Cardiff Records: Volume 5. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1905.
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Cardiff Council Minutes, 1880–1897.
DURING the seventeen years covered by the following extracts from the Minutes of Council, the giant strides of Cardiff's material growth and progress proceeded even more markedly than before. New Docks were added to the already large shipping accommodation of the port, and increased railway facilities enabled coal to be poured into them at a more rapid rate than ever. The realm of bricks and mortar went on enlarging its borders and encroaching steadily upon the rural beauty of the adjoining parishes. Picturesque old farmhouses made way to the demands of the ever-growing population, meadows were effeced by streets, and suburban villas gave up their front gardens for the projection of shops. The speed of Cardiff's advance was almost bewildering. The merchant, returning from a couple of months' holiday abroad, had often a difficulty in recognising his own road, for the alterations that had been effected during his absence.
Then it was, however, that Cardiff turned her thoughts to the past, and remembered her ancient and honourable history. In 1880 Mr. George E. Robinson examined the Charters, and a Committee was ordered to be formed to obtain possession of missing muniments. It was not untill 1886 that the Charters Committee actually got to work, and received a report by Mr. Robinson and Mr. Robert Drane. It was resolved to have translations made of the Charters, and zincograph facsimiles of the originals, but this was not done. In 1888 Mr. Robinson urged the Corporation to carry their Resolution into effect, but his efforts were not successful at that time. In 1890 the Charters were repaired and restored at the expense of the late Mr. G. T. Clark of Tal-y-garn, who announced his intention of printing them in the following year. At the same time four of the original Royal Charters were presented to the Corporation by Lord Bute. At this point things remained until the end of 1893, when the statements of the "South Wales Daily News" led to the formation of the present Records Committee and to the work of their Archivist, as narrated in the Introduction to these volumes.
The Marquess of Bute's acceptance, in 1890, of the office of Mayor of Cardiff, was the initiation of a custom since widely followed in other boroughs, whereby the post of chief magistrate has been taken up by the principal local landowner, often a peer of the realm.