A Brief History of Pembroke Dock

In the early 1800s there were only a few people living in the hamlet of Paterchurch, and yet within fifty years, the basis of the bustling town now known as Pembroke Dock had been formed around the massive stone walls of the new Admiralty Dockyard.

The Milford Haven waterway had long been recognised as one of the finest harbours in the world and was visited by Nelson in 1802. The Royal Navy failed in their initial negotiations to buy land at Milford and because of that fact, the formation of Pembroke Dock began. 50 acres of land at Paterchurch were purchased from the Meyrick Estate for £8,000 and work began at a frantic pace, with a Frigate, the Lapwing run ashore to act as Offices. By early 1816, the first ships Valorous and the Ariadne were completed. Front Street was the first of many terraced streets which spread out around the Dockyard and extended up the hill to Pennar. The town was well laid out in spacious grid pattern, and prospered with a huge influx of population. Building took place on a great scale with stone docks, slipways, offices and stores being constructed while ships were regularly launched. In the town; housing, churches and schools sprang up. By 1831, the population was around 3000 and still growing and as the town grew, so did the fortifications to defend it.

At that time the fear of invasion was prominent, and the two Gun Towers along with the impressive Defensible Barracks were rapidly built, and the Paterchurch battery was improved. Despite the speed of construction, these were incredibly solid defences, although today some of them are unused, they still retain a certain grandeur.

The growth of the town was also reflected by the construction of numerous fine church and chapel buildings, in a peak period during the 1830s and 1840s. St John’s Parish Church, The Dockyard Chapel, Bethel and Trinity Chapels, Wesley Methodist and St Andrew’s Presbyterian Churches and St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church are some of the town’s fine architecture that came into being during this time.

With the growth of the dockyard and all it’s defences came a succession of regiments to man them. Hutted encampments of soldiers surrounded the town – and the fine red brick offices at Llanion was the nerve centre of it all. The building remains as a reminder of an era of craftsmanship in construction.

The closure of the Dockyard in 1926, and the removal of all the supporting forces was a heavy blow for the town to take, as so many of the population had their livelihoods linked to it. Unemployment remained high in the thirties, till relief came in the shape of the R.A.F. The first squadron of flying boats descended on the town in 1939, and another glorious chapter in the town’s military history would be written over the next 18 years, with more squadrons from around the world serving here.

After suffering great damage during the war, the town set about rebuilding, but economic disaster repeated itself in 1957 when the air base closed. The town’s fortunes have fluctuated since, with the sea once again bringing employment as the Haven’s oil industry boomed for a few decades. The Llanion Offices were symptomatic of the fortunes of these fluctuations. They were the home for the South Pembrokeshire District Council, and later, they were a branch office for the new Pembrokeshire County Council. Another economic blow was felt when the County Council relocated to Haverfordwest, but in yet another turn around, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority moved in from Haverfordwest in the spring of 2004. Refurbishment work was needed to bring the building up to requirements, as an environmentally friendly building, but the workers at the National Park Offices, will surely relish the magnificent view down the Haven, as did thousands of soldiers in years gone by.

Gun Tower Museum

The Gun Tower Museum is situated on Front Street, Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire. The Museum is Housed in a Cambridge Gun Tower. Built in 1851, to protect the Royal Dockyard along with many other fortifications along the Coast and Milford Haven Waterway.  The Gun Tower Museum has many fascinating exhibits within its walls, relating to the local History, and is manned by very friendly and helpful volunteers.    

Pembroke Dock

The Town of Pembroke Dock, did not exist before 1814 and building commenced to coincide with the building of the Royal Dockyard, so it is not quite 200 years old yet, but it has so much history to tell.  In this short space of time the Town built to house the workers from the Royal Dockyard, has also been a home to Navy, Army, and RAF Personnel from all around the World.

Pembrokeshire

Visiting Pembrokeshire at any time of the year is a fabulous experience as the County has many beautiful Beaches, ambling countryside, Coastal Walks and Views also Plenty of Military and Architectural History, and there are also plenty of attractions to keep the kids occupied…… What more could you need from a fantastic Holiday experience that you will return to enjoy time and time again.

 There are many attractions and things to do in Pembrokeshire, whatever the weather you can still have a fantastic time to suit all members and age groups within the family.

Securing Your Home Inspired by the Gun Tower

When thinking of home security in today’s world you might think I’m crazy to invoke the majestic, yet ancient, stature of the Gun Tower.

Bear with me as there is much we can learn from the home security experts of the past.

Generations ago the idea of protecting your property was as important as it is today. And while technology looks a bit different now than it did back then, the same concerns were largely in place hundreds of years ago.

One of the first things we have to consider is the perimeter of your property and how to best protect it. In days gone by, building your home (or stronghold) on the banks of a river or ocean was a great start at protecting your perimeter. If that wasn’t possible often times a moat could be made to mimic the protective qualities of the ocean and river.

Today while you could still build a moat, a much more cost effective measure is to install cameras and sensors around your property that can alert you to the presence of an unwanted intruder. I particularly like using a high quality 4k security camera system as they provide amazing quality images and video. You can also opt for a CCTV, solar powered camera, or even trail cameras to provide you with perimeter protecting surveillance cameras.

From there you can also add a driveway alarm to every vehicle accessible entrance to your property. This will send an alert to your home or device so you will not be caught off guard by unexpected guests.

How did our ancestors protect their home itself? Well they put sentries at the walls and heavy iron gates on the entrances. And today we can do much the same. From doorbell cameras to hidden door cameras we can spot anyone who approaches our doors. We can install door and window alarms that will alert us if someone attempts to enter any of these points of access. The market also has some incredibly powerful locks and even smart locks to help ensure our home’s are locked down from unwanted entry. Look at this! We have our very own tech sentries!

With a little forethough we can protect our homes with the same intensity as the Gun Tower Watch themselves. And who could ask for more?