Barry Island


Barry Island

Barry Island ( _cy. Ynys y Barri) is a district, peninsula and seaside resort, forming part of the town of Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales. It is named after the 6th century Saint Baruc. Barry's stretch of coast, on the Bristol Channel ( _cy. Môr Hafren), has the world's second highest tidal range, of convert|15|m|ft.cite web
title= BBC website
url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire/weather/2004/01/severn_bore.shtml
accessdate=2008-09-09
publisher=BBC
year=2004
work=Making a splash: the Severn Bore
] second only to Bay of Fundy in Eastern Canada.cite web
title= JNCC website
url=http://www.jncc.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=2066
accessdate=2008-09-09
publisher=Joint Nature Conservation Committee
year=2001
work=Severn Estuary
]

The peninsula was an island until the 1880s when it was linked to the mainland as the town of Barry expanded. This was partly due to the opening of Barry Dock by the Barry Railway Company. Established by David Davies, the docks now link up the gap which used to form Barry Island.

Although the Barry Island used to be home to a Butlins Holiday Camp, it is now known more for its beach and Barry Island Pleasure Park.

The island's railway station serves as one of the termini on the Vale of Glamorgan Line and connects to Cardiff ( _cy. "Caerdydd"), about convert|9|mi|km north north east of Barry, in 33 minutes.

History

Prehistoric Origins

The area around Barry Island shows extensive evidence of modern human occupation. Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age microlith flint tools have been found at Friars Point on Barry Island and near Wenvoe,cite book | author = G Dowell | title = Archaeology in Wales Volume 11 pp. 10-11| publisher = Council for British Archaeology | year = 1971] and Neolithic or New Stone Age polished stone axe-heads were discovered in St. Andrews Major.cite book | author = H. N. Savory | title = Axes of Pembrokeshire Stone from Glamorganshire Volume XIII pp. 245-6| publisher = Board of Celtic Studies | year = 1948-50] As the area was heavily wooded and movement would have been restricted, it is likely that people also came to what was to become Wales by boat, apparently from the Iberian Peninsula.cite web|title=Genes link Celts to Basques|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/1256894.stm|accessdate=2008-08-05|publisher=BBC|date=2001-04-03|work=BBC News website] They cleared the forests to establish pasture and to cultivate the land. These neolithic colonists, who integrated with the indigenous people, gradually changed from being hunter-gatherers to settled farmers. They built the long barrows at St Lythans and Tinkinswood, which date to around 6,000 BP, only convert|3|mi|km and convert|4|mi|km to the north of Barry Island, respectively.cite web|title=St Lythans Chambered Long Cairn, Maesyfelin; Gwal-y-Filiast|url=http://www.coflein.gov.uk/pls/portal/coflein.w_details?inumlink=6059982|accessdate=2008-08-08|publisher=Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales|date=2007-07-26|work=The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales website]

New cultures

In common with the people living all over Great Britain, over the following centuries the people living around what is now known as Barry assimilated new immigrants and exchanged ideas of the Bronze Age and Iron Age Celtic cultures. Together with the approximate areas now known as Brecknockshire, Monmouthshire and the rest of Glamorgan, Barry Island was settled by a Celtic British tribe called the Silures. There have been five Bronze Age burial mounds, or cairns, recorded on Friars Point.cite web|title=FRIAR'S POINT MOUND (CAIRN III)
url=http://www.coflein.gov.uk/pls/portal/coflein.w_details?inumlink=6058894
accessdate=2008-09-11|publisher=Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales|date=2007-07-26|work=The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales website
]

Although the Roman occupation left no physical impression on Barry Island, there were Romano British settlements nearby - in Barry and Llandough. These people embraced the Roman religion of Christianity and dedicated a chapel to St Baruc, a disciple of Saint Cadoc. Having forgotten to bring St Cadoc's reading matter with him, on a journey from the island of Flat Holm, St Baruc was sent back and he drowned in the Bristol Channel on the return journey. He was buried on Barry Island and the ruins of the chapel that was dedicated to him can still be seen in Friars Road. His feast day is on 27 September.

