View Full Version : The chain Locker: Barry Dock

Keith at Tregenna
12th April 2009, 04:26 AM
Although a Barrian and from an Merchant Navy family background was to young to have been in the know, I wonder as to our Thompson Street area, reputed to be as famous / infamous as "Tiger Bay" I remember as a kid siitting on the steps of the Barry Dock Hotel on Dock View Road, my dad not long finished work and having a pint with uncles and mates. But, that in my time was the corner bar and the real Chain Locker on the side was closed down or near to closing:

I know the stories heard the tales, but alas was not there. Wondered if anyone remembered the actual Chain Locker, apparently famous and renowned in MN circles and more around the world. Stories of the Docks Ladies of ill repute, that would skint a sailor in port, but give some back before departure in faiirness, a tart with a heart or early marketing and guaranteed repeat business.

The seats in the local club, still in my youth housed a library for seamen, lift the lid- take a book or so for your voyage, leave one or two in return, as kids we were amazed at the ways of the sailors. South Walien born and bred me, But from the docks, no sing song Welsh accent llike from the valleys, If ever, I had to admit to an orientation of dialect: not Welsh - but Irish.

The Irish built the Town and Docks at Barry and to qoute a former Kinsale Mayor, Tomas O Brien : "Many a young Kinsale man left to go to Barry, which to them was the gateway to the world. For some it was the first time they had left their native town, and their families survived on the money they sent home. "Some settled in Barry and have families there today. Many others died in the wars while serving in both the Royal and Merchant Navies."

Even now as I grow older am asked by the NHS, If there is anything in the family that could prove to be adverse historicaly and family related to my health. Well the male lineage lost to to U. Boats, does that count. Anyone else remember Barry Docks and the old Chain Locker - I commenced with and should finish, but how can one end without a mention of true "TIGER BAY"

The movie ? with Hayley Mills, the opening scenes with the Old Transporter Bridge, it is still and always was in Newport and Shirley Bassey from "SPLOTT" Well it does'nt look the same in lights in Vegas. Splott as opposed to Tiger Bay. So much forgotten or missed and just unknown, but in the blood and loved much, wherever I may roam, hope to end up in Barry Dock or the waterfront as they now call it. A different place to when I was young, now't left you would remember.

Not one coal tipping crane or dock side train, no line or track to run on. few ships in port or local support that is the climate we live in. Remember the Chain Locker ? Would love to here more or even of the Blue Cafe, take your saucepans and lids, one for curry, one for rice, a pot for chips etc, No Maccie D's then, just an early Welsh form of take-away. We'll be delivering milk and newspapers to the door next...........

Nos DA K.

Doc Vernon
12th April 2009, 05:18 AM
Your walk down memory lane is surely one of great interest,and as i read it you would have many fond memories of those places and times!
I dont know much at al about the places that you mention,but it does bring to mind some very good ones too of my early days,on and around the Waterfront of Cape Town.
But that is another place and another time and i dont want to stray from your memories,so here is a nice site that i am sure will take you back to those years that you so much loved and lived!
Just one thing is that Shirley Bassey was and is still one of my greatest Female Singers! That Lady from Tiger Bay!
Hope you enjoy!
All the best

Just attaching 2 Pics that are on mention here!
But there are many many more to look at on this lovely site!


Geoff Anderson
12th April 2009, 07:54 AM
Hi All.
Sorry Vernon, but your welsh lass was born in SPLOTT and not in the dock area known as TIGER BAY.As Kieth said Splott hasnt got the same ring as TIGER BAY. The place dosnt even sound romantic.
As for Thompson st i remember that halfway down the hill was a fishing tackle shop. Where as a kid 1950s early 60s my dad would go there to buy rag worm for bait, on his way to Fontygary. There to fish off the cliffs at the caravan site ,where my praents had a caravan . the old man had an ariel sq four motorbike and sidecar, and if i was good he would let me ride on the pilion seat, But only if i carried the rag worm in the front of my jacket to keep them warm and fresh. yuck.
Ive sailed out of Barry several times and even loaded coal for Hale in Cornwall. As a galley boy on the pilot boat Queen mother. I would often walk around the docks looking at all the ships and wonder where they were from and where were they bound. Also look at the dry dock known as Baileys and marvel at the size of the ships. Ho the memories.
geoff :)

Louis the Amigo
12th April 2009, 11:51 AM
Hi Keith at tregenna, sailed from barry a few times, and worked in Bailys dry dock, That area lost many sons in the Merchant navy {wartime} Cadoxton was the worst effected , had a pint or two in the locker and a few others' and the dockers club.:)

Keith at Tregenna
18th April 2009, 09:55 PM

Recognition for tribute to Barry Merchant Seamen

A UNIQUE tribute commemorating the Barry Merchant Seamen who died during World War Two has been recognised as a memorial in its own right.

The Imperial War Museum, in London, has officially registered the Barry Merchant Navy Roll of Honour in the UK National Inventory of War Memorials, following efforts by Wyndham Street resident George Hortop to get his late brother Fred¹s painstaking research recognised.

Royal Navy veteran Fred, a former carpenter who died in 2007, spent more than five years compiling the 361- name roll of honour in memory of those who perished during the 73 months of war at sea.

To qualify as a memorial, the research needed to be displayed as a Book of Remembrance.

Copies of the roll are held at the Memorial Hall Barry,the Vale of Glamorgan Civic and Town council offices and Barry library, as well as at the General Register and Record Office of Shipping and Seamen in Cardiff.

Fred Hortop, speaking to the Barry & District News in 1993, said: "This is my tribute to the men who died at sea in the Merchant Service, and particularly those who were called upon to bear the brunt of the Battle of the Atlantic.

"I spent my war as a depth charge operator helping to sink U-boats, while my brothers' ships were being sunk in what was the longest and most vital battle of the Second World War."

George said: "I approached the Imperial War Museum in 2006.

"I'd like to thank Barry Town Council for making the leather-bound Remembrance Book, which is now in the Memorial Hall, and I'd like to thank Gareth Howe for his help with that issue."


http://www.barryanddistrictnews.co.uk/news/4253809.Recognition_for_tribute_to_Barry_Merchant_ Seamen/

Louis the Amigo
19th April 2009, 05:47 PM
Hi Keith at Tregenna,Very good news ,I asked Bill Barratt ,a well know local Cardiff and area historian, wrote in Cardiff post and headmaster of a school for many years , about Caxdoton and Barry lost of life at sea , some years ago, but bill crossed the bar. I was at his funeral, Its wonderful, that a proper memorial has happen massive thanks, are due to all the hard working people ,that done the hard work needed to make this happen.:)

Keith at Tregenna
6th May 2009, 10:26 PM
Barry Sailors’ Rest

Barry Docks was built as a rival to Cardiff to export coal from the Welsh coalmines. But as the coal industry declined, so did the docks and, as the docks declined, the need for a Rest declined. In the 1950’s, the Sailors’ Rest was still fairly active but the decline had already started.

I and many more knew the building as the former Seaman’s Mission and although the building remained near the top of: Thompson Street in Barry until a few years ago, it was better known to us, as The Ex-Serviceman’s Club. Although, even that Old Lady has seen her demise and the building as many others of major Maritime Importance in the town are no more.

Anywhere else would have listed the building and retained at least the façade. But along with the World famous “Chain Locker” renowned throughout the Merchant Globe by almost every Seaman of the day and a few that remain with memories of the times. She remains no more.

Even Alexander Cordell, author of “Rape of the Fair Country” recorded forever the “Chain Locker” in his historic fiction: "Rogues March". Most of Barry’s Maritime past is lost forever and until I chanced upon a web page: Barry Sailors’ Rest, thought this had also been forgot and lost forever.

Please see a link below to the full pages, I have only used sufficient information to advertise this historic tribute to a building and those that used it and managed it, or just remember etc. If by chance the link does not function, will all interested parties please Google or ISP search Barry Sailors Rest

It is sad that what would have made a perfect site for a “Barry / Wales Maritime Museum” is along with most that has been pulled down or destroyed and lost forever, a car park now. Barry has not kept one Coal Tip or portside crane and all evidence of the Tiger Bay’ish area of Thompson Street and Dock View Road etc have been surgically removed. A shame really, that a towns history has been virtually wiped out, remembered only by the like of Tom Clemetts in a virtual world.


