Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
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Volume Twelve - Pre-Victorian to the Present Day - further aspects - A History of Penarth Dock by Roy Thorne . . .

This extensive history of the Penarth Dock was completed in January 1984. I felt it worthy of adding to the website since it has been subject, in my humble opinion, to an exemplary standard of research. Unfortunately, Mr. Roy Thorne is no longer with us and his work remains unpublished. I firmly believe it to be an exremely accurate account of our maritime heritage and have no hesitation in dedicating this Chapter to Roy's memory. [1152]


Penarth Dock in 1982 is a mixture of tranquility and desolation. It is difficult to imagine that it was once a busy coal exporting dock during the years 1865 to 1936. Now there is a quiet enclosed stretch of water shut off from the sea by a dam at the dock basin. The area of water corresponds to the extent of the original dock before it was extended westward between 1880 and 1884. On the south side the trees and wild plants are naturally reclaiming the land where the railway lines were. These lines carried the wagons which had brought coal from the Taff and Rhondda valleys to be exported from the tips. The western part of the dock has been filled and only nine piers upon which the coal tips stood are now visible. Nowadays people fish and swim in the dock. The reflection of a setting sun on the water is a glorious sight. It seems an ideal place to be made into a recreational area.

Before the harbour works on the River Ely were opened in 1859, and work began on the dock, the River Ely curved slightly southward on its meandering course easterly to the sea, passing the Tudor house of the Herberts near Cogan Pill, the sea inlet at Cogan and sheltered by the headland of Penarth, entered the Bristol Channel.

After writing my book, "The Ports and Creeks of South Glamorgan”, which was printed by South Glamorgan Education Authority for its schools, I decided to write a history of Penarth Dock and in so doing I received help from many people, but some do need special mention.

My thanks are offered to the Chief Librarian of South Glamorgan, Cyril Dart and his staff for their unfailing courtesy and kindly help. The staff at the Central Library, Cardiff, always provide expert guidance and assistance and we, who live in the Cardiff area, are fortunate to have such a good Reference Library staffed by such charming and helpful people.


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150 years of Penarth Dock History and Heritage

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