Scout Trek Cart


It was great to see the Scout trek cart back in use outside the Church Hall advertising the recently held Village Show.

When we reformed the village scout group back in the mid 1970s we had nothing. There was nothing around belonging to any previous group so we hunted down anything we considered could be of use to running the group. One day while in a Barry wood yard I spied an old red painted fire cart, probably used to carry fire hoses, sand buckets, pumps etc to the scene of any outbreak of fire helping to contain the blaze while awaiting the arrival of professionals. The cart was no longer in use. A discussion with the owner resulted in the village scout troop possessing a trek cart; minor repairs were completed and a fresh coat of paint was applied. It was a much loved item when I was a scout.

Around our annual camp sites the cart proved extremely useful for moving tents and boxes etc. One year some of the scouts pulled the trek cart from the village out to New Wallace farm with their camping gear for a weekend camp. Around the village we used it as a mobile cooking platform when we went around selling freshly baked Welsh Cakes in aid of a Red Nose day appeal. Wonderful to see it back in use.




Spring Forward, Fall Back



On the 29th of this month many of us will bask in the joy of knowing that the clocks go back at 2a.m. and we get an extra hour in bed. The idea has been around a long time and so has the controversy over its benefits or otherwise.

The idea of aligning waking hours to daylight hours is usually credited to the American Benjamin Franklin who first proposed the idea in 1784. Franklin was dismayed by the wasting of daylight hours and so proposed a way in which everyone would benefit from getting up as soon as it was light enough. He published that old proverb ‘early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.’ In a satirical letter to the editor of The Journal of Paris, Franklin suggested that waking up earlier in the summer would economise on candle usage; and calculated considerable savings. He proposed, tongue-in-cheek, taxing window shutters, rationing candles, and waking the public at sunrise by ringing church bells and firing cannons!

British Summer Time, also known as Daylight Saving Time, was the brainchild of a builder from Kent called William Willett. On his way back from riding his horse in Petts Wood in 1905, he noticed many of the blinds and curtains in the neighbouring houses were still drawn, even though it was light. This led him to consider the idea of adapting the time to better fit daylight hours. It seems Willett had an ulterior motive for his suggestion. He was an avid golfer who disliked cutting short his round at dusk.

Willett’s proposal, which he published in 1907, was to advance the clock during the summer months. His original proposal was for the clocks to be put forward by 80 minutes in total, in four steps of 20 minutes each Sunday at 2am during April and turned back in the same way in September. He argued that this would mean longer daylight hours for recreation, improving health and also saving the country money in lighting costs. Liberal Party MP Robert Pearce introduced the first Daylight Saving Bill to the House of Commons on 12 February 1908 but it failed to become law.

The idea resurfaced during World War One when the need to conserve coal made the suggestion of daylight saving more pertinent. The Summer Time Act was finally passed in the UK on 17th May 1916. Backed by press advertisements, the clocks went forward one hour on the following Sunday, 21st May. To return to GMT on 1st October 1916, people were advised to put their clocks forward by 11 hours rather than turning the hands back an hour, as in those days this would break the mechanism.

Sadly William Willett died of the flu in 1915 aged 58 and didn’t live to see his ideas become law. Fittingly though, there is a memorial sundial in Petts Wood, set permanently to Daylight Saving Time, in his honour. His ideas still form the basis of the system we use today. Advocates for it claim the lighter summer mornings save energy, reduce traffic accidents and get people out leading to them becoming more active with associated health benefits. Critics claim darker winter mornings are more dangerous for children going to school and mean farmers working longer hours before daylight.

Whichever side of the argument you favour, the fact remains that we need to make a note to put our clocks back at 2a.m. on October 29th. Nowadays of course our mobile phones, computers and laptops do not need reminding of this momentous event



Public Rights Of Way



If you, like me, occasionally criticise government for focus on the short term then we should all respond to the VoG Council’s request for comments (by November 30th) on the plan that will direct their work on Rights of Way over the next ten years. Responsibilities for maintenance of the legal record of public Rights of Way might suggest the council’s role is passive but the VoG clearly recognises the benefits offered by rights extending over nearly 600 Km of paths, bridleways and restricted byways with their proactive plans including “The Great Glamorgan Way” and upgrade of some paths to bridleways.

