By Karl-James Langford

When I was a child with my dad, it seemed that going into a pub was a Barry and District pre-disposition.

Today there are around 40 pubs in the area, but I am pretty sure double that number existed 40 years ago. I never really understood why we had so many public houses, but now I realise with so many gone, they were and still are for those remaining, important social hubs.

In my weekly column, I have not been asked, "Karl-James Langford why don't you write about public houses?"

The simple answer is many of those with history are now gone. But, I can turn to a few that still survive, that have a great history such as the Blue Anchor Aberthaw, or even the King William IV Cadoxton.

This week we turn briefly - thanks to a photograph from Peter Sampson - to the King William IV.

Popularly known as the 'Billy', is a very important active pub and social centre to the community along Bridge Street, Cadoxton. Constructed out of the local limestone, and manufactured brick.

One source mentions that the pub sees its origins in the mid 1700s and certainly that is possible, although The Billy has witnessed huge changes, and has survived all the public houses closures. The Three Bells pub around the corner; besides the church, was saved from demolition and converted into a house. But, The Billy still serves a great pint.

To serve as a memorial to the history of the King William IV we must add this. Very few pubs ever keep their original names, in fact they have changed their names so many times, that the original has long since been lost from memory.

But, our pub 'The Billy', was marked on the 1878 ordnance survey map as the, 'William the Fourth P. H.', and must have been of the title from around the start of the old King William IV, who came of that title in 1830 . Also bordering along side the Baptist Church (marked on the same map).

However, The Billy was nearly served a final orders notice for conversion in 2011, but a local consortium saved the pub, to be a local family friendly community drinking hole with a bright future. The plan to renovate the property went ahead and the place of a pint still remains King.

There will be many more public houses to explore in the Barry and District. Keep reading.