IF I said to you it was one of the largest exporters of coal in the UK, or the home of Samuel Brain while he was building his Brains Brewery empire, where do you think I’d be talking about?

Penarth of course!

Not many people know the rich history of the town, which became hugely wealthy out of the abundant dock trade of the Victorian Ages – but this could all change.

There are plans afoot for a heritage trail to be set up in Penarth and blue plaques put on buildings to remind locals and visitors about the rich history of the town.

Treasure and trustee of Penarth Civic Society, Dave Noble, the one tasked with leading the project, said the idea came about from a conversation with his daughter.

Mr Noble explained: “The scheme started after a conversation I had with my daughter about Penarth Docks and she said where is Penarth Docks and I realised people were growing up in Penarth without knowing a lot about the town.”

The project has been worked on for a year now, with plans including 24 information boards put up around the town, four boards specific on the history of Penarth, and blue plaques on famous buildings.

Penarth Times:

Information boards will help explain Penarth's history

Mr Noble also wants Penarth’s heritage trail to focus on the little people as well as the rich and historically famous. People like Annie Davies (1877-1892) who came to Penarth from Gloucester to work as a housemaid before her employer accused her of stealing and gave her a month’s notice.

There is apparently a lot of support for the project, including from Vale of Glamorgan tourism board.

Mr Noble added: “It’s not just local people who will benefit from this. No one has an idea that Penarth was one of the biggest coal exporters in the country. We want to include everyone, trying to bring a bit of social history into it.”

Penarth Times:

Some of that social history can be quite dark. Annie’s story ended in tragedy. Distraught after being accused of stealing, she ran out of the house in tears, turned right into Windsor Road and then right again into Windsor Place. At the time there was a level crossing over the railway line, and as she ran across it she was struck by 18.17 train from Penarth to Cardiff, dying on  the spot, just 14 years of age.