Copies of the Draft ROWIP, in Welsh and in English, are available from reception at the Civic Office, Holton Road, Barry and local libraries. Searching for ROWIP on the VoG website enables you to download a copy or read-online. This opportunity to contribute your views is too valuable to be missed.

Kenneth Hansen


Samuel Finley Breeze Morse





Samuel Finley Breeze Morse was born in Charlestown, Mass. on 27th April 1791. He was not a scientist – he was a professional artist. Educated at Phillip’s Academy at Andover, he graduated from Yale in 1810 and he lived in England from 1811 to 1815, exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1813. He spent the next ten years as an itinerant artist with a particular interest in portraiture. He returned to America in 1832 having been appointed Professor of Painting and Sculpture at the University of the City of New York. It was on this homeward voyage that he overheard a shipboard discussion on electromagnets. This was the seed out of which the electric telegraph grew. Morse is remembered for his Code, still used, and less for the invention that enabled it to be used, probably since landline telegraphy eventually gave way to wireless telegraphy.

The first message sent by the electric telegraph was “What hath God wrought”, from the Supreme Court Room in the Capitol to the railway depot at Baltimore on May 24th 1844. For his 80th birthday in 1871 a statue was unveiled in Central Park on June 10th, with two thousand telegraphists present. Morse was not, but was that evening at the Academy of Music for an emotional acclamation of his work.

Although most people nowadays would think of Morse code being used for long-distance radiotelegraphy, the land-line telegraph was standard until about 1880 for short-distance metropolitan communication. Over longer distances the telegraph tended to follow the line of the railways because there were no difficulties over rights-of-way. The lines were mostly overhead, since the problems of insulating underground lines proved insuperable for many years – indeed the development of the original line was hampered owing to this problem.
The telegraph, of course, came to be important for the military, being used first at Varna during the Crimean War in 1854. It was widely used in the American Civil War, where rapid deployment techniques for land-lines were developed; the Spanish-American War found the first use of telegraphy for newspaper correspondents (1898). The first military use for radio telegraphy was during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 – 5.

Cardiff And The Bute Family




Anyone living in the Cardiff area will have heard the word Bute. It is associated with many areas such as Bute Docks, Bute Street, Bute Park and many more. But how many of us know where the Bute family came from and how they came to own so much land in South Wales?

In October I joined a party from the Contemporary Arts Society of Wales to travel to Scotland to visit the ancestral home of the Bute family, which is called Mount Stuart, on the Isle of Bute.

The story begins in the 18th century with John Stuart, the 3rd Earl of Bute (1713-1792), who was not only a powerful statesman but also a passionate patron of the arts. In 1761, he became the Prime Minister of Great Britain and guided the young King George III. While his political career took him to the heights of power, his heart always belonged to Scotland and the beautiful Isle of Bute.

John Stuart’s son was also called John Stuart and he was the 4th Earl of Bute and the 1st Marquess of Bute. He married Charlotte Windsor (1746-1800) from whom he inherited vast tracts of land across South Wales including Cardiff Castle, Caerphilly Castle, and Castell Coch. Much of this land contained minerals including, of course, coal.

It was his grandson, John Crichton-Stuart, who would become the 2nd Marquess of Bute, that truly left an indelible mark on the family’s history and their connection to Cardiff. Born in 1793, he inherited the Marquessate at a young age and was determined to honour his family’s Scottish heritage while embracing new opportunities. He saw the opportunity to lease his land and received income from the extraction of coal and other minerals.

In the early 19th century, the Industrial Revolution was sweeping across Britain, transforming cities and landscapes. One of these cities was Cardiff, which was transitioning from a small port town into a bustling industrial hub due to its coal exports. The Marquess saw the potential in Cardiff and decided to invest in the city, turning it into a thriving metropolis.

