For the past few years, readers of the Barry Gem have enjoyed Tom Clemett's articles on the history and heritage of Barry and the surrounding area. With a keen eye for detail, Tom's writings reflect a passion for local history, combined with a great deal of research.

I am grateful that he has allowed his work to be published here.


On a number of occasions I have been asked why I wrote these articles. I began by lending photographs to be used to illustrate articles in works magazines, family history magazines, and local history books, and ended up writing short articles about them. I have collected postcards and photographs of Barry and the Vale for over 30 years. When I obtained a new photograph or postcard, I tried to find out about the scene depicted, what was there before, and the time in between now and the date the photograph was taken.

For example, if it was a shipwreck or a similar event, I would want to know how, when and why it happened, what happened to the ship after it was wrecked, who owned it, where it sailed from, and where it was going. A number of these ships were salvaged, repaired and put back into service, later were sold to foreign companies who used them for many years until they sank or were finally broken up. To try to find out all these details I built up a small library to use for reference purposes.

By putting together a number of descriptions of these photographs and postcards, editing them, and checking the details I had written by consulting old newspapers, street directories, books and peoples memories, I ended up with ready made articles. Postcards are easier to check than photographs as a most of the time on the backs of postcards are postmarks with the approximate date of the card, which gives a clue as to when it was taken.

If I had any doubts about the accuracy of any information given I could always talk to Brian Luxton or consult his books. Over the years the late Iorwerth Prothero and Jack Stevens could always be relied upon to supply me with additional information and descriptions of events that had taken place in our Town, when I showed them any new picture that I had obtained.

Barry library staff have always been very patient when I spent time researching old newspapers there, occasionally stopping later than they should, to enable me to finish my notes.

These articles should not to be taken as historical facts but as a guide to events that happened in the town and have been remembered and occasionally been recorded photographically.

Tom Clemett

March 2002

The right of Tom Clemett to be identified as the author of these works has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act, 1988.

A Load of Bollards!
A look at the disappearing heritage around the docks and the town, with particular emphasis on the disappearing street furniture!

A Trip Down Memory Lane
On the pleasures of growing up in Barry in the 40's and 50's.

A Walk Around Barry
A circular walk taking in the area between the Theatre Royal, via Broad Street, to Old Village Road, returning via High Street.

All the Saints
Detailing the development of the Churches and Faiths in Barry during the late 19th and 20th Centuries, plus a few other related organisations.

The Americans in Barry
The effect of American soldiers stationed at Barry prior to the Normandy landings in 1944.

A Walk Around Barry (Colcot)
A circular walk taking in the Buttrills area, Colcot Road, and White Farm.

A Walk Through Barry Dock - Route 1
A non-circular walk taking in Vere Street and Holton Road.

A Walk Through Barry Dock - Route 2
A non-circular walk taking in Vere Street, Court Road and Crogan Hill.

A Walk Around Barry Island
A non-circular walk from Watchtower Bay via the Parade and Causeway, and then circling the Island.

Barry Island up to the 1950's
The development of Barry Island as a tourist resort up to its heyday after the second world war.

Barry Island since the 1950's
A nostalgic look at Barry Island as a tourist attraction since its heyday after the second world war.

Barry Island Methodist Church
A brief history of the creation of Barry Island Wesleyan Methodist Church, with a footnote on Bethany Baptist Church.

Memories of one of the most popular ballrooms in the county.

The Blizzard of 1947
Recollections of what was probably the worst winter in living memory.

The Building of Barry
A dissertation on the source of the materials that flooded in to build the town.

A Walk Around Cadoxton
Taking in the oldest part of Cadoxton, around St Cadoc's Church,

The growth of Cadoxton in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Some memorable events and carnivals held in Barry between 1889 and 1970.

Corrugated Christians
A history of the Iron Churches that sprang up at the start of the 19th century, many of which are still in existence.

Developments on Sully Moors
Describing the war use of the area, and the development of the chemical industry after the war.

Dick Turpin
Did the notorious highwayman ever visit Barry?

Disappearing Barry - part 1
A look at the heritage of Barry that has been eroded over the years, including businesses, hotels, churches and farms that are no more.

Disappearing Barry - part 2
A further look at the heritage of Barry that has disappeared over the years, particularly the businesses on the north side of the number one dock.

Disappearing Barry - part 3
A look at the heritage of Barry that has been eroded over the years, particularly the businesses around the number two dock, the graving docks, and the dock infrastructure.

Friars Point Guest House
A Brief look at the history of this prominent local landmark.

Gymnastics in Barry
Gymnastic clubs in Barry over the last century.

Barry Voluntary Hospital Service 1914-18
Details of the voluntary hospital services run in the area during the first world war.

Industry in the Cardiff Road Area
Details of Midland Silicones, John Collis and Sidroy Mills, all big employers in Cadoxton since the second world war.

Memorials to Servicemen
Accounts of some of the less well known memorials to servicemen who fell in the wars.

Memories of a Wartime Childhood
Growing up in Barry in the 1940's.

A brief look at the way history is preserved with the aid of pictures.

A look at how the advent of photography affected the population of Barry.

The Plaza
A brief look at the uses of the Plaza Cinema site over the years.

Pubs with Legs
A look at some of the Public Houses, Inns and Hotels which have either moved or disappeared over the years.

Pubs with no Beer
A strong Temperance Movement at the start of the 19th century proved difficult for many would-be hoteliers.

The Savoy
A look at the changing fortunes and uses of the Savoy.

Ships with two names
A look at some of the more memorable visitors to the port of Barry.

Some of the distinctive smells of yesteryear and the memories they evoke.

Street Names
The derivation of most of the street names in Barry.

Barry Amateur Swimming Club
A brief summary of the activities of the club on its 75th anniversary in 2001.

The End of an Era
The changes in employment with the move away from agriculture since the 1940's.

The Knap Pool
A look at the decline in the fortunes of the Knap Lido in the 20th century.

The Knap
A look at the changes at the Knap during the 20th century.

The Memorial Hall
A brief history of the Barry War Memorial Hall.

The Moors
The use and geography of Cadoxton Moors since the time of the Romans.

Thompson Street
A description of one of the more colourful parts of Barry in its heyday.

The Town Hall and Library
A look at the history of the Town Hall and Library on King Square.

A great number of ships have collided, run aground, or been wrecked in the Barry area over the years.

Town Builders and Developers
A look at the many people who contributed to the building and development of Barry over the years.

10th July 2004


That's all of Tom's articles for the moment,
although Tom is going to supply copies of any further articles...
... so keep checking back for updates!

Saint Baruc's Church, Barry Island

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