Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
Penarth Dock, South Wales - the heritage & legacy . . .

Volume Two - The Era of Optimism, Investment & Development - The demise of H.M.S. Exmouth at Penarth Dock - 1905 . . .

H.M.S. Havannah

A fine lithographic print of the H.M.S. Havannah in her former glory days serving her country in the British Navy. She was loaned to Cardiff following requests from civic dignitaries for a certified industrial school - 'An Act to make better provision for the care and education of vagrant, destitute and disorderly children.' Mr. D. Jeffreys also states in his informative book 'Maritime Memories of Cardiff' that 'It seems that other efforts by various bodies had failed to clear the wharves and streets of Cardiff of the wild. lawless children that infested them.' So no change there then!

She was berthed in East Bute Dock during July 1860 and moved to a newly excavated dock in 1866, very near to the south side of the Penarth Road Bridge by the old Western Welsh Omnibus Garages. The 'Ragged School' classes were first held in November of the same year and the following year she was certified and became an Industrial School Ship. Up to 100 boys were maintained and taught at the school.

Mr. Jeffreys also confirms that she was sold for breaking up to Mr. Norris of Cardiff in 1905 for the sum of £1,030. The two cannon mentioned in the newspaper article on the main page were apparently placed in Roath Park but when WWI broke out they were taken for scrap metal. [365]

 
Havannah Industrial Ship at Cardiff

The Havannah Industrial School ship in place at the purpose excavated dock position. She was a 36 gun vessel, 146 feet in length with a 38'-6" beam and of 1,408 tons launched in 1811. Note the amidships entrance doorway. [365]

An extract from the book 'The Voyage Alone in the Yawl Rob Roy' [489] [499] by John MacGregor published in 1868 states:

The Havannah - The following description shews this vessel to be of a class intermediate between those afloat and those consisting of an upper deck and mast reared on shore : -

"The Havannah is an old man-of-war frigate, of 32-guns. She lies on the moor to the west of the town of Cardiff, close by the road from Cardiff to Penarth, and near to the wooden bridge which crosses the river Taff. The entrance to the ship is by a stage from the road to one of the midship ports on the main deck on the port side.

"Being floated by the spring tides, great difficulty was experienced in keeping her in an upright position after the tide left, and being supplied with gas and water from the Cardiff mains, the communication was constantly broken ; it was therefore deemed necessary by the Committee to make an embankment to protect the ship from the tides. This has been done, and a wooden railing has been erected upon the embankment and along the road, completely fencing the vessel on all sides. Within this enclosure around the ship a garden has been made, which is expected to produce sufficient vegetables for the ship's use, and supply healthy employment for the boys.

"The drainage and sanitary arrangements are in a very satisfactory condition, and the situation healthy.

"One hundred boys might be conveniently accommodated on board ; at present there are thirty boys under detention. They are trained in all things likely to be of use to them should they desire to go to sea, such as sewing, knitting, and splicing ; rowing, sculling and steering (there is a small boat for this purpose, and a pond when the tide is not available) ; furling and unfurling sails (for this purpose there is a yard on the upper deck, with sail attached) ; sword exercise, and boxing the compass.

"In the Industrial department there are firewood-chopping and gardening ; also a shoeblack brigade and a market-porter brigade. In this last department there are fifteen boys who go to market on market-days, supplied with a basket and towel each, and are employed by the families of Cardiff and neighbourhood to carry their purchases from the market-house to their homes. Their employment is not only remunerative, but it brings the lads to the notice of gentlemen of position and influence, and employers of labour, which may be of use to the lads after leaving the ship, and it is of the utmost importance as giving them confidence in themselves to withstand very great temptations.

"A due proportion of every day is set apart for school instruction and recreation.

"The daily average attendance in the Ragged School is from seventy to eighty, all boys. The girl's school has been transferred from the ship to the town. The number of applicants for admission is increasing, and every precaution is taken against the abuse of the charity by the admission of children whose parents are well able to pay for their schooling."

This school was certified in 1861. 57 boys have been admitted, and 27 discharged. Of the 27, one only has been convicted of crime.

 
c.1903 - The Havannah Industrial School.
c.1903 - The Havannah Industrial School - This photograph of the vessel near to the end of her working life was brought to my attention courtesy of Phil Carradice via David Ings and is credited to the collections of the National Museum of Wales. [629] [Museum item number : not known] [20200531]
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