Cardiff's 'Tiger Bay'
: The Formation of a 'Sailortown', Immigration, Urban Development and Media Portrayal, 1880-1939

  • Jenna Rachel Twyford-Jones

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis examines the sailortown community of Wales’ capital city, Cardiff, popularly known as Tiger Bay. It contends that Tiger Bay is unique, because the settled, multicultural, multiracial community recognized themselves as different from the wider Cardiff area from the construction of the docks in 1840, up to and beyond the decline of the docks following World War Two.
    The thesis argues against recent studies of sailortown communities such as that of Graeme Milne, who has posited that such communities operated through a network of ‘entanglements.’ This presents a largely negative and problematic view of these areas, which the residents of Tiger Bay seem to refute in their memoirs and recollections.
    The key resources used are an in-depth analysis of population data from the national censuses from 1881 to 1911. This data will illustrate the composition of the community through time, which when compared with similar data from Cardiff city centre, highlights the difference.
    Furthermore, contemporary local media has been analysed to determine how non-British, non- Christian, and non-white residents and visitors were spoken of. This thesis argues that the difference in language used by the media upheld racialised difference and othering, which the residents of Tiger Bay only experienced directly when they left their home area.
    Studies by contemporary social scientists are critiqued alongside such reports. This thesis contends that such studies aided further othering, condemnation, and separation, particularly of Tiger Bay’s non-white and mixed race residents.
    Finally, this thesis argues that the local residents were aware of their importance as a multi- national heritage sailortown community; their memoirs, and interviews given demonstrate this clearly. This thesis contends that rather than the ‘entanglements’ and problems upheld by contemporary media and social scientists, this unique sailortown community was largely settled, cohesive, and harmonious.
    Date of Award21 Jul 2023
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorBrad Beaven (Supervisor), Mathias Seiter (Supervisor) & Karl Bell (Supervisor)

    Cite this