The Bute family poured their resources into the development of Cardiff, including the construction of the Cardiff Docks, which became one of the world’s largest coal-exporting ports. They also financed the construction of numerous buildings, parks, and cultural institutions, leaving an enduring legacy in the city.

But the Bute family’s most famous contribution to Cardiff is undoubtedly Cardiff Castle. The Marquess and his architect, William Burges, undertook a massive restoration and renovation project that transformed the castle into a neo-gothic masterpiece. The interiors of the castle were adorned with

intricate designs, stained glass, and opulent furnishings, creating a stunning testament to the family’s commitment to art and culture.

As time went on, the Bute family continued to shape Cardiff’s growth and prosperity. They played a pivotal role in the development of the railways, enabling even greater access to the city’s coal exports. They also supported the establishment of schools, hospitals, and charitable institutions, ensuring that Cardiff became a city known not only for its industry but also for its vibrant culture and community.

The Bute family’s connection to Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute remained strong throughout the generations. The stunning Mount Stuart House, with its beautiful gardens and rich history, became a symbol of their enduring love for Scotland. On our visit on a sunny day in early October, the gardens looked magnificent while the house itself was a veritable palace. The style is called Gothic Revival and the scale of it is simply vast. The ornate ceilings are as high as the roof of a cathedral, the marble was carved in Italy and the craftsmen brought their work to Bute. The stained glass is superb, and the intricate wooden panels were carved in the Bute workshops in Cardiff before being shipped to Scotland. If you are ever in Scotland, it is well worth the effort of taking the short ferry ride across to the Isle of Bute to visit this exceptional Mount Stuart.

Here in Cardiff, we can explore the legacy of the Bute family by wandering through Cardiff Castle’s opulent rooms, strolling along the picturesque Bute Park, and learning about the city’s industrial heritage. Meanwhile, on the Isle of Bute, Mount Stuart House stands as a testament to the family’s deep-rooted connection to their Scottish roots.

In September 1947, the Fifth Marquess of Bute handed over the keys of Cardiff Castle to Lord Mayor, Alderman George Ferguson. In what was described as “a gesture of truly royal nature” the Castle, along with its parkland, was presented as a gift to the people of the city. As reports at the time reflected, it was “no longer Cardiff Castle but Cardiff’s Castle”. Did you know that if you live or work in Cardiff then you are entitled to your very own Key to the Castle with free admission to this world-class heritage attraction for 3 years? To obtain your own key you simply have to visit the Castle ticket office with proof that you live or work in the City.

The Bute family’s story is one of ambition, vision, and dedication to both their Scottish heritage and the city of Cardiff. Their contributions continue to shape the cultural and architectural landscape of these two remarkable places, ensuring that their legacy lives on for generations to come.

Alun Davies

A Resident Remembers


After bombing raids on Cardiff in 1941 which saw houses in Grangetown flattened by the use of parachute bombs; these explosives were naval mines that were dropped by parachute and would explode at roof level causing maximum impact to the surrounding area. An 8 year old Brian Williams was evacuated, along with the other children. Brian was sent to The Marish Farm in Brecon where he spent the next 18 months getting to grips with farming life in rural Wales. The farmer’s first words to him were “you’re in the country now boy so make sure you shut the gates”. He made a nostalgic return this year, 82 years after his first visit, where he met with the farm’s current owners and told them of his time there. Threshing wheat, shearing sheep, riding horses and by all accounts thoroughly enjoying his time on the farm.



Beauty And The Beast

Beauty And The Beast

Whether you’re enjoying a ramble along this stretch of the Wales Coastal Path, enjoying a coffee or hot Welsh cakes from the café, or just stopped by to take in the views, Nash Point continues to wow visitors every day. With a large bedrock beach full of fossils and fertile rock pools, stunning rugged cliffs and rock formations, the views are topped off with the majestic Nash Point Lighthouse. In 1977 a rare plant, the Tuberous Thistle, was even discovered growing within the lighthouse station and the grounds were subsequently declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest. However Nash Point has a much darker, even tragic history, meaning walkers and seamen still need to keep their safety firmly in mind.

