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Title: Llanishen  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Lisvane, Rail transport in Cardiff, Cardiff, Pentwyn, Cardiff, Sport in Cardiff
Collection: Cardiff Electoral Wards, Districts of Cardiff, Politics of Cardiff
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Llanishen electoral ward of Cardiff

Llanishen (Welsh Llanisien llan church + Isien Saint Isan) is a district in the north of Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. Llanishen is well known as the home of the 'Tax Offices', the tallest buildings in north Cardiff and a landmark for miles around. The office complex overlooks the 'Crystal and Fishguard estates', Parc Ty Glas industrial estate, old village, leafy suburban roads and various parkland that constitute the district. Llanishen is also home to a fully featured Leisure Centre and the former 60-acre (240,000 m2) Llanishen Reservoir - a local beauty spot that is connected to a green corridor which bisects the city from the rising hills in the north to Cardiff Bay in the south.


  • History 1
  • Commerce and Industry 2
    • ROF Cardiff 2.1
    • Parc Tŷ Glas Industrial Estate 2.2
    • Other offices 2.3
  • Leisure 3
    • Cardiff Sailing Centre 3.1
    • Llanishen and Lisvane Reservoirs 3.2
    • Llanishen Leisure Centre 3.3
    • Llanishen Library 3.4
    • Llanishen Skate Park 3.5
    • Llanishen Rugby Club 3.6
    • Public Houses 3.7
  • Schools 4
  • Transport 5
  • Government and politics 6
    • Electoral ward 6.1
    • Representation 6.2
  • Famous people from Llanishen 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Originally wooded farm land, in A.D. 535 two monks came eastwards from the small religious settlement of Llandaff, aiming to establish new settlements, or "llans", in the land below Caerphilly mountain. With fresh water from the Nant Fawr stream, one of the monks Isan founded his llan on the site of the modern day Oval Park.

In 1089 in the Battle of the Heath, the Normans fought the Welsh Celts north of the settlement. The victorious Normans expanded Llanishen, starting work on a church to the north which was completed in the 12th century.

Although Oliver Cromwell had ties with Llanishen and the neighbouring village of Llysfaen, the village remained undisturbed until 1871, when the Rhymney Railway was given permission to break the stranglehold of the Taff Vale Railway into Cardiff Docks. Building a line from Caerphilly to Crockherbtown Junction just north of Cardiff Queen Street, its 1.5 miles (2.4 km) tunnel to the north resulted in a number of accidental deaths, many of whom are buried in St Isans church.

The railway and the development of Llanishen railway station allowed wealthy Cardiff business people to commute from the village to the centre of city easily, resulting in the expansion of the villages population by 20,000 between 1851 and 1871. In 1887, the two new reservoirs of Llanishen were built to allow distribution of water collected in the Brecon Beacons to the city. In 1922, after expansion north by the city and south by the village, Llanishen became a suburb of Cardiff.

Development of the village since has been through redevelopment of the former farming and military land into commercial usage and housing development.

Commerce and Industry

ROF Cardiff

The First World War, like in many locations, brought death to the young men of the village, but the Second World War brought greater effect. With the development of ROF Bridgend, a Royal Ordnance Factory, ROF Cardiff, was developed along Ty Glas Road to take the explosives from Bridgend and produce tank and anti-tank guns. Air defences against paratroopers were placed in nearby fields, but this was strengthened in 1941 when the Royal Air Force established both a RAF Regiment base and a glider training facility. In 1943 the United States Army began using the facilities to hold troops and undertake local training, including basic flight in Tiger Cubs. The Americans left in June 1944 as the Allies prepared for D-Day. In 1987 ROF Cardiff became an Atomic Weapons Establishment. It closed down in February 1997.

ROF Cardiff since closure has become the site of major housing development: Victoria Cross winner Sir Tasker Watkins, who died during 2007.

As at September 2013 the public open space remained unadopted by Cardiff Council. Although partially complete, the standard of much of the work has been called into question by local residents and the Llanishen Community Garden group (established in 2010 with the aim of creating a beautiful garden on part of the site); for example the upper section soil was too thin to sutain viable grass, many of the trees remained stunted and some had died, drainage was poor in many parts of the site with flooding commonplace, the walkway between the Wimpey and Bellway estates was incomplete thereby preventing anyone with disabilities or other mobility problems using that route. On the positive side, the 86 bus route was successfully diverted through the development, although the road adoption was also behind schedule.

Parc Tŷ Glas Industrial Estate

HM Government buildings, Phase 2 (left) and Gleider House - Phase 1 (right) and Ty Rhodfa in the foreground

Parc Tŷ Glas is home to the offices of S4C (the national television station for Wales) and the National Eisteddfod of Wales. HM Revenue and Customs occupies a 16-storey tower block (Phase 2) plus some of the 11-storey Gleider House (Phase 1) in a complex of HM Government offices,[1] employing more than 2,700 staff on site in late 2007[2] (mainly Revenue division — including an enquiry centre, or IREC). In 2003, a retail complex of six stores was built; the current occupants are Marks and Spencer Simply Food, Boots, Laura Ashley, HomeSense, Starbucks, DW sports/MiFit and Pets at Home.