Even Cardiff’s Bute Town Community attempt to recall and remember the likes of the old “Tiger Bay” and no one that has heard of Dame Shirley Bassey, who grew up in a working-class Cardiff dockside district and Tiger Bay would expect less. As the youngest of seven children, i am certain she would remember these great days / times that forged communities if not a country. Barry Remembers ? Every attempt in my home town seems to have been made to hide it's past. Shame.........................

Barry Sailors Rest http://www.pwsts.org.uk/Barry1891-1951/index.htm

Did you know the Barry Sailors’ Rest ?


Louis the Amigo
7th May 2009, 11:20 AM
Hi Keith at Tregenna, Is that the seamens mission that Norman Wisdom and his brother stay at when he was homeless and skint? Not far from the Cons club knock down a few years ago. all the old steam engines' Trains, were scraped at Barry The places had loads of jobs then ? but have all gone The geest ships, the grain ships, fruit boats. Many of the business have long gone.Barry dock is a up market area to live now? but the town is still in need of money to bring it up to date. Many new people from Russian and eastern Europe are not intrested in our merchant navy history. but in new houses' and jobs ,thats the reason not much left. all the older people who had very bad times and great lost in the war years have moved on or past away not much is left of the old Barry.

Keith at Tregenna
7th May 2009, 11:43 PM
Not certain of the Barry Sailors Rest connection but would be interested to know more, Norman in his own words did not have an easy earlier life - "Away from the glitter, he said, the best times of his life were when he signed on as a cabin boy on a cargo ship taking coals from Cardiff to Argentina. "I was 14, and I'd walked to Wales all the way from London. It took me three weeks, I slept in haystacks along the way, my shoes were hanging off me and the soles of my feet were raw and bleeding.

It was 183 miles. I've never forgotten the distance. It's engraved on my memory, my heart and my feet. I was looking for something different. A bit of a life, perhaps. They felt sorry for me in the docks, and got me the cabin boy's job. I enjoyed every minute of it, and when I got to Argentina the rest of the crew encouraged me to become a street fighter."

"If I could last one round against the local hero, I'd get about a pound. Two rounds meant £2. At the end of three, which was the limit, I'd get the equivalent of a fiver. I did quite well, considering I'd never even raised my fists before. Not that I saw the cash - my mates would grab it and head straight for the bars."

When his ship came back from Argentina, Norman joined the Army. So it seems unlikely that he knew Barry well at that stage as this suggests only one voyage. He had certainly experienced much hardship: prior to this, his mother had gone to live with another man when Norman was nine, leaving him and his brother Fred with their father, who was drunk and violent and soon abandoned them. The brothers found themselves homeless and Norman used to sleep rough behind a statue near Victoria Station. He kept body and soul together by scrounging cups of Bovril and meat pies from a man who ran a late-night stall.

After a period in a children's home in Deal, Kent, Wisdom ran away when he was 11, but returned to become an errand boy with a grocery store on leaving school at 13. After this he walked (by his own account) to Cardiff, sleeping in fields and ditches. where he became a cabinboy in the Merchant Navy. He also worked as a coal-miner, waiter, and pageboy. He then enlisted as a drummer boy in the 10th Royal Hussars of the British Army and in 1930 was posted to Lucknow, India as a bandsman.

Keith at Tregenna
8th May 2009, 12:08 AM
RE: Is that the seamens mission that Norman Wisdom and his brother stay at when he was homeless and skint? The above suggest that he was homeless and skint when younger but more in the London area. Again would love to hear / know more.

The Sailors Rest / Seamans Mission was on what we call the top of Thompson Street, opposite the Lib's / Liberal Club one side and the Infamous Blue Cafe the other. The Rest was in my time more well known as thr EX'S or EX-SERVICEMANS CLUB, a car park now. The Con's (Conservative) Club has and is still in the Cadoxton part of town. I think you may mean the "Corrie (Coromation) Club" closed and knocked down a few years ago. This was on Lower Thompson Street - the opposite end to the Rest.

One famous ex-Barrian whom I am certain was not born in town but lived a few doors away from the Rest was The Hollywood star and comic legend Bob Hope, he had strong family ties to Barry.

Showbiz was in Bob Hope's genes through his mother Avis, a concert singer from Barry. She married stonemason William Hope in April 1891 and the couple set up home at 12 Greenwood Street in the town.

They later moved to Eltham, south east London, where the child they christened Leslie was born in May 1903.
When he was three the family moved to Bristol as his father searched for work.

They emigrated to the USA a year later where Bob's uncles had settled and prospered in Cleveland, Ohio.

The comedian never forgot his Welsh roots, briefly visiting an air base at Sully during the war to entertain the troops. Hope later returned to Barry in October 1984 to unveil a plaque outside his parents' former home in the town. He died in July 2003 at the grand old age of 100.

12 Greenwood Street is doors away from the old Mission / Rest.


happy daze john in oz
8th May 2009, 05:19 AM
Keith, that is interesting about Bob Hope. A cousin of my mother lived in the house next door in Eltham South London where the Hopes lived. Of more interest is the blue plaque on the house which tells the world that Bob Hope was born here?????

Louis the Amigo
8th May 2009, 07:09 AM
Hi Keith at Tregenna, You know barry very well? with people like you The brave maritime history of this wonderful seaside town and its famous son and daughters will allways be remember,Norman Wisdom had a very hard life, and a sad ending in an old people home { DID you see this on T.V.}? Bob Hope father help build Barry docks with thousands of other, many people from Barry when to the states to find work? Same probelm today.I worked in Barry a few years back on the dry dock for K& b anti pollution on the ships in tanks, engine rooms and on railways and tank farms , around South Wales. I had a business in Holton road years later Did you know Chippy Heath, sailed as carpenter from barry he was on the spitfires {repairs }ex R.A.F. good football player, played for barry town?:)

Keith at Tregenna
8th May 2009, 08:40 PM
For: happy daze john in oz

Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG

The fifth of seven sons, he was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, England on May 29, 1903. His English father, William Henry Hope, was a stonemason -- his Welsh mother, Avis Townes Hope, an aspiring concert singer.

In 1907, Leslie's father took the family to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1920, by virtue of his father's naturalization, 'Bob' -- the name by which the world would later know him -- and his brothers became US citizens. (Bob joked, "I left England at the age of four when I found out I couldn't be king.") Throughout his career, he was honored for his humanitarian work.

Bob Hope: Lifelong bond with his birthplace in Eltham

If anybody claims to remember Bob Hope from the time he lived in Eltham, then they are almost certainly lying. States Paul Peachey, Tuesday, 29 July 2003: THE INDEPENDANT.

The entertainer left aged four with his family for the United States but the bond of affection he felt until his death for this often maligned corner of south-east London is still keenly felt. A plaque is attached to the wall of the three-bedroom terrace house where he was born in Craigton Road in 1903. It now lies empty after its recent sale for £195,000. "Buy yourself a piece of history," the estate agent's blurb about the house had urged.

It is less than a mile away in a small drab playhouse where he is most fondly remembered. In response to a call for help, he rescued the Eltham Little Theatre from closure. When its church landlords raised the rent, he raised £58,000 through a series of charity golf games.

It was renamed the Bob Hope Theatre in 1982 and he has made several trips to Eltham. Two certificates hang in the bar of the theatre bearing his name and that of the former US president Gerald Ford, proclaiming them honorary co-presidents of the place.

A bust of Bob Hope created by a blind sculptor has pride of place alongside many other pieces of memorabilia. Such are his good works here that he even eclipses Frankie Howerd as Eltham's most famous son.
The first bouquet - from the local newspaper - appeared yesterday on the doorsteps of the theatre. "Thanks for the memories," it said.

David Smith, chairman of the theatre during the 1980s when it was saved by the comic, said that Eltham had a lot to thank him for. "He was the salvation of the theatre. We have a permanent home for live entertainment in Eltham, which we wouldn't have had had it not been for his generosity.

"He has always taken a keen interest particularly in the youth group here. He was an exceptional personality and is the best thing that has ever happened in this theatre's history."

Jim Shepherd, honorary secretary, last saw him in 2000 when he was frail, but Hope still had his sense of humour. "He was a very warm person, very down to earth and not Hollywood at all. If fans wanted an autograph all they had to do was approach him in the street, or just write to him and he would always oblige."

