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The Ivor Davies

The man after which this pub is named is more famously known as Ivor Novello.

243–249 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, CF11 9AN 

This is named after the actor, songwriter and composer known as Ivor Novello. He was born Ivor Davies, in 1893, at 95 Cowbridge Road East, where a plaque bears the inscription: This boy became a Ruritanian King, who gave his people dreams and songs to sing.

Framed collection of photographs of Ivor Davies and his family.

Top: An early movie, Carnival. Left: above, baby Ivor with “mam”, below, parents, “Mam” and “Dave” in 1928.
Above: Ivor starring in The Rat, 1925.

Framed photographs and text about two Cardiff-born cultural and political figures.

The text reads: Sir William Goscombe John was born in what is now Gray Street, off Llandaff Road, in 1860, and attended Canton National School.

His many works in Cardiff include the statues of St David, in the city hall, and Joyance, in thompson’s Park. In 1911, John was knighted for services to Welsh culture, and received the Freedom of the City of Cardiff in 1936.

George Thomas was elected for Cardiff Central in 1946, later becoming Secretary for Wales, and Viscount Tonypandy. He is best remembered as Speaker of the House of Commons, and his cry of “Order! Order!”

Top: Sir William Goscombe John, 1936
Above: left, “Joyance” in Thompson’s Park, right, John in 1899.
Right: George Thomas.

Framed prints and text about chronicling the development of the small rural settlement of Canton.

The text reads: Until the 1830s, canton was a small rural settlement of around fifty houses, home to some 200 people. Most of them worked on the land.

Forty years later, the population had risen to 10,000 and by the end of the 19th century is had reached 40,000. This was almost entirely due to the development of Cardiff as Britain’s largest coal port , a process begun by the 2nd Marquis of Bute, who has been described as “the Father of Modern Cardiff”.
Cardiff expanded at an enormous pace, absorbing Canton and other nearby settlements. The arrival of the railway, and the setting up of cheap municipal transport services, all contributed to the development of the Canton area.

In 1875, Canton became part of the Borough of Cardiff, although by this time the area was virtually a town itself. It had a market, the County Police headquarters, and two major employers – the railway depot and the paper mill. It also had three schools, founded by some of its several places of worship.
Canton’s first school was the 1856 National School on Leckwith Road, whilst the earliest place of worship was the Welsh-language Llandaff Road Baptist Church which opened three years earlier.

Top: right, The 2nd Maquis of Bute, left, Coal Port,
Left: The old days – a rural scene.

Framed drawings and text about various early residents of Canton.

The text reads: One of the grandest of Canton’s houses, Preswylfa was built in 1867 for the coal magnate Lewis Davis. The house was bought in 1870 by Charles Thompson, head of the
Spiller flour business.

According to the Earl of Plymouth, the Thompson family did “more in the way of generous benefaction than probably any other family in South Wales".

Charles’ son, James, left money to buy University College a sports ground off Llandaff Road, and to fund a convalescent home for "Tired Mothers and Sick Children".
His brothers Charles and Herbert helped buy Llandaff Fields for public recreation, while Charles gave his garden to the people of Cardiff as Thompson’s Park.

Top: Preswylfa.
Above: Lewis Davis.
Left, Above, Charles Thompson (Junior), below, Herbert Thompson.

Framed drawings and text about Llandaff Cathedral.

The text reads: Llandaff Cathedral served as the Parish Church for Canton until 1855. In that year, the Church of St John the Evangelist was constructed, although the building was not completed until1871. St John’s was designed by John Pritchard, the architect who restored and partially rebuilt the Cathedral.

A church founded by St Teilo stood in Llandaff from the 6th century. The present building was begun 600 years later by Bishop urban. Construction finished in the 1400s. After King Henry VIII closed the monasteries, the Cathedral fell into disrepair.
Pritchard’s restoration work was undone in World War II. Another major rebuilding followed, which added what many consider the Cathedral’s crowning glory – Jacob Epstein’s figure Christ in Majesty.

Top: Llandaff Cathedral, 1770
Right: The restored Cathedral, 1861
Left: top, Christ in Majesty, below, St John’s Church.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

The pub’s sign, featuring an illustration of Ivor Davies.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk