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PEMBROKE DOCK

GRID REFERENCE: SM 963034
AREA IN HECTARES: 455

Historic Background
During the medieval period this area, a small peninsula situated in St. Mary’s Parish, Pembroke, lay within the Manor of Kingswood with Golden, which was a demesne manor of the lordship of Pembroke. Arable land-use is recorded in detailed accounts from the 14th century and 15th century, with issues from wheat, beans, peas, barley and oats. However, meadowland, sheep and wool are also recorded, along with profits from cloth-processing – two fulling-mills were established during the 15th century. Income was also derived from the ferry that crossed the waterway to Burton. This was not replaced by a bridge until the later 20th century. During the post-medieval period the area became part of the Bush estate. The partial construction of a fort at Paterchurch in 1758 did not alter this area’s agricultural aspect, as shown on estate maps of 1772 and 1813, although it would seem that as with most inlets on the Haven small-scale ship building was being carried out at Bentlass on the Pembroke River and at Pembroke Ferry. The Admiralty’s decision to relocate their dockyards from Milford Haven to a new site at Paterchurch in 1812 marked the beginning of the new town of Pembroke Dock. Growth was rapid. An estate map of 1848 titled ‘Town of Pater’ shows the grid pattern of the embryonic town. Many of the plots are shown occupied, but many others are awaiting development. Indeed, a later hand has annotated the map with the names and types of buildings that were subsequently built. The naval dockyards were opened in 1814, extended in 1830-32 and again in 1844. In 1832 a stone pier at Hobbs Point was opened and later an Hotel and stables for Irish steam packet passengers; this service having been transferred from Milford Haven. As part of the overall defence for Milford Haven several large installations were constructed within this area in the mid 19th century, including a large ‘star’ fort and two gun towers on the foreshore by the dockyards. In 1864, the first train ran from Pembroke Dock to Tenby. The line was later extended into the dockyards. Civilian shipbuilding yards on Water Street, Front Street and Lower Meyrick Street all operated in the 19th century, as well as a substantial yard at Jacob’s Pill on the Pembroke River. This last installation was opened in 1874 and closed in 1884, when it was converted to an isolation hospital. Late in the 19th century a torpedo stores was established at Pennar Point and submarine mining experiments were carried out on the river here. The dockyards were one of the world’s most important naval shipbuilding centres, with over 260 ships launched in its 112 year life. The development of larger ships, culminating in the dreadnought class, signalled the end of the dockyards. The Admiralty was unwilling to invest in new facilities, and in 1907 men were laid off. The dockyard was abruptly closed in 1926. In 1930, the establishment of a RAF flying-boat base in the eastern part of the former dockyard provided some employment until its closure in 1959. During the early and mid 20th century other military installations were located in this area including barracks, oil and ammunition stores. More recently, a ferry service to Ireland has been operating at a new base in the former dockyard. The town of Pembroke Dock expanded in conjunction with the military and industrial development, at first close to the dockyards and at Pennar, and then, in the 20th century, outside this historic town core.

Base map reproduced from the OS map with the permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of The Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, Crown Copyright 2001.
All rights reserved. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown Copyright and may lead to prosecution or civil proceedings. Licence Number: GD272221

Description and essential historic landscape components
Pembroke Dock is an urban historic landscape character area. It is centred on the 19th century and early 20th century naval dockyards, and smaller private shipbuilding yards. The naval dockyards are surrounded by a high defensive wall and flanked by two 19th century gun towers. Large parts of the yard are now given over to modern industry, including the Irish ferry port, but several large stone buildings in the Georgian tradition close to the dock’s entrance provide a strong architectural signature. Several of the original docks also survive as do a collection of 20th century military structures, including two large hangars built for flying boats. Pembroke fort, originally constructed on an open hillside overlooking the dockyards is now surrounded by development. The 19th century town is built in a grid pattern, and this, together with the survival of many wide streets of contemporaneous houses and other buildings, provides a strong architectural signature. The combination of a planned street pattern and high survival rate of contemporaneous houses and other buildings provides Pembroke Dock with a coherent historic character that is rarely matched in other Welsh town. These 19th century dockyard worker houses are generally of two storey terraces, cement rendered, and broadly in the Georgian tradition. The social and economic landscape of the town is manifest in details such as the larger ‘foreman’ houses that stand at the ends of terraces. Three storey houses on some street corners in the commercial centre emphasise the importance of certain road intersections. At Pennar over looking the dockyards to the south the grid pattern of wide streets is maintained, but here terraces of single-storey cottages provide a very distinctive, if not unique, aspect to the town. In all there are 125 listed buildings within the town. There is not a great deal of later 19th century and early to mid 20th century housing, but later 20th century housing and other buildings testify to intensifying growth in this period. Several of the 20th century military installations have been redeveloped into offices and light industrial estates; many have been demolished and the land restored. The Cleddau Bridge, which replaced a ferry, has rejuvenated the northern side of the town. It is here that much of the light industry is located. A golf course lies within this area.

This historic landscape character area is defined to the west, north and east by the sea. On the other side it neighbours farmland. However, it is likely that Pembroke Dock will soon merge with Pembroke as only a few fields separate them.

Sources: Carradice 1991; Findley 1875; Jack 1981; Owen 1918; Peters 1905; Price 1986; St Mary’s Pembroke Tithe Map 1841; PRO D/BUSH/6/26; PRO D/BUSH/6/27; PRO D/BUSH/6/40;


 

 

 

 

 

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