The plaque in Greenwood Street, Barry Dock, South Wales a few doors away from the Sailors Rest acknowledges that he lived there. (Obviously only until the age of four) “Will be in my home town next week and will attempt to find time to take a photo”. K.

Keith at Tregenna
8th May 2009, 08:50 PM
For: Louis the Amigo.


Norman Wisdom OBE was born in the Marylebone district of London. His parents were Frederick, a chauffeur, and Maud Wisdom (née Targett), a dressmaker who often worked for West End theatres. The couple married in Marylebone in 1912.[2] Norman Wisdom's elder brother, Fred, was born in 1913. The family resided at 91 Fernhead Road, London W9, where they slept in one room.[3]Norman later lived for 27 years in a house in Andreas named Ballylough (Manx for "House of Laughs"). Andreas is a parish in the Sheading of Ayre lying in the north of the Isle of Man. It is one of three parishes along with Bride and Lezayre in the sheading of Ayre.

Ballylough: Reminds me of Belly Laugh - apt for a comedian K.

happy daze john in oz
9th May 2009, 06:44 AM
Keith, thanks for that bit of info. It confirms what I was told as a young lad living only a couple of miles from there. I remember the Eltham Little Theatre as my mothers cousins husband used to do work for them. My mothers cousin later went to live in U.S.A. and my brother bought her house some years later. He sold up 5 years ago to come here to live. Small world.

Keith at Tregenna
6th June 2009, 06:56 PM
THIS September sees the 70th anniversary of the start of the Second World War, that enormous conflict which claimed the lives of 370,000 Britons.

Events will be held the length and breadth of the United Kingdom and Barry will play its part in commemorating the sacrifice made, and the service given, by its men and women all those years ago.

To remember the role that the Barry people and the surrounding areas played in the defeat of Germany and Japan, local military historian Dr. Jonathan Hicks will be staging a two week long exhibition at Arts Central at Barry Library.

Dr. Hicks says “On display in Arts Central will be material I have collected over the past few years on the role that Barrians played in the Second World War. I have interviewed military, naval and air force veterans, civilians who experienced the bombing of Barry and have spoken with Merchant Seamen sunk by German U-Boats”.

“As a result, I have numerous photographs and written accounts which will form the basis of a thought- provoking display that will be of great interest to the people of Barry”.

“Thousands of local people attended the two large scale exhibitions at the Barry Memorial Hall in 2007 and 2008, on the role Barry played in the two World Wars of the last century. Both were extremely successful and raised funds for the upkeep of Barry’s Roll of Honour”.

“The display at Arts Central will allow me to display the whole range of information I have collected, and for a longer period than just a one day exhibition”.

“Barry , as we are all aware, is a town without a museum. There is no venue for a permanent display of such material and with this important anniversary fast approaching it is incumbent on us to commemorate the courage that male and female Barrians showed during those years”.

“The Second World War is part of the National Curriculum in primary and secondary schools, so the opportunity to teach what happened from 1939 – 1945, as it affected Barry and Barrians should not be missed”.

The following times will be displayed: The RAF, The Army, The Royal Navy, The Merchant Navy, Women’s Contribution, The Barry Blitz”.

“The exhibition will open on Saturday September 12, and will run for two weeks , I will be in attendance on Saturdays and look forward to engaging with the public and collecting , yet more stories"

(Barry refers to Barry Town, South Wales, Barry Dock and surrounding area and the local people.)

Louis the Amigo
7th June 2009, 12:41 PM
Hi Kieth, look forward to meeting you in person, I will be there{ god willing}.:)

Keith at Tregenna
7th June 2009, 02:43 PM
Will update prior to the event and liase with you, hopefully arrange mutual date and time.

Look forward to saying hi !

Louis the Amigo
9th June 2009, 07:01 AM
Hi Kieth looking forward to our meeting. please let everyone ex Merchant navy know, in the South wales area and beyond , so everyone can support the memory of the very many brave sons of Barry and Cadoxton who gave their lifes in the Merchant navy for freedom. I will be There {God Willing}

Keith at Tregenna
19th June 2009, 01:34 AM
Adding link to conserve space and avoid typing etc.......... K.

Nurtured in the docks it had to become brave in the men who, in two World Wars, sailed in the ships of Barry ETC........


The people of Barry must insist that something is done.

Louis the Amigo
19th June 2009, 06:28 AM
Hi Keith at Tregenna, You are 100% right Barry needs a Museum, But where to put it? in Holton road or Barry docks? Not much of the old Barry left mostly all gone.:confused:

Keith at Tregenna
2nd July 2009, 10:11 PM
In any other Town etc, old and historic buildings would have become listed as such and saved. Here is another building that is at least not knocked down, but has virtually been lost.

The Seamen’s Mission was built at the turn of the century and opened its doors to the visiting seamen in 1905. It served more than 30,000 seamen and their families annually.

The facilities provided accommodation, meals and a reading room. Sunday services were held in the adjacent chapel named St. Peter’s.


Progress ?

With the demise of shipping at Barry Docks, the Mission and Chapel finally closed. The Chapel Bell and Communion Wine Table (that was commissioned by the ships docked in Barry at the time of the Titanic disaster, as a memorial to the seamen that had been lost), were removed to St. Mary’s Church, Holton Road, Barry, when the doors of the church finally closed.


Were left to decay and when in a desperate state, knocked down. Again, not even the facade saved. Barry is a rown of many temporary car parks and no Museum.

At least St. Mary’s has retained a little of the past - Every ship in port made representation and are represented by this artifactt. Fortunately, there are many more - Not on open or public display, All Saints and St. Pauls witness and remember much, with the Royston Grange tribute ib the latter- similar stained glass window as in All Hallows. Every other has an artifact in an attic and Barry Axis a collection without a home.


AJ Hawker
3rd July 2009, 07:29 AM
Hi Keith, Lois
A Maritime museum would be great for Barry,but i do not think it would ever happen. There is a building that could be ideal, and must be the last remaining building of old Barry docks with the exception of Ranks Mills, and thats an old Pump House west side of the Waterfront near the Broad street archway.
Allen ( aj-wales ):(

3rd July 2009, 02:48 PM
:confused:So good to read about the memories of barry,I was born in barry and served my time in the old graving docks went back to the town a while ago and had a job to recognise the place where have all the old places gone so sad to see still thats so called progress.good luck to any effort to get a mu:confused:seum

Keith at Tregenna
3rd July 2009, 06:19 PM
A FEW YEARS AGO: We welcomed Mr. David Simpson to the "Tregenna Web Site, he is originally from Liverpool and is both passiionate about Barry and remembrance. David continues his work on his own site:


"I am indebted to Fred Hortop, for inspiring me to carry on in a very small way, his work." David Simpson.

Fred Hortop, recently crossed the bar. He had done so much to ensure that the people of Barry could pay their respects to her heroes.

David intends to carry on the work of Mr Hortop adding details to his research, via the internet. David went to sea himself at the age of 15 in 1940.

"There are no graves: no crosses: no where a loved one can shed a tear: We should remember them." David Simpson

David's web site and can be found at :


Keith at Tregenna
19th August 2009, 08:02 PM

Dr. Jonathan Hicks has asked that I remind all that may be interested or can attend of the following:


The Barrians who served in the Second World War to be remembered in September Exhibition.

This September sees the 70th Anniversary of the start of the Second World War, that enormous conflict that claimed the lives of 370,000 Britons. Events will be held the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, and Barry will play its part in commemorating the sacrifice made, and the service given, by Barry’s men and women all those years ago.

To remember the role that the people of Barry and the surrounding areas played in the defeat of Germany and Japan, local military historian Dr Jonathan Hicks will be staging a two-week long exhibition at Arts Central in Barry Library.

Dr Hicks says, “On display in Arts Central will be the material I have collected over the past few years on the role that Barrians played in the Second World War. I have interviewed military, naval and air force veterans, civilians who experienced the bombing of Barry and have spoken with merchant seamen sunk by German u-boats.

“As a result I have numerous photographs and written accounts which will form the basis of a thought-provoking display which will be of great interest to the people of Barry.

“Thousands of local people attended the two large scale exhibitions at Barry Memorial Hall in 2007 and 2008 on the role that Barrians played in the two world wars of the last century. Both were extremely successful and raised funds for the upkeep of Barry’s Roll of Honour.

“The display at Arts Central will allow me to display the whole range of information I have collected, and for a longer period than just a one-day exhibition.

