A journey back in time
28 February 2013
A new book written by a University lecturer chronicles the rich railway history and heritage of the Barry Docks and associated Woodham Brother's railway scrapyard in south Wales.
Barry: The History of the Yard and its Locomotives by Dr Peter Brabham of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences reflects the 128 year history of Barry Docks as well as the Woodham Brothers scrapyard where more than 200 steam locomotives stood derelict for over 30 years. The scrapyard has had a profound influence on UK heritage railway development since the 1970s.
Dr Brabham's interest in railways started as a teenager in the mid 1970s when he was involved with restoring the scrapyard locomotive, 'Duke of Gloucester' back to steam. For the past 30 years his hobby has been to photograph the many restored steam locomotives around the country.
Dr Brabham said: "As a child in the 1970s I was always excited about visiting Barry Island and being taken around the scrapyard in the docks by my father to look at the old rusting steam locomotives. Woodham Brothers scrapyard was the only scrapyard in the UK which did not scrap their British Railways steam locos immediately in the 1950-60s, but stored 213 in sidings for future scrapping. By the 1970s it was the only place in the UK where preservation societies and heritage railways could obtain steam locomotives for preservation and use.
"Now 23 years since the scrapyard closed we are using the redevelopment of the docklands sidings as a case study at MSc and PhD level to map ground contamination from archive photography and geophysical surveying.
"All in all I could not get away from Barry Docks so why not put it all together in a book and tell the whole remarkable story of the docks and the unique steam locomotive scrap yard?"
This book contains many photos from Dr Brabham's own camera as well as his Cardiff University colleague Andrew Wiltshire, plus the archives of Andrew's father, John Wiltshire, a prolific and gifted photographer with a large collection of unpublished colour slide images from the 1950s onwards; including the early 1960s years of Barry scrapyard.