This landmark building stands out on the skyline of Barry, overlooking the docks. It was built between 1897 and 1900 in the Baroque Revival style as the General Offices of the Barry Dock and Railway Company, whose staff had been working in temporary cabins.
‘The Shipping World’ reported in 1897,
“On the ground floor will be the offices of the General Manager, Traffic Manager, Assistant Manager, Collector of Clerks, with a fine entrance hall, corridors and massive staircase leading to the upper portion of the building. On the 1st floor will be the quarters of the Resident Engineer and Secretary with their respective staffs, Boardroom, accountants and auditors rooms and drawing office with apartments for inspectors and clerks.”
It was a luxurious building, costing £59,000, with marble fireplaces, teak panelling and an impressive clock tower. The architect, Arthur E Bell of Cardiff and Barry, designed it around a calendar theme, and it was built by James Allen & Sons of Cardiff. Watch the animation to learn more about this.
In 1984 an electrical fault caused a fire which virtually destroyed the roof and 2nd floor. But when the clock mechanism collapsed, it was held by the patented Dawney ceiling which saved the building. Happily, the original makers of the clock, William Potts of Leeds, were able to make an exact replica apart from one change – the clock is now electronic and does not need winding!
Barry has a busy programme of annual events ranging from open-air cinema, triathlons, Gwyl Fach y Fro and artist-led events.