For those walking the coastal path the Summer experience, of course, changes dramatically in the Autumn when the reason for the Nash Point lighthouse becomes increasingly clear. Together with frequent storms and thick fog, the strong currents have led to many a shipping disaster with many vessels driven aground on the Nash Sands. There is in fact a long history of shipwrecks in the area. In 2019 excavations carried out near Nash Point by Cardiff University unearthed bones thought to be from shipwreck victims from Tudor and Stuart times. There are many local tales of the period when smugglers and wreckers apparently lured vessels onto rocks, attacked the crew, and looted the cargo.

It was a shipping tragedy in 1831 which led to the building of the Nash Point lighthouse. Frolic was an early wooden, steam powered vessel based in Bristol and used for a cargo service between West Wales and Bristol. It was also one of the first paddle steamers to be operated in the Bristol Channel as a ferry service. Frolic was very popular because before the age of the railway it was quicker to travel by sea than road. It’s life came to a violent end whilst sailing from Haverfordwest during a violent storm on the night of 16th March. The 34 metre long ship came to grief on Nash sands at around 3.00 am. In all, 78 lives were lost, consisting of 63 passengers, including high ranking officers and a General, many women and children, and 15 crew. Their remains were washed ashore from Barry to Southerndown and buried in various churchyards along the coastal area of the Bristol Channel.

The public outcry at the loss of the Frolic led to the Nash Point Lighthouses at Marcross being built by Trinity House in 1832 to warn shipping of the danger. Originally, two towers 300 metres apart had fixed lights powered by paraffin. When navigating the Bristol Channel the pilot would sail so that these were lined up in his sights, ensuring that the vessel would be south of Nash Sandbank. The Lighthouse Tower (originally painted black and white stripes) near the lighthouse keepers’ cottages, once housed the west or low light and was 25 metres high. The Lighthouse Tower with the east or high light is 37 metres high and is nearer the fog horn. At the beginning of the 20th century the low light was removed and the high light was changed to a catadioptric lens with white and red group flashing. It was modernised again in 1968 when it was electrified. Interestingly Nash Point Lighthouse was the last manned lighthouse in Wales to go automatic when it became computer controlled in 1998 and the keepers left two years later. The fog horn is no longer used for shipping purposes but is heard when it is sounded on special occasions.

Shipwrecks and other related debris still litter the beaches and coastal waters. In 1948 there were 24 notified wrecks in the Bristol Channel. By 1950, 14 had been cleared by either demolition charges being placed on board, or if sunk on a muddy bottom, by placing explosive charges around them, and covering them by exploding the charges and depositing a thick layer of mud over them. One ship, a tanker of over 10,000 tons that was sunk off Nash Point, required the use of 129 tons of explosives by HMS Tronda to breakup the wreck. We were given a sharp and somewhat surprising reminder of just how strong the Bristol Channel currents can be in 2004. After the flood disaster at Boscastle, Cornwall in that year, a boat from the area washed ashore at Porthcawl and along the Heritage Coast a number of different items were found such as “Boscastle Tourist,” “Fish & Chips” and “Car Park” signs.






People’s Collection Wales is a free website dedicated to bringing together Wales’s heritage. The Collection is full of fascinating photographs, documents, audio and video recordings and stories that link to the history, culture and people of Wales. These items have been contributed to the website not only by national institutions but also individuals, local community groups and small museums, archives and libraries across Wales. This endeavour was established in 2010. It is Welsh Government funded, and the three leading partners organisations are Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, National Library of Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Each local authority in Wales has a small team of volunteers dedicated to collating, scanning, describing and then uploading to the website historical photographs and documents pertinent to its locality.