The Vikings launched raids in the area and Barry Island was known to be a raider base in 1087.cite web | title = Times Past | publisher = Barry Town Council | url = http://www.barrytowncouncil.gov.uk/english/history.html | accessdate = 2007-04-10]

Gerallt Cymro, (c.1146 – c.1223)

The famous Norman/Welsh chronicler Gerallt Cymro (c.1146 – c.1223), described the origin of his family name in his 'The Itinerary of Archbishop Baldwin Through Wales' (also known as 'The Itinerary and Description of Wales'). Gerallt Cymro, also known as _fr. Gerald de Barri, _la. Giraldus Cambrensis and _en. Gerald of Wales, wrote "Not far from Caerdyf (sic) is a small island situated near the shore of the Severn, called Barri, from St. Baroc, who formerly lived there, and whose remains are deposited in a chapel overgrown with ivy, having been transferred to a coffin. From hence a noble family, of the maritime parts of South Wales, who owned this island and the adjoining estates, received the name of de Barri."cite web
title=BARRY ISLAND, WELL SITE
url=http://ia351439.us.archive.org/1/items/itinerarythroug00girauoft/itinerarythroug00girauoft_bw.pdf
accessdate=2008-09-14
publisher=University of Toronto
year=2008
work="The Itinerary and Description of Wales", by Giraldus Cambrensis, Everyman's Library, Edited by Ernest Rhys, with an Introduction by W. Llewelyn Williams,] January 1908|format=PDF
] Going on to describe the island's well,cite web
title=BARRY ISLAND, WELL SITE
url=http://www.coflein.gov.uk/pls/portal/coflein.w_details?inumlink=6058844
accessdate=2008-09-14
publisher=The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales
year=2008
work=The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales website
] he wrote: "It is remarkable that, in a rock near the entrance of the island, there is a small cavity, to which, if the ear is applied, a noise is heard like that of smiths at work, the blowing of bellows, strokes of hammers, grinding of tools, and roaring of furnaces ; and it might easily be imagined that such noises, which are continued at the ebb and flow of the tides, were occasioned by the influx of the sea under the cavities of the rocks." The 1908, Everyman edition contains a brief description of Barry island by the Benedictine monk, Hugh Paulinus de Cressy (c.1605-1674): "Barri Island is situated on the coast of Glamorganshire; and, according to Cressy, took its name from St. Baruc, the hermit, who resided, and was buried there. The Barrys in Ireland, as well as the family of Giraldus, who were lords of it, are said to have derived their names from this island. Leland, in speaking of this island, says, " The passage into Barrey isle at ful se is a flite shot over, as much as the Tamise is above the bridge. At low water, there is a broken causey to go over, or els over the shalow streamelet of Barrey-brook on the sands. The isle is about a mile in cumpace, and hath very good corne, grasse, and sum wood; the ferme of it worth aio a yere. There ys no dwelling in the isle, but there is in the middle of it a fair little chapel of St. Barrok, where much pilgrimage was usid." Ernest Rhys, the Editor, adds in 1908: "The "fair little chapel " has disappeared, and "Barry Island" is now, since the construction of the great dock, connected with the mainland, it is covered with houses, and its estimated capital value is now £250,000."

Modern Times

Until 1896, when a rail link was completed from the mainland via a 250 yard long pier structure, the only access to Barry Island had been either by foot across the sand and mud at low tide, or when the tide was in, by Yellow Funnel Line paddle steamer. Over 150,000 visitors were recorded arriving one August Bank Holiday weekend, mostly by train.cite web
title=To Clemett's History of Barry website
url=http://www.barrywales.co.uk/tomclemett/walkbi.asp
accessdate=2008-09-09
publisher=T. Clemett
year=2002
work=A Walk Around Barry Island
] Further tourist attractions were developed on the island, and by 1934 the number of visitors to the fairground during the August Bank Holiday week was over 400,000.

The ashes of Fred West, British serial killer, were scattered on Barry Island after his body had been cremated on 29th of March, 1995.

On July 25 2008, Radio 1 featured Barry Island in one of their summer events, broadcasting a special edition of The Scott Mills Show live from the island as part of the show's regular "Barryoke" theme. [cite web|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/summer/2008/barry/index.shtml|title=BBC - Radio 1 - Summer 2008 - Barry Island|publisher=BBC|accessdate=2008-07-25]

Butlins Holiday Camp

Butlins

Billy Butlin's inspiration for his holiday empire came from a (less than happy) holiday to Barry Island in his youth, when he'd been locked out of his B&B all day by his landlady.cite web
title= Bygone Butlins website
url=http://www.bygonebutlins.com/barry/
accessdate=2008-09-08
publisher=BygoneButlins.com
year=2007
work=Barry Island
] He finally decided to build, what was to become, the last and smallest of the Butlins Holiday Camps at Barry Island in 1965. The Rank Organisation, Butlin's owners, took out a 99-year lease on the headland at Nell's Point, in 1966.cite web
title= walesonline
url=http://www.walesonline.co.uk/expats/expats-newsletter/page.cfm?objectid=12533600&method=full&siteid=50082
accessdate=2008-09-08
publisher=Media Wales Ltd.
date=2003-01-14
work=Barry Island in the news
] Building work began there in the winter and the gates opened to campers on 18th June 1966.

