In the 1920’s the people of Barry wanted to provide a suitable memorial for the Barrians who had given their lives in the fight for freedom during the First World War. It was decided that it should take the form of a Cenotaph and hall. The cost was £26,000 – in today’s money close to £4m.
With the extremely generous help of the Davies family (descendants of David Davies who founded the docks), and the wholehearted support of the people of Barry – who each gave a penny -they succeeded, and the newly built hall and Cenotaph was opened in 1932. The Theatre and Hall were completed and opened on 11 November 1933.
2007 saw the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Memorial Hall and the dedication of the Hall of Memory and Cenotaph.
The years had taken their toll, and both the Hall of Memory and the Cenotaph were in need of restoration and improvement. The trustees commissioned a report to survey the memorials and recommendations were made to restore them and bring them up to legislative standards.
The cost of the work was estimated at £60,000 and the ‘Barry Remembers’ appeal was launched to raise this sum in time for the work to be completed for the 75th anniversary on November 11th 2007.
£92,000 was raised, and the support of the community, local authorities and the generosity of many organisations and individuals was outstanding. The fundraising also enabled the reproduction of the updated Merchant Navy Association’s Role of Honour, which contains the names of more than 600 merchant seamen from Barry who died in conflicts, and is displayed within the Hall of Memory.
The Cenotaph and the Hall of Memory remain worthy memorials to all named 1,818 Barrians who gave their lives for freedom, in two World Wars and subsequent hostilities.