Some Photo Geography Archeology Pinpointery

Peter Brabham’s excellent Flickr account (view it here), hosts a wealth of superb archive railway photography. He recently posted up an image by Derek Chaplin of a former Cardiff Railway locomotive, that had been rebuilt and put into use on the Great Western Railway, specifically in Cardiff Docks in the early 1950’s.

Derek Chaplin’s picture from July 1951 of the ex-Cardiff Railway engine 684.

Peter notes in his picture caption “I am told this is roughly where the Welsh Senedd (Parliament) building stands today.”

I was intrigued to find out exactly where this would have been. So, after a quick visit to the excellent National Library of Scotland map archive, and with a bit of trial and error guesswork, I’ve narrowed down the location to just about facing the back of the modern day (2022) Wales Millennium Centre. So not quite on the site of the Senedd, but pretty darned close nonetheless. The “C.H BAI” in the image refers to C.H. Bailey Ship Repairs, who operated the dry dock just behind the engine. Here is the Google Earth view, from about as near as I can get to the original angle and camera location.

You can view the side by side maps of the old vs the new below too. I believe Derek Chaplin must have been stood just in front of the small building above and to the right of the number 28 in the old OS map image (almost in the centre of the old map). It’s incredible how much of the old docks have been swept away for the redevelopment of Cardiff Bay.

Finally, here is an image from Britain From Above, from 1947, followed by a cropped view with a good look at the dry dock in action.


Original Flickr pic:

National Library of Scotland map:

Google Earth link:,-3.16147355,10.3996582a,0d,69.70359977y,302.17159626h,100.34825051t,0r/data=CigiJgokCaPbaxE2wUlAEcrIoy_qwElAGd46gIkPSwnAIW1wm36GWQnAIhoKFm5RTkxRVGlmdXJxVzUwMGhXTGVTdEEQAg

Britain From Above link:

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