A NEW book offering unique insight into the eventful past of Barry Island goes on sale today (Thursday, June 15), documenting some of the lesser known historical aspects of the famous seaside resort.

Written by local archaeologists Mark and Jonathan Lambert, ‘Secret Barry Island’ examines the history of the area dating back to the Mesolithic period of 12,000 years ago, all the way up to the present day. Covering a wide range of topics, the book also looks at the impacts of the Roman occupation, the Medieval period, the smuggling trade and the tourism boom of the 19th Century on the area.

The book is the latest in the ‘Secret’ series commissioned by Amberley Publishing, who specialise in works on local and specialist history.

The foreword reads: "For many people Barry Island is synonymous with sun, sea and sand, and certainly has its place as a part of the great British tradition of the seaside holiday.

"Despite the fact that Barry Island was not the archetypical seaside town replete with a grand pier and neat rows of elegant Victorian hotels and houses – such as existed at other Welsh seaside resorts – Barry Island could nonetheless boast two sandy beaches, a fairground, and a host of quintessential seaside amusements."

"This book, however, is not overly concerned with the island’s heyday as a holiday destination. This is well-trodden ground. This book aims to reveal a far more elusive and distant history."

The book also features nearly 100 photographs - many of which date back to the 19th and early 20th century – which extensively picture the myriad changes and developments to the promenade and docks over the last 150 years.

Authors Mark and Jonathan Lambert are lifelong residents of Barry and, having both graduated with degrees in archaeology from Cardiff University, have been involved in numerous archaeological projects throughout the Vale over many years. They also run a blog, titled ‘Hidden Glamorgan’, although ‘Secret Barry Island’ represents the pair’s first foray as professional authors.

The book is now available from various local and national retailers, or can be purchased directly from the publishers at www.amberley-books.com/coming-soon/secret-barry-island.html.