A WALK THROUGH BARRY DOCK (Click here for a map)
The (non circular) walk starts at Belle Vue Terrace, on the end of which is a cast iron pipe which was one of the first gas lights installed in the town. It was not run off town gas, but off sewer gas, and is aptly known as The Sewer Gas Destructor. It was made by The Sanitary Supply Company of London & Birmingham.
Across the road from the terrace there were steps leading down to the original Wenvoe Arms Inn, which was situated behind the Post Office in Vere Street. Further down the road on the left is Cadoxton House, built for Dr. Treharne by a Mr. Williams.
Mr. Williams also built the Royal Hotel and Jewel Street. On the left is Old Mill Farm, which was shown on some 17th century maps. In the late 19th and early 20th century it was farmed by the Jenkins family, and probably gave a good view of the ground farmed on the Moors, and the old mill which was at the end of Spring Street.
The Admiral Public House was formerly the Wenvoe Arms. This was built for Mr. Thompson, a director of Barry Dock & Railway Company, who transferred the existing licence from the old Wenvoe Arms to evade the strict licensing laws of the period. Turn right past the Admiral and down Vere Street.
At the top of the Northcote Terrace is Shaftesbury House, which was built as accommodation for the staff of the Shaftesbury Temperance Hotel, and in the front of which is a cycle shop. This stood at the junction of Main Street and Vere Street and was used for many years by Radio Relay, who piped radio by cable to most houses in Barry (a forerunner of Cable Television).
Further down Vere Street at the junction of Harvey Street, was the Palace Cinema. It was one of the first cinemas to show talkies in South Wales. Also in Harvey Street was the Navvy Tent Mission which opened in 1901. Across the road where the Dockers Club is established was the Dunraven Rooms, which comprised of a snooker /billiard hall, café /restaurant, and was the former club premises of the Conservative Club.
Behind the club is EOS House, which was the Cadoxton Hotel, one of the many premises built that failed to get a licence to serve alcohol. The builders mistakenly thought that the road (and not the railway) was to be built in the front of the premises. It had one of the most impressive entrance porches of any building in Barry, but unfortunately it has since been partially bricked up.
Down the street are two more hotels that failed to obtain licences, the Osborne Hotel (now the Conservative Club), and the Queens Hotel, which became the South Wales Bible College, and is now flats.
You now need to cross Gladstone Road and Holton Road (or cross under the tunnel) to the bottom of Hillary Rise. On the left is the Luchana Mission, named by a minister and his wife after a town in Spain where they carried out missionary work for many years. On the opposite side of the road is the old Cadoxton Police Station, built in 1892 and now being converted into a mosque.
Walking up Weston Hill, on the right is Courtenay Road. On the building of Gladstone Road a number of houses in this road were demolished.
Further up the hill where Western Court stands was the Weston Hill Congregational Church. On its closure as a church it was used by the Barry Amateur Boxing Club for a number of years, and produced many champions, both amateur and professional.
Moving further up the hill on the right is Milward Road leading to the rectory.
At the top of the hill at the junction of Everard Street is the headquarters of the 5th Barry (Holton Road Baptist) Sea Scouts, who are housed in one of the few remaining tin churches left in Barry. This building was the original tin church that was erected at Harbour Road for Bethel Baptists. When the congregation grew too large for the building, it was taken down and moved to its present site, and a new church built.
Holton Road was built in many stages, the dates at the top of the buildings ranging from 1891-1900. There are many varied styles, from 2 storey to 3 storey houses and shops. The most ornate style is on the corner of Lower Pyke Street.
Across Holton Road is the former school board offices, now part of Holton Road School, which was opened in 1892 (and not 1891 which is on the date plaque). It cost £1400 and was said to be the finest school premises in the county.
Across the road, at the junction with Court Road, where the multi-storey car park is located were once the Barry Police Station, Magistrates Court, and cells. These were demolished in 1978. Next door on Court Road is the old fire station with its lookout tower, a prominent landmark that can be seen in most of Barry. The Boxing Club used it for a number of years.
At the other end of the block on the left hand side of Holton Road, is the Amy Evans Hospital. This is another building which failed to obtain a licence (as The Barry Dock Hotel), and was opened as a hospital by the former matron of Barry Hospital (which at that time was in Kingsland Crescent). She thought that medical treatment for the poor and needy should be free, she was the forerunner of the National Health Service. In the garden at the back of the hospital is a small memorial stone set in the wall to her pet dog.
