Interesting

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

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. Annie Davies - Housemaid, killed on level crossing on Windsor Place

  2. Barbara Middlehurst - Astronomer

  3. Catherine Meazey - Benefactor

  4. Constance Maillard - Benefactor, first female leader of PUDC

  5. Edith Parnell - Swimmer

  6. Elizabeth Sheppard-Jones - Writer of children's books

  7. Emily Pickford - Musician

  8. Emily Rose Bleaby - First woman to be elected in Penarth, Poor Law Guardian

  9. Frances "Ma" Chaney - Colourful Character and "Bookmaker"

  10. Gladys Morel-Gibbs - Benefactor

  11. Hettie Milicent Mackenzie - Suffragette

  12. Johanna Scott - Colourful Character

  13. Kathleen Thomas - Swimmer, first to cross Channel

  14. Mary Glynne - Actor

  15. Mary Morgan - Benefactor, Financed Arcot Methodist church

  16. Rosemary (Ray) Howard-Jones - Artist

  17. A Seamstress

  18. A Shop Owner

  19. A Laundry Woman

  20. A Midwife

  21. A Boarding House Keeper

  1. C.E. Bernard - Town Planner

  2. Dicky Garret - First Penarthian to play rugby for Wales

  3. Edward 'Ted' Vizard - Footballer and Wales International

  4. Frank Roper - Sculptor

  5. George Norris - Politician

  6. Henry Snell - Architect

  7. Jack Bassett - Wales rugby Captain and British Lion

  8. Jack Vincent - Penarth's last Hobbler

  9. John Coates - Carter-Architect

  10. John Cory - Shipowner

  11. Joseph Parry - Composer

  12. Marc Brunel - Engineer

  13. Patsy O'Brien - Coal Trimmer

  14. Peter Freeman - Maverick MP

  15. Ray Milland - Actor

  16. Cptn. Richard William Leslie Wain - Victoria Cross

  17. Samuel Arthur ‘SA’ Brain - Brewer

  18. Sgt. Samuel George Pearse - Victoria Cross

  19. Solomon Andrews - Entrepreneur

  20. Tommy "Dodd" Wallace - Stonemason and Salvationist

  21. William Sadler - Publican

  22. Another dock worker - and xx other people lived here in 18xx

  23. Other names? - (suggestions welcome)

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.

(You do not need to seek permission from the proposed location at this time as this would be something we would do though a formal approach.)

J Saunders Lewis & Guy Gibson

Penarth's only existing Blue Plaque (J Saunders) is not part of this project, though we will look to include where applicable.

Guy Gibson is not currently included in the above nominations due to the [non-blue] plaque on No. 2 Archer Road (though it is Incorrectly placed as it should be No. 21 - Whether we will look to amend this error is TBD)

Site-less Nominees and Virtual Plaques

What about potential nominees who don't have an associated location?

It has not been decided yet as to whether to do 'online only' (virtual) plaques for people who could be nominated but do not have an associated building we can place a plaque on (either because the original building no-longer exists or where they worked was not a suitable site. This may be considered for phase 2 / 3, We are happy to still take nominations.

Future Nominations

At present we are not looking at or considering 'modern' individuals who could be nominated (now or in the future) and additional plaques will not be included in our initial funding bid & budgeting. This will have to be something we can look at after phase 3.

Dinosaur Footprints


We are planning to insert around 150 ceramic tiles stretching from the Italian Gardens to the end of the pavement by the Yacht Club. These will be facsimiles of the prints which can be found on the beach, spaced so that children can step from one tile to another and walk in the footprints of our earliest inhabitants towards the beach where the originals are.


Interactive Elements

Interactive Elemnts

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 Codes will also be placed near to each Blue Plaque to allow visitors to discover the information about the recipient on our website.

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.


We calculate we will need around 125 codes.

All QR Codes will also have their associated weblink alongside for those who cannot scan them,

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 Accessibility 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 on our website, please go to the top of the page for 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.

Board Maps

  • Each board will include a map portion of Penarth that will show the following:

  • Location of the board

  • Location of nearby surrounding boards

  • Local landmarks within that mapped area (board listed)

  • Other landmarks may also be visible as part of the base map

  • Blue Plaques and stand-alone QR codes will not be included here

Online Maps

Interactive Digital Maps (similar to the one we already have for the County Treasures) will also be accessible via this website, which will show the location of each element included of the trail. This may be a single map for all elements or separate maps for each one.

The map would be powered by Google.

A downloadable KMZ file may also be created for Google Earth and other compatible maps.


Paper Maps

We understand that not everyone likes to use virtual maps to navigate with. While we would like to make this project less wasteful by avoiding printed versions, we are looking at the options for this type

Other Options

Other options such as geo-tagging and dedicated apps (with maps) 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 Stages

Project Timeline & Stages


The planning portion of the project is ongoing throughout the phases, interwoven with the different elements as they will be developed and implemented at different speeds. Though we have split the project up to be rolled out in three phases, these may also overlap in their development and implementation, depending on how each section is created and progressed.


