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Barry Docks & Railway Co. Offices

This was the headquarters of an outstandingly successful company which flourished at the beginning of the 20th century. It was completed in 1900.
Red Wheel Site:
Transport Mode(s):
Vale of Glamorgan Council, Barry Docks, Barry, CF63 4RT
CF63 4RT
Visitor Centre:

About Barry Docks & Railway Co. Offices

This was the head office of the Barry Docks & Railway Company and was opened in 1900. It is an impressive building in brick with Portland stone dressings, a massive pediment, a domed clock tower and classical decoration. It is the only surviving example of Barry Railway infrastructure and is listed Grade II*. Together with the statue outside the front door, it stands as a memorial to a remarkable man, David Davies of Llandinam, a coal owner, who founded the outstandingly successful railway and dock company.

Towards the end of the 19th century, coal exports from South Wales were rising fast and the existing infrastructure was struggling, especially the Taff Vale Railway and the docks at Cardiff. The new port at Barry offered capacity for larger ships, a harbour needing less dredging, and closer proximity to the open sea. The railway had to struggle to reach the coal mines, building tunnels and viaducts, and generally having greater distances to travel, but it was owned by the coal owners themselves, so they used it and it was very efficient. Its infrastructure was of the highest quality and, in spite of the handicaps, it became the most successful railway in south Wales, by far.

As with most of the industrial activity in South Wales, the port and railway failed to recover from the 1926 coal strike and after World War II decline set in. The Barry Railway routes were the first to go and the assets were demolished. Other than the docks themselves, the office building is the sole surviving representative of a brilliant commercial undertaking. Other remnants are only fragments.

By rail: it is close to Barry Docks Station.

By road: it is close to the A 4055.

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