Other offices

The Orchards complex, formerly the site of the National Coal Board's regional office,[1] houses the offices of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales,[3] the Welsh Assembly Government's Department for Rural Affairs,[4] and the Welsh office of the Camelot Group, operators of the UK National Lottery.[5]


Cardiff Sailing Centre

Cardiff Sailing Centre (Llanishen Sailing Centre)[6] is one of Wales' foremost sailing schools teaching sailing, windsurfing and powerboating, and enjoys an international reputation.[7][8] The centre currently operates all its courses in Cardiff Bay due to the drain down, however still has buildings at the former reservoir should they be able to return.

Llanishen and Lisvane Reservoirs

Two non-functional reservoirs (the smaller Lisvane Reservoir is adjoined to Llanishen Reservoir). Llanishen Reservoir forms the end of a Victorian water supply system stretching from the Brecon Beacons to Cardiff and has recently had its CADW listing confirmed. It had been under threat from an American-led commercial development for domestic housing, where the proposed houses would be built around a reduced lake. But the CADW designation plus the Site of Special Scientific Interest for grassland fungi on the embankments of the former reservoir, will make it very difficult for a developer to gain building permission. Locals are campaigning to make the area a registered village green.[9][10]

Llanishen Leisure Centre

Llanishen Leisure Centre

Llanishen Leisure Centre[11] is situated in Llanishen and is the largest in the city. It has a pool with a wave machine, Squash courts, multi-activity Sports Hall, an improved Gym & Fitness suite, a Snooker table and Lounge Bar & Pool side Cafeteria. It is built in a very similar layout to the Pentwyn leisure centre.

Llanishen Library

Llanishen Library is a part-time branch library with two PCs with free Internet access.

Llanishen Skate Park

In the large 'Glider Field' alongside the leisure centre, there is a public Skatepark.[12] Skate Park Facilities: 2 Quarter-pipes / Jump box / 2 flat banks / Driveway / Spine / Rail / Wallride / Halfpipe /

Llanishen Rugby Club

The playing ground and large training ground of Llanishen RFC is off Usk Road, and has been used in the past by visiting international rugby union teams. The Club House is off Ty Glas Avenue nearby.[13]

Public Houses

Llanishen's pubs include The Church Inn, The Ty Glas, and Wolf's Castle. (Also was home to The Phoneix hotel and Cedars Restaurant Now flats)


Local Primary schools:

  • Cefn Onn
  • Christ the King R.C. Primary School
  • Coed Glas[14]
  • Ysgol y Wern
  • The Court Special School

Secondary schools:


The district is served by two railway stations, Llanishen railway station (on the Cardiff Central to Rhymney Line) in the east and Ty Glas railway station (on the Cardiff Central to Coryton) in the west.

Cardiff Bus operates several bus routes through the area:

  • 28 from Station Road (Thornhill) or (Roath Park-Cathays-Central Stn)
  • 29 (Llanishen Village Circle) or (Roath Park-Roath-Central Stn)
  • 29B (Llanishen Village Circle via Ty Glas) or (Roath Park-Roath-Central Stn)
  • 52A (Llanishen Village Circle-Penylan-Roath-Central Stn)
  • 86 (Lisvane)

Llanishen can be approached from the south via Caerphilly Road and also, more centrally, via Fidlas Road at Rhydypenau crossroads (north of Roath Park).

Government and politics

Electoral ward

The electoral ward of Llanishen falls within the parliamentary constituency of Cardiff North. It covers some or all of the geographical areas of Llanishen and Thornhill. It is bounded by the wards of Lisvane to the northwest; Cyncoed to the southwest; Heath to the south; and Rhiwbina to the west.


Famous people from Llanishen

The film director Richard Marquand (Jagged Edge, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) was born in Llanishen. His father was Labour MP Hilary Marquand.[15]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 14 January 2008 (pt 0019)
  3. ^ HEFCW - Map & Directions
  4. ^
  5. ^ How To Contact Camelot
  6. ^ "Cardiff Sailing Centre". 
  7. ^ "Marlow Ropes joy for up-and-coming Evans". 
  8. ^ "Cardiff school children get OnBoard". 
  9. ^ "Llanishen RAG". 
  10. ^ "icWales Feature". 
  11. ^ "Llanishen Leisure Centre". 
  12. ^ "Llanishen Skate Park". 
  13. ^ "Llanishen Rugby Club". 
  14. ^ "Coed Glas Primary School". 
  15. ^ "Richard Marquand biography". 

External links

  • Llanishen Leisure Centre
  • Llanishen Reservoir Action Group
  • Llanishen Rugby Club
  • Llanishen Sailing Centre
  • Llanishen Baptist Church
  • : photos of Llanishen and surrounding area
  • Friends of the Crystals Community Website
  • Llanishen Local History Society
(NW) Thornhill Lisvane
Rhiwbina Llanishen Cyncoed
Birchgrove Heath (SE)
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