This year 2022, the Rhiwbina Recreation Club celebrated the centenary of its hall. The original plans drawn up in 1913 for the Rhiwbina Garden Village included a recreation club with a bowling green and eight tennis courts, along with a recreation hall in the centre.
The plan shows the club surrounded to the north, east, and south by housing. The centenary booklet (a copy of which resides in Rhiwbina Library) shows the plans and the architect Alwyn Lloyd’s drawing of the proposed recreation hall.
Early in 1914, the Recreation Club was formed and leased 7.6 acres of land from the Welsh Housing and Town Planning Trust, the forerunner of the Rhiwbina Garden Village, and by May, had built a pavilion. In its first season, it formed bowls, croquet, football, hockey, tennis, and table tennis sections, along with a strong social membership.
The YMCA was closely involved in the club from its outset and acquired shares. Besides organising sports matches, it also arranged Sunday evening lectures and concerts.
The club, in its first fifty years, was much more than a sports club and became the centre of social life in Rhiwbina. Organisations renting the hall included Rhiwbina Men’s and Ladies Fellowship, Rhiwbina Choral Society, Rhiwbina Players, a nursery, children’s dancing classes, Town’s Women’s Guild, Infant Welfare Clinics, along with several others, including instrumentalists playing in concerts. Whist and bridge became extremely popular. The war put an end to most of the activities as in 1940, the War Office requisitioned the hall.
The hall is no longer recognisable, being encompassed by indoor bowls, table tennis, and a lounge bar. Rhiwbina Rugby Club, since it became a section of the club in 1971, entertain visiting clubs in the hall. The club introduced a fiesta and carnival in 1921 and this proved so successful that it became an annual event.
Brian Rowlands, Rhiwbina