Local ambassadors Maureen Colgan and Wendy O’Driscoll are members of the Pembroke Dock Heritage Forum. They are proud to represent the only Royal Dockyard in Wales; a key wartime flying boat base, with exemplary architecture, a lively social history and Hollywood film associations. The ‘Dock’ has a big story to tell.
Time-travel to 1814 when the Admiralty spotted Paterchurch Point set among ‘broad fields and fertile meadows’. Within a few years townspeople were lining the streets in their Sunday best honouring the latest shipbuilding triumph with bands playing and flags fluttering. Five royal yachts were among the many expertly crafted vessels that received a rousing send-off.
The towering dockyard wall entices visitors through a stone-pillared entrance, past the former Fleet Surgeon’s House and other Georgian beauties, revealing the scale of the Admiralty’s domain, dwarfed, depending on time of day, by an Irish Ferries vessel cruising into port. Join the West Wales Maritime Heritage Society at Hancock’s Yard for a seabound journey back in time.
The town is still celebrating construction of iconic vessels: the Star Wars ‘Millennium Falcon’ was built in Pembroke Dock, adding Hollywood to its heritage and a link to neighbouring communities like Freshwater West that have also hosted film crews.
As home to the largest flying-boat base in the world, ‘the Dock’ was critical to The Battle of the Atlantic. The Sunderland Trust, based in the former Garrison Chapel, now Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre, is meticulously capturing this era.
Grid-pattern streets; designer doorways; thousand-seater chapels and Martello towers: each step through the town’s conservation area offers a new perspective. The dockyard’s closure in 1926 knocked the population but resilience and community spirit are key local characteristics and there is a will to make Pembroke Dock great again. The town is looking to the future, using technology to promote heritage trails, an annual round of festivals; action-packed bungee jumping and a family-friendly soap box derby.
Discovering a unique royal heritage behind the dockyard wall is the beginning of an exciting journey encompassing two centuries of heritage that began with Paterchurch Point.
Contact: The Pater Hall 01646 622788.