Welcome to the site dedicated
to the History of Pembroke Dock from
Pembroke Dock Community Web Project
Pembroke Dock's restored buildings offer striking evidence of the
town's rich history. Irish ferry passengers pass, for example, the Royal
Dockyard's elegant Georgian architecture. The Dockyard Chapel (1831-) is
restored, as are the 1930s flying boat hangars. Just outside the yard are the
refurbished market (1826) and the 1851 Gun Tower on Front Street. The tower, in
its new role, houses the town's museum.
view a Time Line Click Here
Pembroke Dock's layout and buildings date mostly from Dockyard times
(1814-1926). The town's shipbuilders constructed 263 vessels for the Royal Navy,
ranging from gunboats to battleships and the Royal Yachts Victoria and Albert
I, II and III.
The forts and barracks which protected the Dockyard and housed the garrison are
still prominent. The enormous hangars in the Dockyard are reminders of World War
II's largest operational flying boat base. Pembroke Dock was an RAF base from
1930 until 1957.
The last regular Army unit left in 1967. The western part of the Dockyard
remains a salvage depot.
Town history 1814-1926
An area which had been open farmland was, by 1901, a town of 11,000 people. Its
central industry was shipbuilding - the Royal Dockyard generated the wealth
which supported shops, the market, and community and civic life.
Townspeople and benefactors provided many of early community buildings -
particularly chapels, the Temperance Hall and the Mechanics' Institute. Hotels
and public houses were also, naturally, popular venues.
The town's development continued in an age when governments encouraged local
authorities to provide yet more amenities and services, improving the quality of
life. Schools came to offer education for all. The borough council commissioned
gas street lighting, and ensured the town was provided with water and sewerage
systems - public health was an increasingly important responsibility.
In its early decades, Pembroke Dock had housed a sometimes primitive community
of hardworking "pioneers". By 1914, its community had developed into a
well-provided civic society.
In this period, colourful street processions were a memorable feature of town
life, often celebrating the opening of schools or public buildings.
In World War I Pembroke Dock was a substantial garrison town, and the Dockyard
remained in production. After the war, though, it became clear the yard was to
Town history 1926-2004
Dockyard closure (1926) dealt the town's economy "the cruellest
blow ... ever suffered". Bankruptcies and distress followed.
"Look at Pembroke Dock," protested Labour leader Willie Jenkins.
"One time prosperous people are glad and delighted to have a
food ticket tonight".
Some workers moved to other Royal Dockyards, and the town's
public buildings now served a depleted community, "a town of
unemployed and pensioners". Smaller private marine industries
continued, and after 1930 the new RAF station brought back some
With its air base, barracks and naval oil depot, Pembroke Dock
was a prime target for World War II air raids. Many lives were
lost. In 1940, after an attack, eleven gigantic oil tanks were
consumed by fire. In 1941 a series of raids left areas of the
town in ruins.
Both light and heavy industry provided work after 1945, with
factories at Kingswood, and construction and manning of the
nearby oil refineries and power station. The Dockyard has been a
base for marine services since the 1950s, and for the Irish
Ferry terminal since 1979.
WT 15 July 1926; PT Almanac 1927 )