Britain's Most Historic Towns

Edwardian Cardiff

Series 2 - Episode 3 Edwardian Cardiff



Dr Alice Roberts is in Cardiff, where she studied medicine at university in the 1990s. But she’s not here to revisit old student haunts, she’s arrived to examine the roots of the city’s prosperity during the Edwardian era.

Cardiff was founded on a voracious appetite for its particular type of high-quality coal, its so-called Welsh steam coal from the Rhondda, a few miles outside the city. It was sent around the world from Cardiff’s docks; reputedly the first ever business deal was struck in the city’s coal exchange (now a hotel).

And like Lucy Worsley, Roberts visits the dressing-up box to become the very vision of a wealthy Edwardian lady, complete with brutal corset.


Alice Roberts explores Cardiff's Edwardian past, discovering how the coal industry transformed the Rhondda Valley in the early 1900s. She investigates the difficult and often dangerous work of the miners, and visits the trading floor where the first ever million pound cheque was signed. The programme also investigates how global shipping routes and plentiful employment brought immigrants from across the world to Wales, and meets descendants of people who came to the city in the early years of the 20th century.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Professor Alice Roberts
Director Theo Williams
Executive Producer Dominic Bowles
Producer Theo Williams
Series Producer Liam McArdle