A WALKING tour highlighting Barry Dock’s gruesome and naughty past in Victorian Times is set to provide an alternative to Barry Island bliss.

The Victorian Barry Dock tour, led by Nic Hodges with research assistance from wife Shirley, spans the years 1890 to 1910 and brings to a modern-day audience tales of illegal drinking dens, brothels, gangs, and criminal acts with an affair and murder also thrown in.

The inaugural walk - intended as a practice exercise - saw invited guests and some who had viewed a social media leak - take an easy stroll around the Castleland area.

The tour took place on Thursday, August 23.

The free tour, starting in the pocket car park at Thompson Street, took around two hours and ended up with a tour-group invasion of The Castle Hotel, in Jewel Street, which was the scene of a murderous incident which reflected circumstances at the time.

Participants heard how the Dock and the seafarers had become involved in the development of the town and as well as some of the politically incorrect vernacular of the time.

Shabeens, illegal drinking dens, littered the area and alcohol was one of the factors which fuelled the crime.

Knife-crimes - stabbings and slashings - dominated the Barry streets, with sailors needing the tools for rope-cutting on board ship.

Fights over beer were the norm and gun shots near Holton school didn’t cause too much of a fuss.

Amy Evans, famed for her health work in the town, wasn’t beyond reproach - writing a letter to The Barry Dock News citing architect proof that a policeman couldn’t possibly have viewed, from a window, her having an illicit affair.

Gangs arrived from Liverpool to get a piece of the action and police, magistrates and judges kept tabs on the often miniscule fines.

Richard Butler, 43, of Court Road, said he had moved to the town in November last year and was keen to discover more about the town in which he lives.

Mr Butler said: “It was really interesting, the level of violence and to visit side streets I’ve never seen before and would never have seen.

“It was really good and I had a good time.”

Tour leader Nic Hodges said: “It looks like it was well received and it will be good if it brings extra business to our town.

“It was great fun researching it and I would like to thank the Barry library staff, the Glamorgan Archives and the Barry & District News’ predecessor - The Barry Dock News - for the help.”

For tour details and forthcoming tour dates, visit the Victorian Barry Dock Facebook page