“Barry, as we are all aware, is a town without a museum. There is no venue for a permanent display of such material and with this important anniversary fast approaching it is incumbent on us to commemorate the courage that male and female Barrians showed during those years.

“The Second World War is also part of the National Curriculum in primary and secondary schools so the opportunity to teach our children what happened from 1939-1945 as it affected Barry and Barrians should not be missed.

“There will be the following sections to the display:

• The RAF
• The Army
• The Royal Navy
• The Merchant Navy
• Women’s Contribution
• The Barry Blitz

“The exhibition will open on Saturday 12th September and will run for two weeks. I will be in attendance on Saturdays and very much look forward to engaging with the public and collecting yet more stories.” Dr. J. Hicks.

Dr Hicks expressed his gratitude to Tracey Harding, Arts Development Manager of the Vale of Glamorgan Council for facilitating this exhibition.

Keith at Tregenna
3rd September 2009, 03:07 AM
http://www.barryanddistrictnews.co.uk/news/latestnews/4567948.Barry_and_World_War_II__Exhibition_set_to_ open/

Keith at Tregenna
3rd September 2009, 08:28 PM
Barry is a unique town: in 1884 it was a tiny village;

By 1913, it was the largest coal -exporting port in the world.

In two World Wars it lost a greater proportion of its merchant seamen than any other port in Great Britain.

The Barry Branch of the Merchant Navy Association will be presenting an exhibition in the Barry library. It will open on Monday, September 21.


We would be happy to meet anyone who would like to offer information – queries about men or ships lost in those wars.

Photos, stories or anything at all, relating to the past, will be carefully preserved.

Write to David Simpson
94 High Street,
CF62 7DY

They Bore the Brunt

By Joe Earl

They sailed the seas to bear the brunt,
They steamed the courses laid,
Ten thousand miles their battle front,
Unbacked and undismayed.
Fine seamen these of our great race,
From your seaport or town,
They risked their lives with danger faced
Until their ship went down.
Remember them - they held the line,
Won freedom on the way,
Remember them - their life was thine -
On merchant navy day.


Keith at Tregenna
13th September 2009, 11:19 PM
After a long period of hard work Peter has managed to get online: His original quest was featured on site, but I presume lost in archive: The may as well be ghost ships. Link to Tregenna copy: http://www.ss-tregenna.co.uk/Pdf/Ghost%20Ships.pdf

Newport's records did exist and were found and reproduced from hand written ledges etc, a thankless task now rewarded by being put on line for all.



I believe the ABOVE web site to be of immense value to Newport, Gwent, South Wales and is well worthy of being recommended to all. Peter has conducted some sterling work and some support is both deserved and am certain welcomed. Please look in and enjoy: KG.

Keith at Tregenna
21st November 2009, 11:14 PM

By Alun Robertson

Monday August 3rd, 1914, the last day of peace, was a bank holiday. On that warm sunny day an estimated 50,000 day trippers from Cardiff and the mining towns and villages of the Welsh valleys flocked to Barry Island. To most of these people the thought of war would be pushed to the back of their minds as they picnicked on the grass, strolled along the beach or bathed in the sea. The main attraction that day was a grand brass band competition on Nell's Point (the strip of land wihere the Barry Island Resort now stands). The best bands in Wales performed that day. In the Channel the steamers of the White Funnel Fleet could be seen packed with people bound for a day out at Weston or Ilfracombe, people who normally lived mundane lives were out to enjoy themselves that day. Before the week was out, all this would change. Instead of courting couples and people enjoying the brass bands, Nells point would be inhabited by soldiers manning the six inch guns of the Barry Fort (the fort situatedon the tip of Nell's Point controlled a vital area of the Channel). The shouts of children playing on the sands at Whitmore Bay would be replaced by the crack of rifle fire as a musketry range would be set up there. The White Funnel Fleet steamers would disappear from the Channel and a huge searchlight would sweep the sea at night. The holiday season would finish early in 1914.


The two large docks at Barry had been constructed between the years of 1884 and 1898, the export of Welsh coal was its main function. The year 1913 had seen Barry Docks at their peak - 11,000,000 tons of coal passed through them that year. This was a record for the export of coal from one port. The events in Europe during July 1914 had alerted the Royal Navy to make sure it had adequate stocks of coal. The dockers and coal-trimmers of Barry were asked to work through their Bank Holiday weekend to help out in this national emergency. They responded by loading an estimated 200,000 tons of coal between the 1st and 4th of August.

During this period Barry had a small import trade. One regular visitor to the port was the small 1,030 ton German steamer 'Ulla Boog', which normally carried pit wood. On 4th August she entered the Bristol Channel blissfully unaware that war had been declared. The next day she was held as a war prize. The 'Ulla Boog' was sold at auction later on in the war and renamed the 'Mary Baird', but she proved an unlucky ship and was sunk by a mine off the coast of Cornwall in 1917 with the loss of seven men. Another ship caught in the Channel on 4th August was the large Hamburg American liner the 'Belgia' and was stopped under the guns of Barry Fort and was escorted to Newport. The authorities in Barry now started a sweep of the ships in port to take into custody any German seamen. Around fifty were arrested and appeared at the local police court on Monday 10th August, where it was decided to remove them under military escort to Flat Holm, the small island in the Bristol Channel. The round up of German seamen would go on, ships sailing the Channel would be stopped off Barry and any Germans removed. Almost 200 Germans and some Austrian seamen would be caught in this manner by early September. The first week of the war had been hectic for Barry Docks, for it was the shape of things to come. The German Army would soon over-run most of the coal mining regions of France. Britain, and Wales especially, would have to supply almost all of France's coal for the duration 0f the war, with much of it shipped from Barry.


The town of Barry that sprang up around the docks could never be described as a typical Welsh town. The thousands of people who flocked to Barry to build and work the docks came from all parts of the British Isles. The original inhabitants of the three small villages that would be collectively called Barry numbered only 491 in 1881, by the 1911 censusthe population had risen to 33,767. When all foreign aliens had registered themselves in August 1914 it was found that almost a thousand of them lived in the Barry area. A look at the names on the Barry War Memorial shows what a melting pot the population of the town was in 1914.

The first signs of war throughout Britain was the recall of the reservists. Barry's Naval Reservists had gathered at the local shipping offices on August 2nd, they left that night for their war stations, the Army reserves following later. The local Territorial Force centre at Gladstone Road was the scene of much acticity on August 4th.

The town's three teeritorial units, the Glamorgan Fortress Engineers. Number 5 Company Royal garrison Artillery, and C Company of the Welsh Regiment Cyclists (7th Battalion) were mobilised. Most of the men were used to man the Severn Defences, a line of defence which stretched from the Severn Tunnel to the Barry fort. After the deployment of the Territorials mmany important installations were left unguarded and more troops were needed. They were soon found, the 4th battalion the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry (T.F.) were despached from Shrewsbury and arrived at Barry on the night of the 5th August, they were billeted in local schools. Unfortunately, in their haste to get to Barry they left behaind their blankets and cooking utensils. At once the local people rallied around supplying the battalion with most of its needs untli its baggage arrived five days later. The people of Barry seeing the movement of troops in the town were now aware they were at war. For the French the war was different; it was a crusade, an event they had been burning for since 1871. This showed itself in Barry on the 5th August when a group of French sailors from a ship anchored in the docks paraded up Holton Road, the main shopping area of Barry, carrying aloft a large Tricolour. They halted outside the Town Hall at Kings Square, where a large crowd had now gathered, and sang the marseillaise and other patriotic songs. Even the more reserved of the local
population could not fail to have been impressed by the intense patriotism of the Frenchmen.

The infant Scout Movement had really taken off in Barry. The local Sea Scouts had only just returned home from their Summer Camp when war was declared. During their camp they had greatly impressed Amiralty officials with their signalling prowess and several of the older scouts had been asked to volunteer as signalmen to the coaling fleet and it appears that at least twelve of them served in that capacity. the local scouts were also doing their bit. Their job was to guard the Barry reservoir and protect the water supply. The first real warning to the people of Barry that the military presence was not just show and that the war was now a grim reality occurred on Friday 7th August when Edward davies, a young schoolteacher from Hengoed, was caught sketching the sentries patrolling around the Barry Fort. He was siezed and held on the suspicion of being a spy. It turned out that he was sketching for art classes at the Barry Summer School. His drawings were ordered to be destroyed and he got off with a severe reprimand. Capt. J.H.Cook of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. the officer in charge of the sentries at Barry Fort, stated that Barry Island was an important area and that his men went on duty carrying loaded rifles and fixed bayonets. Anyone else acting suspiciously might not be so lucky. The warning was clear, people could no longer walk unrestricted through the docks and along the coastal path. Barry was at war.

