The son of Ron Selby, a former landlord of the Windsor Hotel has this week sent us this fantastic letter outlining his memories of the once thriving business.

Dr Ian Selby of Barry lived in the Windsor as a youngster and recalls those days with fondness, recounting tales of the pub's own ghost. Here is his letter:

THE closure of The Windsor Hotel struck deep in my household because once again it was a Brains pub where my father was the landlord in the 1970s.

Between 1968 and 1978 Ron Selby ran this pub, operating five bars, an office licence, and a large function room.

The pub was operated with military style and precision, high standards, and it is no mild boast to say that Mr Selby, as he was widely known in this town, made a fortune. My father knew how to make money.

The Windsor was the first ever Brains pub to serve pub food, despite the disdain for such innovations from the then Brains executive board and family member, Mr Chris Brain, who commented, “our business is beer Mr. Selby, not food!” Regardless of this conservative attitude, my father pressed on with chicken in the basket, and scampi and chips.

The people of Barry trooped in - the staff of Tesco, Woolworths, and Dan Evans were all regular lunch time customers, and the cash registered jingled.

The pub was organised to be a community pub with a long bar for the town's tradesmen to enjoy a good pint of Brains or the growing appetite for the new drink Lager, in the form of Carling Black Label after work at 5.30pm.

There was the cocktail bar and smoke room where no jeans were allowed, and where customers would bring their wives for cocktails and enjoy the new London lounge style background music.

And there were the two vaults bars with a mixture of cribbage, Brains Dark and cards.

To the end of the building on St Mary’s Avenue was the Off Licence where the ‘old dears’ of the town would pop in and enjoy a discounted Babycham.

And on the first floor of the building was the Club Room with a bar and capacity for 120-130 people.

My father sweated that asset hard, every Friday and Saturday night (except magistrates, solicitors, and their clients too – some of whom would come across in the waiting area to seek their own penitence from my father following a misdemeanour in the pub through which he had banned them from the Windsor. Some were granted their wish; many were never allowed to darken the Windsor’s door again!

He knew how to run an appealing pub, how to make money, and how to make the best of all of the Windsor’s assets.

He chose the best looking Barry girls and women to be his bar maids – Tantalising Tonya, Julie and Pam Bennett, and Pam ‘Bucks’ to name a few. We supported community events, especially the Barry Carnival, and I remember us winning the best dressed pub first prize when that competition was inaugurated in 1976, with all the girls dressed in school uniforms as the theme was St Trinians.

He had tight rules and he enforced discipline and good behaviour on all his customers rigorously.

Every night he would stand on the steps of the Windsor, with his Alsatian to his side, in a selection of specially sourced Saville Row suites to police his rules.

An ex-staff sergeant, he presented a smart, fist class image for him and his pub, in the strong and rightly held belief that this would encourage the best customers and create the right appealing image and atmosphere.

He was not at all afraid to take-on customers who were drunk and abusive. He took a few knocks and scrapes now and again, and he’d ban clients without hesitation if they crossed his lines and he never rang the Police.

Such high standards and rigour preserved the style and atmosphere of the Windsor.

People knew of him and the pub, he enjoyed a very high reputation in this town, and the money flowed in, both for Brains and for him.

Since he left in 1978, the Windsor has never reached those levels of success. The pub quickly gained the nick name of the Zoo Bar by 1980, which marked the start of the rot. From then on, it’s been a downwards slide – five bars became, three, then two, then one. The Clubroom was never used as a function room again, and we have now got to where we are today – closure!

It is tragic to see such a great and historic part of this town hit rock bottom. Local memory of those heady successful days has similarly faded and that prompted me to write this letter. When you look at the fabric of the building now from the street, you can see the lack of investment.

A community pub - well run, with strict rules, and a solid and business savvy publican, enforcing high standards, enforcing those standards on his clientele, with good ale and an understanding that with energy, effort and sweat, then the Windsor could make money again.

I know that Mr Selby is still remembered by some in the town, and I know that up in Merthyr Dyfan cemetery, he is spinning in his grave at what has happened, but I also know he’ll be smiling at the fact that no one since has so successfully and profitably mastered the Windsor and her customers.

Having grown up there and with so many happy and sad times within her walls, I find the fate of that great building troubling and I suspect that Sidney, the Windsor’s now lonely Ghost, is similarly troubled.

Yes, there is a Ghost in The Windsor.

When we lived there strange things happened over night. Frequently there would be instances of heavy and locked doors being found open in the morning.

Beer glasses would be smashed on the floor overnight, and sometimes beer taps in the cellars below would be found open with beer having poured out of the barrel over night.

A whole range of other strange incidents were recorded by my father but the customers never saw or experienced Sidney, as my father called him, but we felt and experienced his presence for the whole period we were there.

I am sure that he shares my hope that another Brewery quickly takes it over, and restores his home, The Windsor, her to glory.

Dr Ian Selby