Champion County

The Arms Park hosted one of Glamorgan’s special celebratory matches during September 1948 after Wilf Wooller and his team had become county champions for the first-time in the Club’s history. The image below was taken around that time and shows the large number of spectators who were shoe-horned into the ground during these totemic years for the Welsh county.

A packed Arms Park as Wilf Wooller and his team play in front of a large crowd at Cardiff. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

The ground during the post-War years however looked very different to the tree-lined park where Glamorgan had played their County Championship matches since 1921. In particular, the pavilion which had been constructed in 1904 had been demolished to make way during the mid 1930s for the North Stand to be erected adjoining the rugby ground, as seen in the aerial photograph below.

An aerial view of the Arms Park showing the large new stand at the rugby ground, plus the flats along Westgate Street. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Apparently, the austere-look of the Stand’s metalwork displeased the Marquess of Bute who liked to fondly gaze down on the Arms Park from his rooms in the Clock Tower at the Castle. The story goes that in order to improve the view, the Marquess instructed his Estate managers to oversee the building of flats along the western flank of Westgate Street.

It wasn’t though just the Marquess who approved of the building of these apartments as during the preceding years, the managers of The Angel Hotel and The Grand Hotel on the eastern side of Westgate Street each had to cover the cost of windows broken by batsmen hitting sixes out of the ground. Famous examples of the sound of breaking glass had come during 1935 when hard-hitting Cyril Smart struck a remarkable 114 against the Springboks, having a few weeks before hit Hampshire’s Gerry Hill for 32 in an over at the Cardiff ground.