The following days and months of 1914 would be no less hectic. The round up of German seamen was followed up in November by a round up of barry's small Turkish population, unlike the Germans they were not seen as a direct threat to security. When a pathetic group of them appeared before local magistrates they were simply told to leave the country.

As well as enemy aliens, the military authorities were busy rounding up many of the town's horses. These were needed for Britain's expanding army. Horses were not the only animals being commandeered. A St. Bernard dog, named Dan the pride and joy of Mr.C.B.Griffiths of the Royal Hotel, Cadoxton, was deemed useful to the war effort and was shipped out to Belgium, where, presumably, he did his bit. The first few days of war had seen a large number of troops descend on the town. They were to cause various problems. Many of the men had to be billetted in local schools so that when the children returned from the summer break the classes had to be held in church buildings. During October construction began on a large hutted camp on the outskirts of the town. By the end of November when the newly formed 12th Battalion of the Welsh Regiment arrived at Barry, much of the camp had been erected for them. Even so, schools were used throughout the war to provide both barracks and hospitals. the general conduct of the men stationed in the area was the cause of concern to a few of the more sober minded local residents. One local JP went as far as charging the men with insobriety, seduction and general misconduct. These were harsh words but during October three women were attacked by a man in army uniform. The third victim was assaulted in th elane behind Clive Road on Barry Island. witnesses who saw a man run from the scene recognosed him as a Territorial serving at Barry Fort. he was soom arrested. Apart from these serious incidents there is little to suggest that the troops billetted in the town were generally unruly, but Colonel East, The C. in C. of the severtn defences, was taking no chances with the safety of the local female population and the morals of his men. He issued an order banning all women from licensed premises in the area.

On 14th August the first recruiting notices had appeared in local papers and after a slow start men began to come forward in numbers. According to the local press 1600 Barry men had enlisted by the end of 1914. Amongst the men leaving the town for the army were 19 members of barry Male Voice Choir and over 60 members of the YMCA. Many other institutions would lose much of their memberships before the year was out. A fundwas set up to provide toys and so on for the estimated 800 children who would be without their fathers that Christmas. During early September a town guard was set up with its members being drawn from the older men of the town who wanted to do their bit. They were drilled by Police sergeant Angus, formerly of the Grenadier Guards. Over 400 men joined the Great War 'Dads Army'! As many men were leaving Barry to join the services, another group of people were just arriving in the town -the Belgian refugees. Around 250,000 Belgians sought shelter in Britain during the course of the war and by October,1914, about 100 of these unfortunate people were accommodated at Barry. Amongst them was the famous painter Emile Claus who lodged at a house at Porthkerry park. There was a lot of sympathy for the Belgians as they were seen as the victims of 'Hun' brutality.

The Bristol Channel was an extremely busy sea lane in those days. All ships sailing past the Barry Fort at Nell's Point (the site of a present-day holiday camp) were stopped and searched mainly to find any Germans among the crew. The first twenty four days of the war saw over a thousand vessels stopped off Barry. Many ships were reluctant to cut their engines, some totally ignored the signals to stop. The six inch guns of the Fort had to fire at vessels on several occasions. One ship had its funnel knocked out and another had its foremast taken away. The Belgian steamer 'Minister Beermnngert' was hit three times before she came to a halt. The firing of the guns greatly alarmed the local population who, after the bombardment of Scarborough in December, 1914, must have thought the German fleet was sailing up the channel. It is probably with this in mind that the guns remained silent on New Year's Eve when the Greek steamer 'Antonias' ignored repeated signals to stop. Instead, rifle fire was directed at the ship and one bullet smashed into the bridge seriously the chief officer in the thigh.

By the close of 1914 many Barry men had seen action on the continent and across the sea lanes of the world. These men were, of course, the regulars, reservists and merchant seamen of the town. The firat reported local fatality was that of Royal navy reservist W.Cowling, a married man from Graving Dock Street. He was killed in action serving aboard the cruiser HMS 'Hawk' which was torpedoed in the North Sea on 15th October, 1914.When HMS 'Monmouth' was sunk with all hands on 1st November ai the Battle of Coronel, she took with her five Barry men. The first street to feel the full effects of the war was Brook Street, a small street situated off the small shopping centre of Holton Road. On 29th October, John Durman, of number 37, a reservist of the 2nd Battaloin Welsh regiment, was killed in action. Just eight days later, Bert Clements, who lived at number 30, was killed while serving in the Grenadier Guards. The saddest story of 1914 concerns the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Whitty of Barry. On 21st. november, Stanley junior died of wounds while serving with the 2nd Welsh. On Boxing Day his brother John was killed while serving with the Grenadier Guards, and a third brother was invalided home from the front at the end of the year. The war was just a few months old and already one family had given it al it could. This was a sign of things to come.

Keith at Tregenna
12th December 2009, 10:50 PM
Barry, S.Wales during WW2

Barry Docks, west of Cardiff in south Wales, was a prominent Bristol Channel port during WW2, being used for importing the essential materials and food needed to support the island nation of Britain, while also serving as an embarkation point for American troops.




The World at War


Barry in WW2: The Merchant & Royal Navies
On Christmas Eve, a patrolling German aircraft spotted the convoy and U-354 ... He began his time in the Merchant Navy as a fifteen-year-old Mess Room Boy, ...
www.theworldatwar.info/ww2barrymn.html - Cached

Keith at Tregenna
19th December 2009, 09:46 PM
Reproduced in tribute to A "Barrian"

Tributes have poured in for Gareth Howe.

Thursday 17th December 2009.

Tributes paid to 'Mr Barry'

BARRIANS will mourn the loss of the man affectionately known as 'Mr Barry', and one of the town’s greatest sons, at his funeral tomorrow. (December 18) Tributes to 83-year-old community leader Gareth Howe poured in following his death at Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales on Friday. (December 11) The grandfather-of-six was known for continuing the Howe family tradition of service to and pride in the town of Barry.

His last project was the instigation of Barry’s Blue Plaque scheme commemorating the town’s notable citizens.

Pride In Barry founder and president Gareth, who was born in Cadoxton, was the chairman of the Barry Remembers appeal which successfully raised more than £60,000 needed to restore the Barry Memorial Hall’s Hall of Memory and Cenotaph at the time of its 75th anniversary.

His family said the father-of-three, who worked as a timber importer director and later arbitrator, would like to be remembered as a man who loved Barry and its people.

Widow Carys said: "Gareth was dedicated to the welfare of Barry and how much he could do for it.
"He was charming, handsome and wonderfully fit and active."

The Queen appointed the former Royal Navy sub lieutenant, who served during World War Two, as Deputy Lieutenant of South Glamorgan in 1994 and he was a Memorial Hall and YMCA trustee.

Gareth, son of Barry’s first mayor Dudley, was president then patron of Barry Male Voice Choir and, with his wife Carys, a founder member of the Barry Choral Society when Barry hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1968.

Colin Jones, former Police Division Commander for Barry and member of South Glamorgan Lieutenancy, said: "Gareth’s passing will create a tremendous void within the town of Barry.

"He spent his life helping others and was forever seeking ways to improve the image of the town. "His involvement with the Blue Plaque Scheme and the refurbishment of the Hall of Remembrance and Cenotaph will serve as long lasting legacies and testimony to Gareth’s unflinching commitment to his beloved town of Barry."

* Tributes to a People man – Gareth Howe 1926 to 2009.

GARETH Howe was a commodore of Barry Yacht Club, founder member of the Association of Barry Industries, an active Rotary Club member, and was involved with the Barry branch of the Royal British Legion.

He and wife Carys hosted Jamaican athletes when the Commonwealth Games arrived in Cardiff, he travelled to both India and Croatia delivering aid, had close links to the NSPCC and was a trustee of the Neale Trust which supplied shoes to underprivileged children in Barry.

He was an elder of the Holy Trinity Presbyterian church and a leading figure in the church committee’s work to ensure, after 120 years, its hall would meet current health and safety regulations.

He died knowing work had begun on an expensive, but ingenious design.

