A POET – who moved to Barry in 1983 – has recorded a CD of his poetry inspired by the history of Barry Docks.

When 59-year-old Francis Page came from Malta to Barry looking for work he was fascinated to learn about the history of Barry Docks which – in its heyday – attracted workers from all over the world.

Barry Docks opened for business in 1889 and, by 1913, Barry was the largest coal export port in the world.

“When I first came to Barry my brother was living on Holton Road,” said Mr Page.

“There was a magnificent view of Barry Dock offices and he told me that was once the gateway to the world.”

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Mr Page, who was 21 at the time, found work as a painter and decorator, heading to the pub after work where people would tell tales of Barry Docks’ past.

“I was fascinated by it,” continued Mr Page.

“Older people and ex-sailors would say how busy and metropolitan the docks once were – they say that you could walk across the ships to get to the other side of the docks; that’s how busy it was.

“It would have been wonderful to see all those ships.”

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As time passed the stories stuck with Mr Page, who has written poetry for two decades and has previously written books and created CDs featuring his work.

With the help of Andy Johnson and Lynise Espirit, the poet recorded his latest CD – Dock Thoughts – at Earl Lane Studios in Cardiff.

Along with six poems, composed and performed by Mr Page, the CD includes sound effects to bring the docks to life in listeners’ imaginations.

The CD features:

  • The Sails of Wales which Mr Page wrote in lockdown;
  • Tilly’s Love which blends fact and fiction, telling the story of a woman from Thompson Street who falls in love with a sailor from Holton Road;
  • Dock Thoughts;
  • Barry Dock – Years of Old;
  • Patron Poem which is about St David and the only non-rhyming work included;
  • Festive Rhyme which is a Christmas poem.

“We made the CD to pay homage to the people of Barry and their grandparents,” added Mr Page.