Cardiff owes much of its history to the Industrial Revolution. The rapidly increasing iron and coal trade was the catalyst for the construction of a number of docks during the 1830s. These included the Bute West Dock, which was the first dock to be opened by the 2nd Marquis of Bute in 1839 and its seaward entrance known as the Oval Basin, the Bute East Dock in 1855, Roath Basin in 1874, Roath Dock in 1887 and the Queen Alexandra Dock in 1907.
During this time, Butetown and the surrounding dockland area grew into a cosmopolitan community, with seafarers from all over the world making Cardiff their home. It’s estimated that at least 50 different nationalities settled in this area, which became known as Tiger Bay. This kaleidoscope of settlers assisted with the building of the docks, worked aboard the ships and helped to service this industrial and maritime city.