Speaking on behalf of Holy Trinity Presbyterian church, W Haydn Burgess said: "Gareth’s lively, determined and enthusiastic spirit and forthright sense of purpose and service will be missed in his church, the service organisations to which he belonged and the town of Barry generally."

Chairman of the Memorial Hall and Theatre Trust, Steffan Wiliam, said: "Gareth was enthusiastically involved in almost everything that has happened in Barry throughout his lifetime!

"His legacy is immense with so many achievements – whether you look out across the entrance to the harbour and Yacht Club or the other way to the Memorial Hall and Cenotaph, it is all proof of Gareth’s love of this town and her people." Pride In Barry chairman, Paul Haley said Gareth had given an "astonishing statesman-like address" to Assembly members as part of the campaign to ensure proper funding for Barry.

"He was a very proud Barrian who made an enormous contribution to his hometown that he loved so dearly," he said. "Gareth was the backbone of Pride In Barry."


Louis the Amigo
20th December 2009, 05:27 PM
Hi Keith, The town of Barry and Cadoxton has lost a wonderful son ,and his works will be long remember by all who knew him and all the commuity of barry and Cadoxton a very hard worker, for all a true great Barrian.

Keith at Tregenna
20th December 2009, 07:12 PM
Louis my Amigo, thank you for your kind words,

I know that I talk of Barry much and indeed of Cardiff, if not South Wales and even of the entire principality but, this is not bias although it could be, I would like to think that I post a larger percentage on MN in General.

However, it hits hard, when virtually one of your own is taken and the report shows how much this good man achieved and how much he will be missed. I as said before am not MN, but an affiliate and attempt to do my bit. I have witnessed the passing of many a true friend, especially some fondly remembered MN folk.

Barry is best known at present for the recent TV programme "Gavin and Stacey" and while all publicity is good for the town: It is important that she remembers her past.

Gareth, was not in reality, well known to me and others personally. But, most knew of him and his achievments etc. I have more of late been in contact with him regarding the restoration of Captain Foster's grave. The worthy Master Mariner was a Barrian and of world renown.

Regret, the loss of Gareth and of the unfinished good work that he was involved with.

Barry, once described by many as the Gateway to the World has lost a son. It is important that we do not forget this great man and the many of the same calibre.

I re-iterate my support for my home town, but also the same for the many. Born to one of the countries Merchant Naval ports / towns, I coulLd do no less. Again thank you for your support.


Keith at Tregenna
24th December 2009, 06:29 PM
English – Welsh

Merry Christmas - Nadolig Llawen
Happy New Year - Blwyddwyn Newydd Dda
Season’s greetings - Cyfarchion y Tymor
Best wishes - Pob dymuniad da


Pob lwc - Good luck
Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn - The Red Dragon will show the way
Cymru am byth! - Wales for ever!
Nos da – Goodnight

Louis the Amigo
24th December 2009, 08:08 PM
hi shipmates' Hi Keith my Barry butty,I met him a few times' my mate John Dunbar was the cook at Cardiff yacht club, a few years ago, When things were slow .I would lend hm a hand in the kitchen on a sunday, Many of the members of barry and other Yacht clubs, who were in the area at that time had a meal in the club. I am not a cook, but I can turn my hand to many things, Keith my butty I have an old vase {Sliver} from the dockers ladys at Barry, What do you Know about them?:confused:

Keith at Tregenna
24th December 2009, 08:24 PM
The Dockers Club are still alive and well, last I knew. Guess if it is an old trophy, may be skittles or similar, would imagine they would like to know more: will inquire further. Also, remember fancying a local lass in my teens, took her on the Waverley to Ilfracombe for the day. So nice to be alone ? Met all my mates from home, came over with the yacht ckub, wrecked my chances, but not my day.

Season’s greetings - Cyfarchion y Tymor


Col Robinon
27th December 2009, 04:39 PM
Hi Keith,

My grandparents, Joan & Frank Hutchinon ran the Barry Dock Hotel from the early 60' to the late 70's. I spent many a happy holiday there as a kid and would spend hours exploring the old rooms from the clock tower down to the cellar; and used to gaze in awe at all the ships in harbour. I would spend hours looking out for the banana boats that my 2 uncles sailed on and was amazed by the size of BP's Birdie boats that were laid up there. Little was I to know that some years later I was to go to sea myself with BP. Of course a a child I was sheltered from many of the tales of the Chain Locker but once I got to sea I heard many.

If you or any other members have any other recollections of the Dock Hotel (good or bad), I'd love to hear them. I'm also always on the lookout for any photos of the place too and would be grateful for any shared material.

Merry Christmas to one and all :)

Col Robinson

Keith at Tregenna
27th December 2009, 06:05 PM
Will add more ASAP, for now a:



Time maybe for a pint or two in the old `Chain Locker`,
With a tattooed shipmate, or local friendly docker,
Twice a day locks were manned, around high-water mark,
Pilots sent to waiting ships, ready to embark.


Barry, Wales : Images from around Barry
The Chain Locker, Dock View Road The Barry Dock Hotel, aka The Chain Locker and Culleys, was demolished in 1984 to make way for Phillipa Freeth Court. ...
www.barrywales.co.uk/gallery.asp?find=tomclemett1 - Cached - Similar

The Chain Locker, Dock View Road

The Barry Dock Hotel, aka The Chain Locker and Culleys, was demolished in 1984 to make way for Phillipa Freeth Court. Also visible are Blairs Chronometer makers and the Dolphin restaurant.

Tom Clemett's History of Barry

The first Barry Dock Hotel was built in Holton Road, ... The side bar, known ...


File Format: Microsoft Word
It was nurtured in the docks of Barry and in the men who built them. ... It had a pint in the Chain-locker, danced in Bindles and swam in the Knap pool ...

Hope that the links work. K.

happy daze john in oz
28th December 2009, 04:44 AM
G'day Coil and welcome to the site, best around. If you care to list your ships with soem dates there is a good chance you may hear from some who knew you. So sit back withna cold one and enjoy the voyage.:eek:

Pier Master
4th February 2012, 10:41 PM
My next door neighbour (Merthyr Street), and I drank in the 'Chain Locker' on it's last day of trading back in 1983 (I think). They knocked it down and it's a sheltered housing complex now.

Regards, The Pier Master.

Evan Lewis
5th February 2012, 06:16 AM
RE. the Chain - locker Bar.Keith.Wondering ,could this have been where the last official Shang-hai-ing took place?
Just pulled the Old book out to check the Date.Coincidentally its the same date as your Posting
Story goes like this:S.S.Blairspey. Crew signed 8th April 1953.Port Talbot. We were to sail few days or so later .Sat Morn ,sailing day.bos'n turns us to."Make her ready for sea Lads. Drop the Derricks,cover the rest of the hatches." Hr. later he announces."Have to go to the Post Office lads,important!"Down the gangway he skittles.Some of the local boys ,that knew Billy better,said "Who"s he kidding?.
All knowing well the Dock Hotel was just across from the Lock Gates. W E carried on dutifully ,three covers per hatch for the Canada run:placed the Battens,.though As pre-determined no Wedges .In the jargon of the day"This things got no Chippy
yet, She's supposed to sail at 1p.m.That's it!No Chippy|it,s his job." About 11.a.m.the temptation of the Dock Hotel won us. On entering <first person <full of Beer and Bonhommie! is Billy the Bos'n .Not a Postage Stamp in sight."all right Boys? .Good Boys.
Cut to the Chase: Back aboard. missed the 1p.m.
Tide. Couple hrs . later. Taxi pulled up. Crowd loking at the Quay. Captain ,3rd Mate R.O. etc.
on Wing of the Bridge ,gazing intently down.From the Taxi ,behind, the Pool Man
Trevor Denby.emerges this apparition.Turns his back on the Ship and steadfastly urinated toward the Taxi. Not long after that he joins us For'd. where he was helped into his Bunk:Turns out the Barry Pool, man,had found him in the Chain-locker Bar in Barry. We, Turned to. finished off the battening down.Saile d on that evenings Tide.Sighted the new Chippie Monday Morn ,taking the soundings.don"t think he was still aware of his location.and how he got there>

Keith at Tregenna
5th February 2012, 03:53 PM
My next door neighbour (Merthyr Street), and I drank in the 'Chain Locker' on it's last day of trading back in 1983 (I think). They knocked it down and it's a sheltered housing complex now.

