During the Transport Workers’ Strike of July 1911 in Cardiff, every one of the city's thirty-three Chinese laundries was attacked against a background of hostility towards the Chinese community.

  • Date: 13-Dec-2009
  • Place:
    • Pantmawr Cemetery, near Ardwyn, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF 14, UK
    • Cathay Cemetery, Intersection of Whitchurch Road, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF14, UK & Allensbank Road, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF14, UK
    • Tiger Bay, Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre, Harbour Drive, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF10 4PA
    • Butetown History & Arts Centre, 5 Dock Chambers, Bute Street (opposite the Baltimore Arms), Cardiff Bay, CF10 5AG
    • Bute Street, CF10 5

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13 Dec 2009

Departed in the early morning. We decided to make use of the daylight so we had to start work earlier. Today we were going to split the team into two, namely: Cemetery Team & City Team. Ryszard was so excited when he knew he was going to spend a half day in the cemetery; while Ricky had no option to do so! On our way to Cardiff, we’ve passed Pantmawr Cemetery first; it contains a newer large Chinese burial area with a Chinese arch at the entrance of the Chinese section. We were touched by the couplet on the Chinese gate -- 今日君軀歸故土,他朝我體也相隨. Our second excursion to a cemetery was Cathay Cemetery, which contains Chinese graves dating back to the early 20th century. And this was the stop where we left Ryszard and Ricky before the mini-bus drove to Cardiff city centre.

We were looking for Bute Street, which had many Chinese shops in the early part of the 20th century. We were too early and the museum had not yet opened. Wandering around the Bute Street area, looking for the old household numbers, we noted the presence of council estates and thus no trace of the old Chinese community. We waited until the museum opened and then obtained some information. It was then time to pick up our two team members (whom we suspected would be frozen by now). Back to Cathy Cemetery, the two poor fellows told us they had been left in the wrong cemetery. They couldn’t find the gravesites so they made enquiries of other visitors. The correct site was opposite the motorway. They had walked there and took photos, and then walked back waiting to be picked up. Ryszard said no more about the visit to the cemetery for him!

- by Chungwen Li

 

My experience in taking photos of cemeteries was quite interesting. I hated the idea of taking pictures of the graves as I do not like visiting cemetery.

During the countrywide field trip we visited two cemeteries in Cardiff and on another separate day trip we visited another cemetery in Limehouse London.

The weather was bitterly cold every time we visited a cemetery. That made taking pictures a bit more difficult as all my fingers and my face were frozen up and the lens of camera got frosty etc.

It was worst in Cardiff as it was wet on the ground too. In one of the cemeteries in Cardiff my shoes were soaking wet after walking on the long grown grass. I had no spare shoes to change into until we reached Liverpool where I managed to buy a new pair of shoes. I learnt that I was not properly prepared for the field trip; I did not have the right equipment and clothing to be able to cope with the weather condition.

That bitterly cold morning when we arrived at the first cemetery in Cardiff, my initial reaction was just take the photos and get out of there like a ghost. Even it was only a short distance from our car to the Chinese graveyards, it seemed like an eternity. My view changed when we reached the Chinese graveyards. In U.K. I have never seen so many Chinese graves together in the same area and with its own separate entrance. There was a Chinese poem engraved at the gate which says “Today your body return to earth, one day mine will follow too”. This reminded me the cemetery where my grandmother buried in Hong Kong; it has the same poem at the main entrance. It has been engraved in my mind till now.

I was impressed that the Chinese community is able to provide such facilities for the Chinese to be buried together if they wish. As for me, I have never thought of being buried not alone buried among the Chinese. I believe when I am gone, it does not matter anyway.

- by Ricky Law