A WALK AROUND BARRY (Colcot) (Click here for a map)
The walk starts at the Tynewydd Inn, built by Mr. J. Thomas who farmed at Barry Island in the early 1800's. He was known throughout the area for the way he crossed from the Island to the mainland. His horse was quite a good swimmer, and when the tide was in he would be drawn across by holding onto the horses tail. He moved to Tynewydd House in the mid 1800's. Tynewydd Road was named after the house.
Up to Barry Road, on the right hand side at the top is C.J. Ball Monumental Sculptor's yard, and at one time statues of angels, cherubs and other similar designs were always on display in the yard. Since standardisation and the lawning of cemeteries, these have been phased out and only plain memorials are now permitted in the cemetery.
On the other side of Barry Road on the junction with Cemetery Approach, is one of the few remaining wartime air raid shelters left in Barry. Behind the shelter is a tin tabernacle, one of the very few left in Barry, which is now in a dilapidated state. At the end of the path are the former council nurseries, but these, like many Council assets, were closed to save money - at what cost to the parks and roundabouts in the town and Vale! The nursery was a most cost-effective supplier of nearly all the bedding plants required for them.
Back onto Barry Road, and on the opposite side about 100 yards along to the West is "The Beeches". Built in 1900, it is one of the few houses in this part of Barry Road marked with the date of its construction.
Nearby is a house named "Dalhousie". At one time it was the booking office for a taxi company, and although it was a very good taxi company, because of its name was known by all as "Da-Lousy Taxi Service".
Just up from there is Neale Street, named after Dr. George Neale, the surgeon in the small hospital operated by T.A. Walker during the construction of the first dock. Walk down Neale Street to Pardoe Crescent, and turn right to the junction of Pardoe Crescent and Walker Road. Nearby is Kent Green, named after Dr. Kent, another doctor that was prominent in the early part of the 20th century.
An army camp first used by the Pioneer Corps in the 2nd World War, and later by General Anders' Polish Brigade (commanded by Major Bogdanik) was situated here. At the end of the war, the camp was taken over by squatters, despite efforts by the local authorities and police to stop them. Barriers were erected at the Buttrills Road end, and in the lane from Tynewydd Road. Local police manned both. A former tenant of the camp said that when they heard that there was a five to seven year waiting list for council houses, her husband, an ex-serviceman, decided to move into the camp. He approached one of the police manning the barrier and asked if he could pass, whereupon the officer said that he was sorry, but his orders were to let no one through the barrier. He then added that there was nothing to stop him carrying his furniture and other belongings across the fields between Somerset Road and Barry Road to the camp, but that he could not allow him to pass the barrier.
Turn right along Walker Road to Buttrills Road.
Butt-Lee Court is built on the site of Buttrills Farm and House, and was the home of the Rev. Sims, a great friend of the leader of the anti-slavery campaign, William Wilberforce (Wilberforce Hall on Crogan Hill is named after him). It was sold in 1869 to John Treharne, who also owned Friars Point House and built the pier on Barry Island. Mr. Treharne finished building Buttrills House in 1871 and later sold both the Farm and House to the American Consul in Cardiff, Col. Harry Davies.
The Spar shop at the top of Buttrills Road was in the 40's known as "Biddy's", after its owner Mr. Stibbs, and was the unofficial tuck shop for pupils at Barry County School opposite.
The county school when built in 1896 was a single storey building catering for the education needs of both girls and boys. In 1913 the girls moved further down Buttrills Road to their own school. On the opening of the Boys Comprehensive School it was taken over by the Training College. Local government re-organisation meant that the days of Barry Training College were numbered. The College was closed and the College grounds and the old School were sold. It is now the Old College Inn.
Crossing Barry Road takes you into the Buttrills Estate. During the 1st World War a hutted camp was built here as a barracks for soldiers en-route to the front. It was later used as a hospital, and at the end of the war, became the Prince of Wales Convalescent Home for war veterans and was run by the Ministry of Pensions. In the 1920's two huts were used as a mission church by Methodists who wished to establish a church at the Colcot. Most of the huts were demolished in the late 1930's.
Prior to the outbreak of the 2nd World War, huts were again built there for the army, together with a large static water tank. In the late 20's a number of huts were badly damaged by fire at the old camp, as the water pressure was so low in the area that firefighting efforts were badly hampered. On the corner of the camp was a small shack, "Arthurs", that sold newspapers, sweets and half-penny Woodbines that were always in demand by pupils at the County School.
