Creating a National Stadium

In 1958 Cardiff played host to the Empire and Commonwealth Games with the rugby ground at the Arms Park staging the opening ceremony as well as several of the athletics events. In the aftermath of the Games, concerns started to be raised about the effectiveness of the drainage at the Arms Park, as well as the use of the rugby ground by a myriad of rugby teams.

A series of wet winters saw the Arms Park rugby pitch become a muddy quagmire and its state for Five Nations rugby internationals became something of an embarrassment to the Welsh Rugby Union, especially compared when the pristine facilities at Twickenham and Murrayfield.

These concerns led to a scheme for the creation of a National Stadium and during 1963 a plan was put forward to convert the cricket ground into a new home for Cardiff RFC, to move the cricket section of Cardiff Athletic Club to Sophia Gardens and to create a National Stadium at the rugby ground. The plan eventually got the green light and Glamorgan CCC played their final County Championship match at the Arms Park during August 1966.

A view of the Arms Park cricket ground in 1960, showing the Westgate Street flats and the North Stand. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.