PENARTH owes its growth to the world wide demand for Welsh coal in the latter part of the 19th century.

In 1851 the population of the Parish of Penarth was 105 people living in 24 houses. In 1855 the total population of the three parishes which were to form the town - Penarth, Llandough and Cogan - was just 400 people.

Penarth Dock was opened on Saturday, June 10, 1865 and an extension was completed by 1884, when the 14 coal tips handled more than 3,000,000 tons a year.

Homes were needed for the dock workers and the town grew rapidly. Its prosperity led to the construction of the Esplanade during 1883-84 and the Pier was built in 1894. The dock was at its peak in the second decade of the 20th century and in 1912 handled coal and coke exports totalling 4,179,506 tons.

In 1871 the population was 3,104 and by 1881 it was 6,228. In the next decade the number of inhabitants doubled to 12,424 - fuelled by the arrival of the railway in 1878. Over the next 40 years there was only natural growth. In 1931 the population was 17,710, but the Depression saw a decline to 16,080 in 1938.

Today Llandough is a community in its own right, with its own Community Council, while Penarth is the second largest town in the Vale of Glamorgan with a population of 20,930.

Old records give four spellings for the town's name - Penarth, Pennard, Pennarth and Penarthe. The original meaning is not known although the popular version is "Bear's Head".