At the end of the war these huts, along with those in Pardoe Crescent, were taken over by families tired of waiting for Council housing and they became known as the Buttrills Squatters Camp. They were occupied for many years, before finally being demolished after residents were re-housed elsewhere in the Town. This allowed the erection of pre-fabs on the site.
Carry on along South Walk, left into West Walk and out onto Barry Road. Nearby is Williams Stores, built near the site of Holton. On the opposite side of the road was Martin's small shop.
Further along Colcot Road were a number of nurseries and market gardens - Shewrings, Woodhams, and Wests. The first two were sold for housing, but West's is still in operation and is still run by a member of the West family, Hilary.
Two houses were owned by the Training College in Colcot Road - Neuadd Eurgain and Neuadd Essyllt. Both were used as residential accommodation for students of the college, and both are now residential homes for the elderly.
The new Barry Hospital is built on the site of the old infectious disease hospital built in 1898, later to be named after Drs. Neale and Kent. Along from the hospital is one of the unknown parks of the town*, ask anyone its name and the reply is always the same - "What Park? There's not one there!". This little park once held a small fishpond, and was an oasis for visitors to the nearby hospital, as they could rest while either waiting for transport or before making their way back home.
At the top of the road opposite the entrance to Winston Road is the Barry Sports Centre. Before the construction of Colcot Road, a large pond was situated near the Centre. This pond was the source of the Coldbrook River. For many years local councillor Tom Yeoman fought to obtain a centralised playing fields complex with changing rooms for officials and members of local schools and local league football teams. He succeeded in his efforts, and in 1963 it was opened by HRH Prince Philip.
In August 1920 Mr. Vanden Burgh who owned two 1st World War aircraft rented the fields behind the Colcot Arms, and used them as an airstrip for pleasure trips. Flights over Penarth and the Bristol Channel cost 1 guinea, with transport from the beach at Barry Island costing 1/- extra. In the following years, Cobham's arrived at the Colcot and used the same fields for their flights. The sound of aircraft taking off and landing after displays of aerobatics, pleasure flights over Barry, and sometimes across the Channel to Locking Airfield in Weston-super-Mare, were a common occurrence. One of the reasons that fields at the Colcot were selected for use was that after take-off, the ground sloped away, allowing aircraft to keep at the same height as it passed over the Town and beach without the pilot having to use too much fuel in climbing. I have spoken to a number of Barry people who flew in one of these aircraft when they were children, and some said that they were sat in the rear cockpit on their parent's laps. Trips cost from half-a-crown, five shillings, or ten shillings each, and lasted between 15 to 30 minutes depending on what time you arrived at the airfield. The aircraft used were mainly Avro 405K's from the 1st World War, and were housed in farm outbuildings.
Nearby is St. David's Methodist Church, which began in the 1920's in two huts in the Buttrills. In 1940 land was bought from the Wenvoe Estate and services were held in a large marquee until a wooden building was bought to replace it. Members of the congregation obtained the seating for the Church from Cogan Church when it closed in the 50's. The wooden building, after giving good service, was removed on the opening of St. David's in 1966.
Whitewell Road was named after the local well "Ffynnon Wen", and was the main road leading to Merthyr Dyfan Church. At one time a small quarry was situated near the junction with Colcot Road. Stone was extracted to build the various cottages in the area, and to burn in a nearby lime kiln, to produce lime to spread on the nearby fields. Cottages in the vicinity were Colcot Fach, Colcot Fawr, Colcot Ganol and Colcot Uchaf (which had its own Brew House and was probably the original Colcot Arms). There were two other wells in the near vicinity, Ffynnon Mynwent and Ffynnon John Lewis. Walking down Whitewell Road near the junction leading to the Church takes you to White Farm, and up the lane past Merthyr Dyfan Church and Ty Ddu Farm, Cemetery Lane leads back to Barry Road.
In the fields on the right near the allotments, "Tappy the Midnight Coalman" kept his horse, and children using the lane would sometimes bring titbits for it to eat. The horse (which had a light coloured head), when it heard footsteps going up or down the lane, especially in the evening, would poke its head through the hedge looking for food, and either snort or neigh, frightening passers-by. If they were not from the area and used to the horse, they must have thought that "Old Nick" was after them, and would sometimes show a clean pair of heels as they disappeared up or down the lane. At the top of the lane is the entrance to the Cemetery with its Memorial Chapel.
Back along Cemetery Approach to the top of Tynewydd Road and back to the Tynewydd Inn for refreshments!
© T .CLEMETT 2002
* The small park is named Coronation Gardens.