The coal boom

Welsh coal powered the world’s steamship and railways. David Davies of Llandinam was the first Welsh millionaire. He made a fortune out of railways and then opened up coal pits in the Rhondda valley from the 1860s. And Davies is also remembered for another spectacular achievement.

Landowners, key among them David Davies, decide to build a new port, linking rail to the coal field. This is the story of the docks at Barry, opened in 1889. It was a risky venture that cost around £2 million. Davies personally invested the lion's share.

By 1901 it was exporting more coal than Cardiff. Barry Docks quickly became regarded as one of the best ports in the world. And David Davies cemented his place as one of the crucial figures of 19th century Welsh history.

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3 minutes


Role Contributor
Series ProducerPhil George
Series ProducerJohn Geraint
PresenterHuw Edwards
DirectorJeff Morgan
ProducerJeff Morgan

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