Our neighbour Pembroke Dock
Pembroke Dock was built between 1814 and 1818; and became famous for ship building and flying boats
In 1814 the Admiralty decided to move their dockyard from Milford Haven on the opposite shore of the Haven estuary to Paterchurch, now named Pembroke Dock. There was no town or village even then, and land was bought from the local gentry – the Adams, Meyricks and Owens. Within 20 years a completely new town had been built, on a grid system around the dockyard walls.
Over 250 ships, mainly for the Royal Navy, were built in the dockyard; including four Royal Yachts. After the First World War, however, the dockyard was largely closed with very unfortunate consequences for the town and its people, as unemployment was rife. Virtually all the town’s economy was reliant on the ship building industry and everything associated with it.
By 1931, however, the RAF set up a flying boat base in the old dockyard and remained there for nearly thirty years. A Sunderland Trust and Museum have been set up to honour what became the biggest flying boat base in the world.
From Paterchurch to Pembroke Dock - The story of Pembroke Dock by Ron Watts
Mr Ron Watts has kindly allowed us to use his Pembroke Dock history collated over many years. Please Click here to enjoy Ron's extensive work about his town - three miles away from Pembroke (.pdf format, 99 pages. You may need a .pdf viewer such as Acrobat Reader to view this document).
To explore all aspects of this unique, 200 year old town explore the following website: www.pembrokedock.org/history.htm
South West Gun Tower - built to defend Paterchurch (now Pembroke Dock) and now in private ownership
In response to the British wars against America and France, plans were made in 1815 to defend the Royal Navy’s new ship-building facility in the fortified parish of Paterchurch.
Construction on the new town finally commenced in 1848 and was completed three years later. The state of the art roof gun platform was equipped with one 32lb smoothbore cannon with four 12lb howitzers below on the upper floor. The War Department expected a 90% kill rate against enemy marines attempting to land on this beach.
Quickly outdated, the tower was reduced to an observation post and at the end of the century was used to house families of the Royal Artillery, who acted as caretakers.
During the Second World War the tower was fitted with four .303 Lewis Machine Guns to provide anti-aircraft cover and to train the RAF Sunderland Flying Boat gunners. In 1940 the tower opened fire on a German bomber - becoming the only fortress on the Haven to fire in anger. In the 1950s it became the base for local Sea Scouts prior to becoming used as a navigational marker for ships operating on the Haven.
In 2000 the gun tower was sold by the Local Authority, and is now a family residence undergoing renovation. The tower is closed to the public.
Another tower, the North West Gun Tower, has most recently been a museum (at present closed).