The Port of Barry lies on the north shores of the Bristol Channel about 11 kilometers south-southwest of Cardiff, the capital of Wales, in the United Kingdom. It is the Vale of Glamorgan County’s administrative and shopping center, popular seaside resort, and a busy port. In 2001, over 50 thousand people lived in the Port of Barry.
The area around the Port of Barry has known humans since antiquity. Archaeological evidence suggests human habitation on Barry Island in the Middle Stone Age, and New Stone Age stone ax-heads have been found in the St. Andrews Major area. Bronze Age burial mounds and remains of an Iron Age fortification and a farmstead have been excavated there.
Farms existed there during the Roman occupation, and Roman bricks and tiles were used to build some churches, and a Roman villa was found in nearby Llandough. In 1980, a 3rd Century Roman building, thought to be a naval supply depot, was excavated at the shore in Glan-y-Mor.
In 1087, Barry Island was used by Vikings as a base for raids on nearby villages. The site of the base was occupied again in the 6th and 7th Centuries and in the 10th Century. The name of the Port of Barry comes from St. Baruc, whose was buried on Barry Island after drowning in the Bristol Channel.
After the Normans conquered England, the area was granted to the de Umfraville family who then granted a sub-manor to the de Barri family who built Barry Castle. By the lath Century, The Port of Barry was a village with its own church and a small port. However, the Black Death visited the village, decimating its population. It took almost three centuries to recover. In the 17th Century, the parish tax list reported thirteen houses in the Port of Barry.
The Port of Barry was still largely an agricultural village in the late 19th Century, but it began to grow quickly as the coal trade appeared. In the 1880s, its role as a coal port was established. The Barry Railway Company built docks there, and the first basin opened in 1889. In its first year of operation, the port handled over a million tons of cargo. By 1903, it moved more than nine million tons, and the port was well-developed with cold stores, an ice factory, flour mills, and ship repair yards. In 1913, the Port of Barry was the world’s biggest port exporting coal. With the railroad and developed docks, Barry Island became a favorite resort.
Today, the modern Port of Barry is a manufacturing center and industrial area, but the docks are still an important part of the local economy. Most industry is located in the port area, including major chemical producing companies. No longer a real island due to the construction of docks and port facilities, the beach at Barry Island is a popular holiday spot and the location for scenes of the popular Doctor Who television series.
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