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Monday, 11 March, 2002, 16:19 GMT
'Don't forget Tiger Bay' Cardiff told
Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay
The Bay area has changed markedly in recent years
An American photographer has urged the city of Cardiff to celebrate its maritime heritage as he publishes a book which documents the city's former docklands.

John Briggs from Minnesota, moved to Cardiff in the early 1970s and took more than 2,000 images of the people and places of Butetown.

Photographer John Briggs
American John Briggs moved to Cardiff in the early 1970s
The area - known around the world Tiger Bay - has now been transformed by a 200m redevelopment project.

It is home to the Welsh Assembly, a leisure complex, a waterfront shopping area and a 500-acre lake created by the Cardiff Bay barrage.

But Mr Briggs - whose work is also the subject of an exhibition at the capital's St David's Hall - said he believed the rich multi-cultural, seafaring history of docklands is in danger of being overlooked.

The book, Before the Deluge published by Seren, documents changes in the area since Mr Briggs took his first picture of Butetown in the summer of 1974.

Historian Neil Sinclair said Butetown was a vibrant community in the past.

"There were more than 93 pubs ...every street corner had a shop, and most streets had some sort of religious establishment such as a mission or a church."

Waterfront transformation

Many residents claim that the local community has been torn apart by decades of redevelopment.

It began in the 1960s with the demolition of long-established streets to make way for tower blocks.

Picture from Beyond the Deluge
The Bay community has changed dramatically
In the 1980s the former Cardiff Bay Development Corporation was set up to further regenerate the area.

The results included new offices and housing, the Cardiff Barrage, the Atlantic Wharf leisure park and the Mermaid Quay shopping development.

The area is now home to the National Assembly for Wales, and work has begun on the Wales Millennium Centre.

But throughout the transformation of the waterfront, John Briggs believes that Cardiff has not paid enough regard to its recent past.

"What's happened within the development is that it has succeeded in depriving Cardiff to a certain extent of its identity ...a great maritime city."

BBC Wales's Jon Gower
"When John Briggs took his first photo of Butetown, little would he have guessed he would take 2,000"
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