The Mackintosh Sports Club (the Club) has provided sports and social facilities for the communities of Plasnewydd and Roath in Cardiff for the past 120 years. From its inner city site, the Club offers bowls, snooker, table tennis and lawn tennis facilities and provides spaces for use by local community groups through its community wing the Mackintosh Community Centre which was built in 1986.
The original house on the Mackintosh Sports Club site was built in approximately 1780 and was known as Plasnewydd (New Mansion in Welsh). In the 1830s when the castellations were added, it became known as Roath Castle.
The Club has been maintaining and managing the historic asset of its main building, a symbol of Cardiff’s rich industrial heritage, but it is very expensive to maintain and in the last 10 years, facilities have become somewhat run-down. In the last few years, a dynamic programme of rejuvenation of the facilities and a capital injection of funds have underpinned a new development programme which will help the Mackintosh site reclaim its sports and social status as central in the community.
This plan allows for focus on the current development programme highlighting the future potential of the Club as a resource for a wide range of people in Cardiff. It is envisaged that the new two storey building and the continuing upgrading of the main Castle will expand participation in sporting and community activities on the site and provide open access to an historically important building for schools and other visitors.
History and development
The Mackintosh Sports Club is set in 2 acres of open space in the Plasnewydd district of central Cardiff. Until 2011, the grounds around the main Castle included a large car park, five tennis courts and a bowling green and one corner of the ground contains a small public park. During 2012, a new two storey building is under construction which will house a large male changing room and a large female changing room which are to be shared with all of the sports club members. Both changing rooms include showers and toilet facilities with a high specification. There will be enough room for either an indoor bowls rink or two mini tennis courts on the ground floor thus enabling our bowlers and junior tennis members to play their sport whatever the weather. The table tennis club will be housed on the first floor and so appropriate flooring and wall colour have been included in the design. It is envisaged that a gym will also be housed on the first floor and there will be other multifunctional space where sports classes can be held.
As already stated, there has been a house on this site since 1780, Plasnewydd House and in 1830, it became known as Roath Castle where the Richards family lived. In the 1870s Harriet Diana Arabella Mary Richards (1857 – 1941) married Alfred Donald Mackintosh (1851 - 1938) hence the current name. (See the streets off Albany Road to the North, Inverness Place, Diana Street, Arabella Street, Alfred Street, Donald Street and Angus Street.)
In 1891, the grounds and house were donated for the benefit of the people of the Mackintosh Estate, primarily those living in the industrial revolution houses which had sprung up around the building in Plasnewydd, and Roath. The house went from being a private mansion house, to an institute, run by the Mackintosh Estate trustees. It was at this time that all the sporting traditions currently still running with the community were established.
In 1986, after some 100 years of tradition, the Mackintosh Institute was threatened with closure due to the Estate Trustees wishing to sell the land for financial gain. A successful campaign was lead by the Mackintosh Sports Club and the local community, which lead to the Club acquiring the freehold tenure of the building and the adjoining 2 acres of land. At the same time, a new wing to the main building was created, establishing new spaces and facilities for local community use such as Music with Mummy, Yoga, local religious groups and a pensioners group to name but a few.