Once just a zoo for tigers, Cardiff Bay has been transformed into an Area of Outstanding Natural Butty; a place where Valley Commandos and Commandoettes can breed with city yuppie types over a pint of warm SA. Here are 10 things you never knew about Cardiff Bay
1. During the Iron Age, the area was used as a storage facility for irons. Warehouses dotted the coastline, full to the brim of irons of all types, including the new-fangled steam ones that you can now get in Argos.
2. During the 17th century, the bay became home to an ambush of tigers. Legend has it that a wooden cargo ship that was carrying the tigers was headed for Bristol but got confused when they got to Penarth Pier and crashed. The tigers escaped and made their home in the Bay. The family of tigers continued to grow over the next 20 years, and eventually set up a small village there.
3. By the 18th century, humans first made an appearance and promptly rounded all the tigers up and put them in a zoo because humans hate to see other animals running the show. The new zoo was called Tiger Bay Zoo and was home to over 40 tigers plus a penguin.
4. The zoo was badly damaged in a storm in 1840. The tigers escaped and made their way back to India, where they were shot. Coal owners earmarked the spot for redevelopment and turned the area into a dock where they could export coal. They stuck with the name Tiger Bay to make it sound sexier than it was.
5. As the docks grew, so did the local population. Often seen as a melting pot for all nations on earth, the area became syonymous with fun and laughter and drew visitors from all over the world.
6. After the boom came the crash and businesses deserted the bay. All that was left were empty houses and a corner shop that wasn’t even on the corner of the block. The local council declared it a no-go zone and taped it off with some of that tape you see at supermarkets when they try stopping you from buying non-essential items.
7. By the 1990s, the bay had become an eyesore so Cardiff Council decided to turn it into a construction site. The first pub was built, and revellers came from far and wide to sit in the sun and look at the mud.
8. By the turn of the millennium, the bay had been extensively regenerated. Restaurants, cafés and even a tall metal thing with water coming out of the top were built. A large concert hall was also opened at the turn of the millennium. A competition was held to come up with a name for the concert hall and out of 3 billion entries, the name The Millennium Centre was chosen.
9. Cardiff Bay became the home of the fictional Torchwood Institute, a place where actor Jack Barrowman could run around looking handsome and being witty. Welsh actress Eve Myles also featured in the show, which was a spin-off of Star Trek.
10. These days, Cardiff Bay is a place where the River Ely and the River Taff converge – a metaphor for the convergence of two other great masses – Valley Commadoes and Commandoettes and the city types, who view Cardiff Bay as their local playground. Breeding events are commonplace and the area is surrounded by many apartments where couples can get drunk, pair off and go breed late into the night.