So far many locations of the Vale of Glamorgan are generally well represented: but as yet not so Wenvoe! These three are the only images of Wenvoe which have been uploaded to date Therefore, if you are in possession of old photographs or pictures or postcards that you would like to see  preserved for posterity and shared with the world, then please loan them to Ian Moody (28 Walston Road  –  20594573) or Tony Hodge (10 Walston Road  –  07532 222 381) each with a note to describe them on the  website: Who?, Why?, What? and When? We will look after them as if they were our own and return them  safely to you. Thanks





Maybe not, but 80 years ago it was a different story. As a child I remember my mother who at the time was living with her parents in Ely, telling me that they had a rather handsome American serviceman billeted with them.

Much to the consternation of my father, who at the time was fighting his own war in Jamaica, and judging by the photographs of the time, involved a lot of sun bathing, sipping Blue Mountain coffee and consuming copious amounts of locally brewed beer. Following the recent anniversary of the D-Day landings, I started to ponder the story that my mother had told me as a child. Where would this American serviceman have been based? Well I need not look any further than our own village of Wenvoe. Just to the west of the Wenvoe Castle estate was a military base made up of huts and tents, with its own airfield running alongside Port Road East.



1943 it was the Air Observation Post L4 that accompanied the U.S. Army Artillery Battalion. 1944 the 115th. Field Artillery Battalion U.S. Army. A division of the 90th. V11 Corps.

After they departed to the D-Day embarkation ports they were replaced by follow up troops of the 38th. Field Artillery Battalion of the 2nd. Division V Corps.

For a short time the base was used to house German and Italian POWs. Today there is nothing left to show of the airbase that housed a small town larger than Wenvoe. Nature has taken back control, the concrete parade ground and hut bases no longer visible.

The memories of our American allies who, for a short time made Wenvoe their home will now all have gone. But let us not forget them or the sacrifices made by those who did not return to their families and loved ones.

Robert Bird F.B.H.I. (retired)

For those wishing to explore the area Grid Ref. ST12470

(Photograph courtesy of the Welsh Assembly Photographic Archive)




6 July saw an international celebration following the conclusion of three years of restoration work on the Union Chain Bridge linking England and Scotland across the river Tweed and the unveiling of an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). There is also an important Welsh connection as all the ironwork was made in Wales, at the Pontypridd chainworks of Brown Lenox. Now 203 years old the extensive restoration work saw some of the ironwork replaced in a complex project costing £10.5m. The bridge is now the oldest vehicle-carrying suspension bridge and with a 449ft (137m) span and was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened in 1820. It was designed by Captain Samuel Brown who introduced iron chain cables into the Royal Navy.

The structure is Grade I listed in England and a Grade A listed structure in Scotland and was singled out for honour by the ASCE, supported by the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Japanese Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE), along with many members of the local community from both sides of the Tweed. In terms of this accolade, it now joins the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. Amongst the supporters were the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge who had campaigned for many years to support the preservation of the Union Chain Bridge and to conserve, protect and enhance its immediate environment for public benefit. See and http://union

Closer to home the website; Crossing the Severn Estuary has been taken forward by the South Wales Institute of Engineers Educational Trust (SWIEET 2007) to continue the work by the Severn Bridges Trust (SBT). SBT trustees are all Chartered Civil Engineers who have enjoyed an involvement in the design, construction and maintenance of one or both of the Severn bridges. The Trust have sought to provide a permanent record of the many professions and disciplines involved in the First Severn Bridge and the Second Severn Crossing [now called ‘The Prince
of Wales Bridge’] together with approaches, the Severn Tunnel and former ferry crossings of the Estuary.

In 2016, the year marking the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Severn Bridge and the 20th Anniversary of the completion of the Second Severn Crossing, the website was launched to provide a permanent public display expanded with engineering detail for those who are interested and to provide information on the background to both bridges as well as information on earlier crossings of the Estuary. It celebrates the broad spectrum of engineering disciplines and other professions involved, and the environmental and construction achievements of these two crossings. The website has been added to since then but is now complete.

Like the story of the Union Chain Bridge Crossing the Severn Estuary presents an inspirational example of the work of engineers and what they can achieve and contribute to society.

Stephen K. Jones

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