Regards, The Pier Master.

Hello Pier Master:

I know Merthyr Street well, when at home in Barry, generally have a pint with my dad in the Lib's around the corner in Thompson Street, did use the Ex Serviceman's and the Coronation, both sadly gone now.

Although correct in some ways the bar you were in would have been the corner bar, up a few steps from the the pavement of Dock View Road. I will try to add a pic to explain more.

For now imagine a very large old hotel. The hotel main entrance just off centre to the right, the bar that would have been open then would have been to the right of the main entrance, locally became known as the Locker after the main Chain Locker closed a long time before.

The large bar had two doors at street level on the far left of the building and some say contained the Longest bar in the world ?


Keith at Tregenna
5th February 2012, 04:01 PM
Pic Attached of the former Culley's Hotel, that became the The Barry Dock Hotel and housed the Chain Locker.

The side bar, known by sailors all over the world, was called "The Chain Locker" and gained immortality in Alexander Cordell's novel "Rogues March". This bar was used by mainly dock workers, seamen and labourers, and was reputed to have the glasses chained to the bar.

The picture shows the two doors on the left for the big bar, the hotel entrance off centre and the corner bar.


Keith at Tregenna
5th February 2012, 04:33 PM
[QUOTE=Evan Lewis;80465]RE. the Chain - locker Bar. Keith. Wondering, could this have been where the last official Shang-hai-ing took place?

RE: Just pulled the Old book out to check the Date / S.S.Blairspey etc

Hello Evan, thanks for your post: An interesting piece of history.

The hotel was built as Culley's in 1890, and known throughout the world as "The Chain Locker". It was immortalised in Alexander Cordell's book "Rogues March".

Mr. Culley's application stated that the hotel was needed so that he could cater for ship owners, captains, coal exporters, and others of that class, to enable them to use the premises to enjoy a meal, catch up on their correspondence, and meet their families if so desired. Before the opening of the hotel most of these people would arrive at Barry Docks, and as there was no suitable accommodation for them to stay in Barry, they would travel to Cardiff and obtain hotel accommodation there.

By 1892 the hotel had become so popular that it was extended by the addition of a coffee room with accommodation for over 100 guests, and a billiard room. A later addition was a wooden hall with accommodation for 400 guests. By 1899 further extensions were added, and the wooden hall was taken down and sold. In 1910 the manager was Mr H.Y. Hazell. The side bar, known by sailors all over the world, was called "The Chain Locker".

Owing to the decline in trade at the docks in the 1920's, the staff was reduced in number until by 1960 most of the hotel was disused, and by 1983 the brewery decided to demolish it. This they did, It had became too expensive to maintain, and was finally demolished in 1984. Phillipa Freeth Court is built on the site.

RE: Could this have been where the last official Shang-hai-ing took place.

In its day the Chain Locker was infamous world wide - sadly many that Knew more are no longer here and much of the past is lost, I will attempt to find more. If we ever get our hard fought for Heritage Centre / Museum such gems as your posting will be needed to fill it, for that sir I thank you.

I would be interested to know what old book you found this in !

A similar tale from many years before: That night one S. Grotheim, able seaman, of the Norwegian barque Aldgirth was treated to lashings of “grog” in a farewell booze-up organised by a bunch of his very dear new Britisher friends. A selected group of Monkbarns’ hands had been “softening him up” for days, according to young Fall. Now, when he duly passed out, his dear friends were on hand and tenderly carried him, deadweight, out of the bar and down to the jetty, where a boat was waiting. Grotheim awoke the following day with a banging head in the fo’c'sle of the wrong ship, well out at sea. Not even the hearty sea chanty as the anchor was hauled up, nor the clink of capstan pawls piling the cable link by slimy link into the adjacent chain locker had roused him.

LINK: Shanghaiing « Lost at sea (http://monkbarns.wordpress.com/tag/shanghaiing/)

You would have thought Shang-hai-ing as a practice would have been over by then, certainly outlawed in the States since 1915, but the practise did continue elsewhere, certainly at Barry and the Chain Locker from your book.

Cheers K.

Evan Lewis
5th February 2012, 10:27 PM
Apologies for any confusion Keith.
The Old Book ,I referred to. ,was my first Dis.A.Book.was checking the Dates.
Re.Barry generally ,you are a mine of information.Every time I open A Post.am reminded of so much regarding it. Just a few memories ,the view of the Butlins Camp,for inst. The swimming Pool shown. ; Was home from OZ .'71.for three months. Had worked a Swede Ship over. Bored round Bridgend,.Mates married, mostly could only get out on a Friday night.
Driving round Barry ,noticed Butlins were taking on Staff. Said to the nephew ,
"That'll do me John"
Was given Security job. First night at the Gates ,Staff were returning from the Local pubs.Commotion. ,Swimming pool. With help of his companions ,got him out of the pool. unconscious. Gave him Mouth to mouth, till Nursing Sister arrived.
Next day Butlins sacked him ,As He was subject to Fits.

A fight a night ,on Duty at the Gates. The Barry Boys would often try to get in .evenings ,as the Campers returned.They would form a little group and Tag on to the Pass holders. .A left hook. at the gate ,might come at you any moment,one would retaliate. Slam the gate ,and step back.

A Tactic after a few nights of this ,Being visible from the surrounding lights.one would be subject to a Hail of stones. Said to myself,' Fk.this for a game of Soldiers" All for eight pounds a week and your keep.
One occasion, the Barry cops ,relieved a group of Valley Boys of their shoes ,and Said ,"get walking."
Another incident, (never a dull moment!) the Barry Plain clothes man,in the Gatehouse ,said to me'There's a little Mini,parked outside the Arcade.See whom it belongs to , and have it removed,".
Entered the Arcade.,Varying staff, " Who owns the Mini"? "Oh ! that belongs to Mrs.Williams. " Me ,Where is She ?' " Oh! She has the Bingo concession along there' O.K. Thanks!
Find Mrs Wiliams told her the story.She replied 'I
always Park there,I have a Pass', At the same time ,my attention is drawn to the Large window ,where the very worried looking Security Sergeant ,is Stooped over ,Beckoning me to come out. A 'SET UP: Mrs Williams, being Billy Butlins daughter,She'd married a Barry Taxi owner.

Keith at Tregenna
6th February 2012, 10:11 PM
Hi Evan:

Strangely, you are most important to the history of my home town, I like many from Barry are in real terms Ex Pats ourselves, I have lived out of town, more of my life than ever in it, class myself as a a Barrian and what I do not know can and will find out.

RE: Butlins, please see LINK: Barry Island (http://www.butlinsmemories.com/barry/)

Will reply, with more ASAP.

RE: One occasion, the Barry cops, relieved a group of Valley Boys of their shoes, and Said ,"get walking." IS ALMOST URBAN LEGEND, Will explain more again ASAP, but you are quite correct in this, that was Barry.


---------- Post added at 10:11 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:47 PM ----------

A FORMER Butlins entertainment manager’s calls for a museum based in the town has met with an encouraging response from the Barry Waterfront consortium.

Merchant Navy campaigner David Simpson is running a petition asking for residents and visitors to the town to back the drive to get the all-weather attraction into the area.

The 84-year-old grandfather-of-one said a museum would showcase Barry’s history – ranging from industry to commerce, sport to tourism, maritime to wartime, and even including the town’s impact in the entertainment and comedy world.

And the facility would help boost the economy and be of educational importance for schools in generations to come, he added.

"The Waterfront and all that belongs to it deserves a museum," said Mr Simpson.

LINK: BMS - Display and Petition (http://www.barrymerchantseamen.org.uk/articles/BMSpetition.html)

"There are no graves: no crosses: no where a loved one can shed a tear: We should remember them." David Simpson.

LINK 2: Barry Merchant Seamen - Welcome (http://www.barrymerchantseamen.org.uk)


Keith at Tregenna
13th April 2012, 11:17 PM
Tom Clemett's History of Barry:

LINK: Tom Clemett's History of Barry (http://www.barrywales.co.uk/tomclemett/default.asp)

Col Robinson
9th August 2012, 07:18 PM
I remember the Barry Dock Hotel very well as my gran & (step) granddad managed the place from the early 60's to the late 70's. As a kid we would travel down to Barry for a weeks holiday almost each year. Being of a young age, I wasn't allowed in the Chain Locker for many years (finally managed it when I was about 14), but I remember catching snippets of conversation about the place from adults. To us, the hotel was just a massive playground to run wild in on rainy days. I can remember gazing out of the windows and looking at BP's Birdie Boats laid up. Little did I know then that I would one day go to sea myself with BP.

