First published in Town guides

With a population 46,810, Barry is the principal town of the Vale of Glamorgan.

Just over 100 years ago there were only three small communities and a few farms in the parishes of Barry, Merthyr Dyfan and Cadoxton.

This sleepy backwater was soon to be transformed by coal. The growth of the town was almost entirely due to the building of David Davies's dock in 1889. Enlarged in 1898, it became world famous for the export of 'black gold'.

In 1881 the population of Barry was 85 while Cadoxton had 403 inhabitants. It's population exploded to more than 40,000 by the 1920's, and remained around the same for the remainder of the century.

By 1914 Barry was handling more coal than Cardiff. In 1913 a total of 25,300,000 tons was shipped from the ports of Barry, Cardiff and Penarth, with Barry alone handling 11,050,000 tons.

The decline of the coal industry from the 1950's left the town in need of new industry and regeneration. In recent years this has been gathering pace. Now much of the former docks is being redeveloped and the town has a bright future.


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