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Saturday, 13 July, 2002, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Dahl name docks at Cardiff Bay
Dahl lit up childhood with rhyme and fun
With a pen stroke lively as that which delighted children around the world, the world's favourite children's author is giving up his name to one of Cardiff's modern landmarks.

The historic Oval Basin lock at the Welsh capital's dockside is being re-christened "Roald Dahl Plass" in a nod to the acclaimed late Norwegian writer's roots.


What better way is there to pay tribute to one of Cardiff's best loved personalities than naming the bay's entertainment arena after him?

Russell Goodway, Lord Mayor of Cardiff

Dahl's widow and Norway's ambassador to the UK will join councillors for a ceremony at 1500 BST on Saturday.

Author of The BFG, The Twits and other stories synonymous with childhood, Dahl's own youth was spent in Cardiff.

Born to settled Norwegian parents in the city's leafy Llandaff suburb on 13 September, 1916, the writer's father Harald and elder sister Astri died when he was aged three.

It was their mother Sofie, an accomplished storyteller, who sparked the young Dahl's imagination and appetite for words.

But his only happy memories of his education at the independent Llandaff Cathedral School are relayed in Boy - those of the local sweet shop.

Many believe it was his trips to that store which sowed the seeds for Charlie And The Choclate Factory as he and four best friends gazed through the shop window at jars of sweets, pondering gobstoppers.

Words and pictures

He was later educated at Weston-Super-Mare and Derbyshire, and began writing in the US after serving as a fighter pilot in World War II.

From 1943 until his death in 1990 from a rare blood disorder, Roald Dahl wrote books which delighted, sparked, wowed and captivated young audiences around the world.

Boy reading Harry Potter book
Before Harry Potter came Roald Dahl's classics
James And The Giant Peach began life as an off-the-cuff bedtime story for daughters Olivia and Tessa. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, too, is still regarded fondly by a new generation of readers.

Together with illustrator Quentin Blake, he had formed an unique and inimitable partnership which brought his vivid works to life on the pages of 19 titles.

He was named the UK's favourite author in 2000.

Cultural arena

Cardiff's Oval Basin served as a lock at the city's historic docks until it was filled in during the 1960s to stabilise its walls.

Flanked by a series of abstract pillars and nestled between the Welsh Assembly and the planned Wales Millennium Centre, it is now serving as an entertainment arena.

Oval Basin, Cardiff Bay
The Oval Basin is linked to Harald Dahl's dock life
Dahl and his sister were christened at a nearby Norwegian sailors' church, where their parents had worshipped, and the author become its preservation trust's first president in 1987.

His father, who settled in Cardiff in the 1880s, founded there the Aadnessen & Dahl ship-brokering company. He was buried at nearby Radyr after his death.

Cardiff County Council decided the venue should adopt Dahl's name as the Welsh capital's cultural renaissance continues at Cardiff Bay.

The city has staked its claim to become European Capital of Culture for 2008 and has laid on a series of events at the area.

Norwegian corner

His widow Felicity will join Norwegian ambassador Tarald Brautaset, a party from Hordaland in Norway and the council leader at the site.

"Roald Dahl's books have entertained millions of people over the years", said Lord Mayor Russell Goodway.

"What better way is there to pay tribute to one of Cardiff's best loved personalities than naming the Bay's entertainment arena after him?"

The Celtic Food And Wine Festival is currently being held in the basin, which will host pop act Hear'Say at the Big Buzz event on 28 July.

See also:

14 May 01 | Entertainment
22 Mar 01 | Entertainment
10 Mar 00 | Entertainment
11 Mar 99 | Education
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