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

  • Compile lists of Information Board topics & Content

  • Compile list of Blue Plaque Candidates

  • Funding Options

  • Publicity Options


  • Project Content (historical information)

  • Information Board layouts

  • Blue Plaques

  • Website content

  • Interactive elements

Private Consultations

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

  • Vale of Glamorgan & Penarth Town Councils.

  • VoGC assisted contractors to install the elements.

  • Element productions (boards & plaques)

  • Funders

Public Consultations, Presentations and Input

Phase 1

In this phase we will look to install the following (subjected to approval):

  • 28 Information Boards (four of which are the same), detailing the history of Penarth.

  • 43 Blue plaques (subject to homeowner consent)

  • 125 QR codes

  • 150 Dinosaur footprints, set in pavement paviours from the Italian Gardens to the Yacht Club

  • Supporting Website Content containing additional information

Phase 2

In this phase we will look to install the enhanced features that will compliment the ones in phase 1. These include:

  • Interactive tour maps.

  • App with guided tour(s)

  • App with photo manipulation (Augmented Reality), enabling user to appear in historic settings

Phase 3 & Beyond

  • Enhanced Accessibility Options

  • Alternative Language Options

  • Other possible Interactive elements

    • Audio Tours​

    • Guided Tours

    • Video Presentations & Guides

  • use of Apps

    • (e.g.) Vale Trail / Voice Map

  • The Future Beyond...

Project Timeline

Development Timeline


  • Project concept discussed amongst committee & project team.

  • Nov - Project Announced



  • Initial Development

    • Deciding on board locations

    • Choosing Display Board content

    • Content creation by Alan Thorne & Chris Riley

    • Choosing initial Blue Plaque nominees​

  • Sep - Draft 1 design of information board (Blue version)

  • Oct 26th - Public Consultation & Presentation



  • Further Project Development

    • Refining board content

    • Concept board designs​

    • Initial Website content layout designs

  • Meeting & Presentation for PTC

  • Meetings & presentations with VoGC Councillors & Departments

  • Public calls for more Blue Plaque nominees and other assistance.

  • Sep - Draft 2 design of Information Board

  • Dec - Draft 3 design of Information Board (Displayed above)


  • Jan - First draft of Blue Plaque design (Displayed above)

  • Jan 25th - Feb 11th Exhibition of current designs at Penarth Library​

  • Feb 12th - Presentation to PLHS

  • Sep 21st - Presentation at Exhibition Showcase.

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Original Trails

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.

Meet the Project Team

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 a PCS Committee Member, Dave is leading this project.

His tasks include coordinating the team, designing the look of the boards and plaques, sourcing funding, speaking with the various councils and local Community Groups and Organisations, and other important actions.


Dave's Presentation Events 2024

Penarth Library History Day - This Project,

Penarth Local History Society* Presentation on this project - Mon 12th Feb

PCS Exhibition Showcase - 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,


Alan's Presentation Events 2024

Cogan Walk & Talk

PLHS* Walk & Talk - Mon 10th June

Cheese & Wine

Chris Riley

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.


Chris' Presentation Events 2024

Penarth Library History Day - How to Research History

PLHS*  Talk - Mon 13th May

10 Buildings that Deserve a Plaque

St Peter's Church Event, Old Cogan - 14/15 Sep

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

Sarah's Presentation Events 2024

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.


Dan's Presentation Events 2024

Penarth Library History Day - This Project,

PCS' Exploring our Own History (PCS AGM)

PCS Exhibition Showcase

PLHS* Exploring their Archives - Mon 14th Oct

Jonathan Hicks

Jonathan Hicks is an award winning Military historian and novelist, and has written several biographies, non-fiction and fictional books based around the 1st and 2nd world wars.

He was also an English Teacher, and later headmaster of St Cyres School.


Jonathan's Presentation Events 2024

Captain Richard Wain, VC of Penarth

Bruce Wallace

Jonathan Hicks is an award winning Military historian and novelist, and has written several biographies, non-fiction and fictional books based around the 1st and 2nd world wars.

He was also an English Teacher, and later headmaster of St Cyres School.

Bruce Wallace, local history lecturer & researcher.JPG

Bruce Wallace Events 2024

Tippers & Trimmers,  

Other Contributors

  • Anne Evans (PCS Chair) - Proofreading, community & councils liaison

  • Chis Wyatt (PCS Membership Secretary) - Proofreading

  • Russell Todd (Sporting Heritage*) - Ted Vizard content

  • Cindy Howells (National Museum of Wales) - Dinosaur content

  • Marcus Payne (Penarth Library) - Library history reference materials

Project Funders, Collaborators and Co-operators.

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

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

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

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Vale of Glamorgan Council:

VoGC Parks & Gardens Dept.

VogC Tourism 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

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Last Page Update 24/01/24

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