THE HISTORY of Barry and Penarth has been preserved in a huge collection of photos.

Photographs of the Vale of Glamorgan, dating back to the 19th and 21st century, have been collated and curated by libraries in the Vale and submitted to the People's Collection Wales project.

The project, which now includes 3,000 photos of the Vale, aims to capture and celebrate the rich history of Wales with unique stories and snapshots. Staff and volunteers at Barry library have hosted a ‘heritage station’ allowing people and heritage organisations to take their photos to be scanned and catalogued for the collection.

Barry And District News:

This unusual image, taken in 1953, of circus elephants in Watchtower Bay in Barry is one of the thousands featured. The photo was taken by Eileen Norman and is now owned by Alison Wood and John Howells.

The project also includes a photo, dating back to March 31, 1919, of staff and patients from St John’s Hospital in Penarth.

Barry And District News:

This was contributed by Phillip Berry, the son of Beatrice Berry who volunteered at the hospital as a nurse.

Another photo in the collection was taken at Cowbridge’s Fancy Dress Carnival in 1929 by Kitty Watts. It shows Kitty’s daughter, Judy Watts, dressed as Little Red Riding Hood along with the family maid, Lilian Davy, dressed as a nun.

Barry And District News:

Senior Librarian at Penarth Library, Melanie Weeks, said: “To have uploaded 3,000 pictures to the People’s Collection Wales is a real achievement and one that couldn’t have happened without the dedication of a great team of volunteers.

“Every picture tells a story, but among my favourites are the circus elephants bathing in Watchtower Bay and the fancy dress outfits at Cowbridge Carnival in the 1920s.”

The People’s Collection Wales project is funded and led by the Welsh Government, the National Library of Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. The full collection is available at

The library teams are looking to recruit more volunteers – with basic computer skills - to help with the project. If interested call Melanie Weeks on 01446 773941 or e-mail