History of Pembroke Dock

Foreword

This Compilation History of Pembroke Dock was originally generated by a cash grant from Pembroke Dock Town Council.  Local historian John Davies was appointed to put together the information from a variety of contributors and documented sources; and with the aid of some councillors and local community volunteers. 

There have been people in the area which Pembroke Dock now occupies for many centuries but the sparse farming population left little recorded history.  Much of what is known and recorded is squarely based on the last two hundred years when the town exploded into life around the ship-building and military connections.  Even the briefest of viewing of this important resource will show that so much was packed into that historically brief but often exciting 200 year period.  There are plenty of other towns with a lengthier historical lineage with traces of habitation going back thousands of years.  Some had Kings and Queens born in them or were sites of famous battles but few can have had more history packed in to just a handful of generations as Pembroke Dock!

With incomers from all over Britain flocking to take part in an explosion of industry, building ships for the Royal Navy, the town grew and flourished as a cosmopolitan, industrious workforce.  Civic pride grew as famous ships slid down the slipways into the Cleddau Estuary on a regular basis and clubs and societies mushroomed as commerce thrived.  Public buildings, churches and chapels appeared alongside a host of public houses and inns.  Self-built houses became a common feature of the town amongst the basic tradesmen, while senior ranks employed top craftsmen to build fine houses. Major celebrations and parades accompanied some of the launchings of the biggest warships of the time and there must have been great pride in the building of five Royal Yachts in an era when the Royal Family occupied the hearts of the British nation perhaps more so than today.

Eventually the frantic growth of the town came to an abrupt and painful end in 1926 as the Dockyard closed to the dismay of the population.  Hardship followed for many families with their men out of work and many left for shipyards in other parts of the country.  The armed forces again came to the town in 1930 with the RAF opening their Flying Boat base here, but it did not have anything like the same number of workers and those economic fortunes never quite recovered.  Now the fine buildings in the dockyard and public buildings such as the Market Hall are the remnants of an era of great workmanship and skill.

The Links to all the various chapters at the top of this page cover in detail much of what went on in those times and thanks must go to a multitude of publications and previous authors who’s own labours have all helped to create this history.