A number of impressive buildings are on the other side of Holton Road, and this was once known as "Doctor's Row". The "Towers" was Dr. Livingstone's residence, and Watson Street, Cora Street and Evelyn Street are named after his wife. Other doctors were Dr. O'Donnell, Drs. Powell and Kent, with Mr. Cannell, a Dental Surgeon, practising from number 157.
The next building of importance in Holton Road is St. Mary's Church, which ran out of funds, was never finished, and still lacks among other things, a tower. Opposite is the Windsor Hotel, which opened in 1896 and could once boast an ornate cast iron canopy outside its front entrance.
On the right hand side of Holton Road is a modern development, on the opposite side above the premises are dates from when the buildings were finished varying from 1890 to 1896. The dates do not run in sequence, but leap from building to building.
Crossing Llantwit Street, Lloyd's Bank and Peacocks now occupy the site of the former Holton Road Methodist Church. The congregation joined with Court Road Methodists upon its demolition to form Crossways Methodist Church. During the war years the basement was used as a British Restaurant, and was well patronised.
The next building of any size is the Tabernacl Welsh Congregational Church, built in 1894. The decorated windows in it have their counterpart further down the road in Holton Buildings (now the Pound shop).
The Town Hall opposite was opened in 1908, two years after the library. The Square itself has had many names. It was once known as Town Hall Square, was then given the name of King Edward Square by the Council to mark his death, but after the proclamation celebrations for the crowning of King George V in 1910, it became known as King Square.
The new shops at the bottom of Tynewydd Road were called Central Buildings and had a large bathstone tablet set in the wall with its name on it. The impressive buildings which house both the Halifax Building Society and Ferrari's were once partially occupied by Harry Press, one of the most well known fishmongers and game and poultry dealers in the Vale. Both he and his sister (Marie Press) were accomplished artists.
A great number of buildings have been altered and look out of place, and the former Howell's Chemist (now Stardust) is the last building in the road to be preserved in its original style. Further down, the old newsagents (now Greggs), with the post box outside, must be one of the ugliest buildings in the town after alterations were made to its front.
Across the road was the studio of Charles Farmer. He moved from 19 Dock View Road to 68 Holton Road, upon his release from the Royal Flying Corps in 1919. He had served as a photographer in the 1st World War. Mr. Farmer was still producing postcards of events taking place in the area until the outbreak of the 2nd world war. He then concentrated his talents into portrait photography, in which he excelled, and few families had not had a member of their family photographed by him. On his semi-retirement, Ken Riddle took over the studio, with Mr. Farmer still putting in an appearance. This block of shops has since been demolished and is now a temporary car park.
On the corner of Thompson Street was Professor Lloyd's Shooting Gallery, later to become the Old Penny Bazaar. On the other side of the road was Tibbett's, one of the old style provision shops which, until its closure, was still a pleasure to shop in. It was like stepping back 50 years in time!
Holton Road from Thompson Street to Greenwood Street once had a cobbled surface, but after years of protest by motorists, the cobbles were finally taken up and tarmac laid, only for that to be taken up and small blocks similar to the original surface put down. That's progress!
A small cobbled surface similar to that in Holton Road can still be seen in the lane behind the Ex-Servicemen's Club in Thompson Street. The building at the end of the small car park is the old Barry Brass Foundry; its speciality was brass fenders and candlesticks.
Returning to Holton Road, Cash Generators has in the top of the building the name Thomas's Buildings. The next name along at the same height is Lewis Place, and although at one time the name Sydenham Buildings could be seen, this has since disappeared.
On the end of the block opposite (where the job centre is), once stood the Tivoli Cinema. Further along was the Citadel, the former H.Q. of the Salvation Army in Barry, which before its conversion was a skating rink.
The civic offices and leisure centre stand on the site of the old gas and water works.
Ellis Fisher Court was opened in 1990, by the then Secretary of State for Wales, Mr. David Hunt. Prior to this it had been the location of Paul's Builders Merchants, one of the largest suppliers of building materials in the Principality. Before this it was once the site of the Barry Brewery. Its oast house became the cement stores for Paul's.
Holton Farm stood on the other side of the road.
At the roundabout stood an ornate cast iron horse trough together with a three armed lamp standard. A similar one was situated at the junction of Court Road and Gladstone Road, and both were donated to the town by Dr. George Neale. The first was moved to the entrance of the Memorial Hall car park and has since disappeared.
The Theatre Royal opened in 1910 with seating for over 2000, and had a roof garden over the shops on the side of the building.
Opposite is the old Territorial Army Drill Hall, known as the "Bomb & Dagger". On its closure it was used by the Glamorgan College of Education as a Music & Drama studio. It was sold on the demise of the College, and is now Tynewydd Funeral Home.
This ends your walk.
© T. CLEMETT 2001