Barry Island holiday camp contained all the tried and tested Butlins ingredients: the famous Butlins' Redcoats; funfair; early morning wake up with Radio Butlin; dining hall (with the cheers going up when a waitress drops a plate); indoor and outdoor swimming pools; ballroom; boating lake; tennis courts; sports field; table tennis and snooker tables; amusement arcade; medical centre; theatre; arcades of shops; the Pig and Whistle Showbar, etc. A 430 m chairlift system was opened In 1967. There were 800 chalets, all very basic, 'no-frills' and designed to modern 1960s standards, which, on the outside, meant wooden panels and flat roofs.

The camp continued to be enormously successful throughout the 1970s but, on 29th October 1986 Butlins announced that Barry Island holiday camp would have no place in the company's future and would close after Christmas. The last campers left on 27th December 1986, with the camp officially closing on 31st December 1986.cite web
title= Butlins Barry Island website
url=http://www.butlinsbarryisland.com/id2.html
accessdate=2008-09-08
publisher=ButlinsBarryIsland.com
year=2007
work=Butlin's
]

Majestic Holidays

The camp was sold to Majestic Holidays and re-opened on 23rd May 1987 as Majestic Barry Island, and subsequently renamed Barry Island Resort. Majestic's plans to completely demolish and rebuild the site didn't reach fruition and only amounted to the refurbishment of the entertainment complex, completely replacing the swimming pools and removing the chairlift. Majestic's continued with their Redcoats until 1993, but they became Bluecoats in 1994, following Butlins' threat of legal action over the name.

Maintenance had now become such an issue, especially with the chalets' flat roofs and wooden paneling, that a clause was added to the booking conditions limiting legal action to 20% of the cost of the holiday.cite web
title= Butlins Barry Island website
url=http://www.butlinsbarryisland.com/id47.html
accessdate=2008-09-08
publisher=ButlinsBarryIsland.com
year=2007
work=The Chalets
] Following numerous complaints about the camp, the BBC TV show That's Life investigated. The report aired In January 1989 and tore Barry Island Resort apart. The report, called "It's Barry Awful, Its Barry Hell" ended with the presenter, Esther Rantzen, saying "If your off to Barry Island this summer, send us a postcard". They did. By the time the summer ended in 1989, That's Life had received about 8,000 postcards in praise of the holiday camp, with only about 40 complaints.cite web
title= Butlins Barry Island website
url=http://www.butlinsbarryisland.com/id44.html
accessdate=2008-09-09
publisher=ButlinsBarryIsland.com
year=2007
work=Barry Island TV Appearances
] Majestic Holidays' owner, Rick Wright, sued and Majestic received £500,000 damages.

By 1996, with storm damage causing more maintenance problems, Vale of Glamorgan Council threatened to refuse renewal of Barry Island Resort's entertainments license, unless work was carried out to improve the now 30-year-old site. Majestic's now trading company, Insurebowls Ltd, continued through the summer, but closed the camp for good on 7th November 1996, owing local companies thousands of pounds in upaid bills,cite web
title= Butlins Barry Island website
url=http://www.butlinsbarryisland.com/id120.html
accessdate=2008-09-09
publisher=ButlinsBarryIsland.com
year=2007
work=Majestic Background Information
] although they had originally intended to reopen the following year.

Modern Times

The holiday camp site was sold for £2.25m to Vale of Glamorgan Council, in October 1997, who demolished the camp and sold it to Bovis Homes for housing development. Now known as Bryn Llongwr, two, three, four and five bedroom houses were built on the site between 2002 and 2003,cite web
title= Butlins Barry Island website
url=http://www.butlinsbarryisland.com/id110.html
accessdate=2008-09-09
publisher=ButlinsBarryIsland.com
year=2007
work=After Closure Information
] with the remaining two original camp buildings and outdoor pool being demolished in early 2005.

Film and Barry Island

Between Butlins' closure and Majestic's reopening the camp was used as for filming scenes in the "Shangri-La" holiday camp from the "Doctor Who" serial "Delta and the Bannermen".

The island was also used for location shooting for "Doctor Who", in the 2005 series episodes "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances", standing in for a bomb site in 1941 London.

The BBC television series "Gavin & Stacey", is partly set in Barry

References and notes

External links

* [http://www.barryislandpleasureparkonline.co.uk/ Barry Island Pleasure Park Online]
* Whitmore Bay Surf Life Saving Club : [http://www.whitmorebayslsc.co.uk Voluntary Lifeguard Service at Barry Island]
* [http://www.whitmorebayslsc.co.uk/image Photograph Gallery of Whitmore Bay, Barry Island]
* [http://www.butlinsbarryisland.com/ ButlinsBarryIsland.com : The history of the Barry Island Holiday Camp]
* [http://www.bygonebutlins.com/barry/ The history of the Butlins Holiday Camp, including Barry Island]


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