Keith at Tregenna
9th August 2012, 08:49 PM
The Dock Offices were my playground, after school which neared after office hours, my mates dad was the caretaker and we had the run off the gaff, sliding down bannisters and more. from the clock tower to the basement: The Chain Locker was just up the road, know how much the Dock Offices meant to us kids, can imagine the Chain Locker and yours.

Was sad to see the dock offices burn, News on TV, when the Barry Dock Hotel went, it just went: little fuss and is a care home now.

Biggest mention is in a book by Alexandre Cordell; Rogues March.


Evan Lewis
11th August 2012, 06:23 AM
Actually as I remember it . Was just the long narrow ,Side bar, of the Barry Dock Hotel.

Though famous as the venue for Seamen , having their last few Bevie's before crossing thr road to the Dock Gates. and embracing yhe refuge ,of the ship. Whatever ! Good Times , Bad times . Future unknown.

Could be the best Trip in the world, could be a collision in Fog in the Bay. , or perhaps another 4 hatch job ,Coal out , loaded with Pit wood from
Bordeaux .Catching a Swell at the Mouth of the Gironde. Losing it's cargo. overturning , Pit wood Props ,rising from the deep killing .the

hapless crew . struggling on the surface above. Just another Statisic !

Picture : Group of young Sea Cadets , Bridgend ,Porthcawl Unit. 1943- 44 Ambling along Barry -Dock road in the Gathering Dusk. Lamplighter was engaged in illuminating the subdued lighting.

We slowed down to allow two young fellows ,pass across our Bows ,as it were . Real Sailors ,,Peak caps. no older than some of us.Seems
they'de just emerged from the Barry Dock Hotel . To our left they disappeared into the foggy Gloom of the Dock Gates

That image will remain with me forever.

Did those boys ,ever Return?

Candy Kimmel
27th May 2018, 11:20 PM
Hi Keith,
Yes I surely do remember the Barry Dock Hotel AKA The Chain Locker. I lived @ 10 Dock View Rd, 1961 it was about 4 doors down from me. Passed it every day to go to the corner shop Vavoolous. The guy who ran (owned) it would sit in the window every day and scare the living daylights out of me. Don't think he liked kid's. He'd go mad if we sat on the steps outside the hotel. Wonder what his name was. Funny enough I have fond memories of him. Till this day I can still clearly see his face staring out the window..HA! When they tore the hotel down I was there to watch and shed a tear for we were all on the chopping block. Soon after my beautiful Edwardian home was torn down so the fancy flats they were building behind could have a view. The remainder of my family lived on Thompson St. There was always something going on there. Parties, bar brawls, loose women trying to make a living, colorful characters from every corner and I knew them all. We were a tight community. We all helped each other through hard times. Barry for me is a town of characters, great characters. My dad was a merchant seaman and my mum made extra money renting out rooms. I met merchant & navy seaman from all over the world. It WAS a different world. I love my town and I miss the old times and all the old characters.
Candy Kimmel. (Back then, Candy Stedman).
If anyone remembers any of the following people please let me know. My dad was quite notorious in Barry and had many, many friends.
Priscilla Stedman, Jimmy Stedman, June Ankrah, Tom Mullholland, John Burns, Jack Frost (real name), Staubers furniture (my next door neighbour's), Calders Chemist (next door neighbour's), Jackie Evans, Marie Whitworth.
Candy Kimmel, Sturgis, South Dakota, USA. A long, long way from home......

27th May 2018, 11:29 PM
I wonder how many pubs there are named the Chain Locker, I can think of two immediately one in Falmouth and one in Aberdeen. JS

Keith at Tregenna
27th May 2018, 11:59 PM
Hi Candy,

I was in the shop this afternoon, still known as the Greeks locally, the Vavoulas family sold up a few years ago
though it has not changed to much.

We were on Fryatt off Coronation.

I have done roaming for a bit and now in upper class Penarth. LOL.

My playground was the Dock Offices, my mates the twins - dad was the caretaker

Been around a bit till of late and enjoying being back for a bit.

Regards Keith.


Opened as Culleys Hotel, later the Barry Dock Hotel.
Bars - the Chain Locker. Now Philippa Freeth Court.


Doc Vernon
28th May 2018, 12:01 AM
Hi All.
Sorry Vernon, but your welsh lass was born in SPLOTT and not in the dock area known as TIGER BAY.As Kieth said Splott hasnt got the same ring as TIGER BAY. The place dosnt even sound romantic.
. Ho the memories.
geoff :)

Know this is an old Thread but just to say that Shirley was Born in Tiger Bay and brought up in Splott

Shirley Bassey was born in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales, and raised in the nearby working class neighborhood of Splott. Her mother was originally from Yorkshire, and her father was a Nigerian seaman who left the family when she was less than two. She later helped to support her family by working in an Enamelware factory. She made her professional debut at 16 appearing in a touring revue "Memories of Al Jolson (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0427231?ref_=nmbio_mbio)
". Her first major hit was "The Banana Boat Song," and she later sang "Goldfinger" in the James Bond movie Goldfinger (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058150?ref_=nmbio_mbio)
(1964). Her younger daughter died of drowning in 1985. She currently lives in Monte Carlo.

Keith at Tregenna
28th May 2018, 12:44 AM
Guess it is difficult to know exactly.

This way she was known as a splott girl.

The Tiger Bay area would have been largely alien to her until
later in life.

The birth certificate gives her father as Henry Bassey,
a 'mercantile marine fireman' who lived with her mother,
Eliza Jane Metcalfe, at number 40 Loudoun Square,

Her father arrived in Cardiff in 1919, aged 24, and
records show that over the next two decades he lived
at a bewildering number of addresses in and around
Tiger Bay.

At one stage her dad was accused of having
sex with an under-age girl and was arrested. In the
Cardiff police archive, it is recorded that he was
charged with 'defilement of a girl under 16 years'.

All the more reason to move slightly away from the
Bay area and likely Tiger Bay not used until later PR
and promotions.

The Bassey family left Tiger Bay. They didn't go far;
just a mile or so, to the neighbouring dockland settlement of
Splott - a collection of two-up, twodown terraces.



Keith at Tregenna
28th May 2018, 01:14 AM
I wonder how many pubs there are named the Chain Locker, I can think of two immediately one in Falmouth and one in Aberdeen. JS

I would imagine the Chain Locker then was not an uncommon name near docks etc.

One report states: The Chain Locker in North Shields is a familiar sight to people who use the Tyne ferry and has been empty for some time.

Our Barry Dock Hotel opened in 1891 as Culleys Hotel and Restaurant, with free drinks for all customers. The hotel was extended twice in its lifetime by the addition of further rooms. The sidebar used by seamen and dockers was known the world over as the 'Chain Locker' and was immortalised by Alexander Cordell in his book 'Rogues March'. The building was demolished in 1983 and Phillipa Freeth Court was built there.



28th May 2018, 02:54 AM
Think but maybe wrong Keith but the chain locker may have been opposite the fish quay in North Shields. At the ferry end was the Jungle ( Northumberland Arms) and across the road the Golden Fleece. Going towards the fish quay half way along was the Wooden Dolly. Next to the jungle towards Smiths Dock was another pub forget the name of. Cheers JS

Keith at Tregenna
28th May 2018, 12:58 PM
Hi Keith,
Yes I surely do remember the Barry Dock Hotel AKA The Chain Locker.
Priscilla Stedman, Jimmy Stedman, June Ankrah, Tom Mullholland, John Burns, Jack Frost (real name), Staubers furniture (my next door neighbour's), Calders Chemist (next door neighbour's), Jackie Evans, Marie Whitworth.
Candy Kimmel, Sturgis, South Dakota, USA. A long, long way from home......

Hi Candy, chatting now about the names etc. Everyone knew June. will add more again.

Adding link to a report though it talks of the 1920's, think you will find it of interest.

From the archive: Dock View Road, in the 1920s - From the archive:Dock View Road, in the 1920s | Barry And District News (http://www.barryanddistrictnews.co.uk/news/15350027.From_the_archive_Dock_View_Road__in_the_1 920s/)

Regards Keith.