Step back in time with fascinating old images of the seaside town of Barry, in Wales.
Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan is famous for its beautiful beach and funfair, and remembered fondly for the former Butlins camp at Barry Island, which operated from 1966-1996. Luckily both Barry Island and the town have plenty to offer visitors and residents today, and are within half an hour’s reach of Cardiff.
BBC Documentary 2012
A 2012 documentary from the BBC, about the history of the area and its people.
BBC Welsh Town Documentary | Barry – on YouTube
The Railway Queen 1929
Each year, Barry hosted the annual railway work conference. Between 1925 and the 1980s, the Railway Queen opened the event during an official ceremony.
“Ena Best lived on the westerly side of Rusholme in Dorset Avenue with her parents John and Margaret. They were married in 1911 and Ena was born January 13th 1913. In 1928 when Ena was 15 her father who worked on the railways entered her photograph into the annual competition for the Railway Queen.”Rusholme & Victoria Park Archive
In this 1929 British Pathé footage, Railway Queen Ena Best wears a white dress and dark cloak. After alighting from a train, she sat in state on her throne-like chair on the back of a van, surrounded by her maids dressed in white.
The large procession then passed through the town, watched by a crowd of spectators.
“The competition to be crowned Railway Queen was open to all teenage daughters of railway workers. Despite the demands of the title, the election of an industry queen would often come down to beauty and the apparent virtues of the 14-to-17-year-olds.”Railway Museum
The Railway Queen (1929) – British Pathé on YouTube
Unemployed Dockers 1947
This unused material from British Pathé shows dockers watching material loading into a ship at Barry Docks.
Then reporter John Parsons asks the men about their views on unemployment.
The men are both deferential, and eloquent.
Dockers Talk About Unemployment (1947) – British Pathé on YouTube
Barry Docks 1948
This British Pathé footage from 1948 shows the Barry Docks in operation. One of the scenes is a different take, shot from the opposite side, of reporter John Parsons and the workers watching material fall through the chute that we saw in the 1947 clip.
It’s interesting to note that the distributed film was used in the year following the visit.
Furthermore, the interviews with dockers about unemployment (shown in the clip above) don’t appear.
Barry South Wales. (1948) – British Pathé on YouTube
24 Hour Jiving Marathon 1960
Filmed in 1960, this includes a 15 year old taking part in the 24 hour jiving marathon. Not a single break was permitted.
It took place at 77 Sunset Club.
24 Hour Jiving Marathon 1960 – 77 Sunset Club, Barry – on YouTube
From the ITV Cymru/Wales Archive @ NLW comes this 1962 series of interviews from the fair at Easter time, including a number of children talking about their shillings and six pences.
Barry Island prepares for Easter 1962 – on YouTube
Old Photo of Barry in the 1980s
Uploaded by YouTube channel xxagent69, this is a lively montage of old photos, nicely titled with dates and locations.
If it runs too fast for you, slow down the Playback Speed. See the little cog in the right hand bottom corner? Press that, choose Playback Speed from the drop down menu, and select 0.25 or 0.5.
Growing up in Barry Town in the 80’s – xxagent69 on YouTube
1986 Indie Film
Entertaining clips from Norman J. Warren’s 1986 independent film Bloody New Year.
Features many locations around the fair, including the Traum Boot, Fun House and Flitzer, and some hilariously bad action scenes in full 1980s fashion.
Barry Island Fun Fair Circa 1986 – Traum Boot, Fun House, Flitzer, etc – on YouTube
Lovely vintage footage of Barry Island and Barry Butlins back in May 1992. The beach and swimming pool are packed with people as everyone enjoys the nice weather.
Barry Island Barry Butlins 1992 – on YouTube