Demolition of Thompson Street, Barry

In 1972, Thompson Street, an historically important area in Barry was largely demolished with the aim of improving living conditions. The street had been a major link between the town centre in Barry and its docks. It held many clubs and shops which also made it an important commercial location in its own right. However, as the male population of the town increased due to the developing docks in the nineteenth century, the street soon became notorious as a place of disorder and prostitution.
 
By the 1970s, the poor state of the housing in the area was reported, noting thirteen houses that were ‘unfit to live in’, seven ‘borderline’, and only two ‘fit’. The clearance and subsequent demolition of these properties would affect fifty families, as well as others who lived on their own. With housing being built through the Gibbonsdown and Buttrills developments at the time, this was considered a ready solution.
 
As well as poor quality housing, important landmarks were also demolished, including the Lloyds Bank building. While there were no public houses located on Thompson Street, it nevertheless housed institutions such as the RAOB and the Ex-Servicemen’s Club (previously named the Seamen’s Rest).
 
The street was open to traffic during much of the demolition work, which was undertaken by a small crane and wrecking ball. During the work, some of the former plots were used as makeshift car parks. Buildings were subsequently re-built on the site, including many houses.

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