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A Home in the 60s.


My memories of Insole Court (first re-named Llandaff Court when acquired by Cardiff City Council) are from sometime around 1960. I was about ten years old and my sister  a year younger.

My grandparents had rented a house in Fairwater Grove for many years when the landlord decided he wanted to sell  up.  My grandparents were already in their 70s at that time and not in a position to buy a property. The landlord sold very quickly and my grandparents, and their grandson who lived with them, were at risk of being homeless. They approached Cardiff City Council in the hope that they would be allocated a small flat, however, nothing was available at that time. While they waited to be offered something suitable they were housed in half of the attic rooms in Insole Court. This comprised seven rooms and the tower that stands majestically atop of this handsome building.
My sister and I had never seen a ‘house’ this big before and even half of the attic was more space than could be imagined to run and play and make a noise. There were cupboards either side of a raised section of the long corridor that housed what must have been ARP helmets as from the top of the tower there was an excellent view over Cardiff and to the docks.
The rooms seemed huge to us although we were very kindly allowed to take a trip down memory lane and re-visit the attic some fifteen or so years ago and somehow they seemed  much smaller.
We were only occasionally allowed to climb up to the tower but I remember the tower room half way up which I think may have had a trap door in it so not safe for children but the exhilaration of looking out over Cardiff from the top of the tower itself is something I won’t forget. The spiral staircase from bottom to top had drawings of exotic birds on the walls, I think they could have been chalk drawn, and were magnificent and incredibly colourful.
We had great fun playing in the grounds of the house, sitting on the lions and pretending they were real and following the winding paths in the garden at the far end of that side of the house that, when I visited recently, was very overgrown but apparently is on the list to be brought back to its former glory.
My grandfather was a very keen gardener and missed pottering around in their house   in Fairwater Grove and so spent quite a bit of time working in the rose garden which was where the visitor centre and car park now sits.
We occasionally stayed over at Insole Court and slept in a room overlooking the porch where we would look out of the window waiting for our parents to arrive to take us home. I have to say that we found that room very cold, uninviting and strange in a way that is not easy to explain. When we took our trip down memory lane some  fifteen  years ago the kind lady who opened the rooms up for us refused to take the flight of stairs to the attic as apparently some strange sounds and sights have been experienced on that level.

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