2014 Founders Day

The town’s bicentenary was marked by, amongst many other events, the Founders Day Parade. This took place on 14th May. A long parade of children from local schools marched through the centre of the town, led by the Band of the Royal Marines.

Here comes the Band!

2014 A Royal Visit

With the town celebrating its bicentenary HM Queen Elizabeth II visited on 29th April to officially open Pembroke Dock’s new Visitor Centre and Museum. This is housed in the newly refurbished Garrison (Dockyard) Chapel. This project is seen as the flagship of the Townscape Heritage Initiative which, with the help of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, aimed to regenerate Pembroke Dock’s economy by bringing historic buildings back into use and encouraging new businesses to settle in the town as well as increasing its attractiveness as a tourist destination. Unfortunately the project seems to have lost sight of the fact that businesses are not attracted by floorspace alone, and the town’s geographical distance from motorways as well as its lack of a fast train service, not to mention its inability to compete with other areas in terms of broadband speed, are contributing to a lack of takeup in the early 21st century in the same way that similar, though less technology-based, factors contributed to the closure of the Royal Dockyard in the early 20th century.

Crowds gather to greet HMQEII.

2013 Marston’s Inns Development

October: Pembrokeshire County Council granted planning permission for Marston’s Inns to build a new pub and restaurant on the former Jewson’s site on Western Way. Marston’s bought the land from Conygar, the property investment and development company, whose Chief Executive announced to the press that this formed part of the first phase of the Marina development known as Martello Quays.

2013: Marstons Family Pub

Work in progress.

2013 DeltaStream Testing Plans

No, it’s not an aircraft, it’s a device for harnessing electricity from tidal streams. The DeltaStream device was designed by Pembrokeshire engineer Richard Ayre. Tidal Energy Limited have contracted Mustang Marine, in the Port of Pembroke, to build the device ready for testing in Ramsey Sound for a period of 12 months which is planned to commence in summer 2014. The Port of Pembroke will be the key operational hub for the testing. If the new technology is successful it could bring a substantial boost to the Welsh economy.

2012 New Power Station

The controversial new Pembroke Power Station in West Pennar went into commercial operation in September 2012. Argument continues to the present day about its effect on the environment. It is said to be capable of producing enough power to supply 3.5 million homes.

2012: Pembroke Power Station

Pembroke Power Station.

2008 Marina Development Plans

Planning permission was granted for the development of a Marina between Hobbs Point and the Irish Ferry Terminal, including new homes, a cinema, a hotel and possibly even a casino. Local opinion was split, some calling it a red-letter day for Pembroke Dock and others raising concerns about the effect on levels of traffic as well as the loss of or damage to local wildlife habitats.

2007 MOD Sells RMAS site

The Ministry of Defence finally cut its ties with Pembroke Dock by selling the freehold of the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service (RMAS) site to Milford Haven Port Authority (MHPA). MHPA had plans to promote Milford Port as a leisure marina and to further develop Pembroke Port as a centre for sea-based commerce, shipbuilding, and engineering.

2005 The Technium

Andrew Davies, Economic Development Minister at the Welsh Assembly Government, performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the Technium centre. Funded by Pembrokeshire County Council, Swansea University, and the Welsh Development Agency, the centre is intended to encourage new and innovative businesses – particularly those in the energy and technology sectors – at their startup and early operational stages. Politicians are quoted as saying that this is a great opportunity to attract some of the young people who have not been able to find work to fit their qualifications locally back into the area.

The Technium

The Technium, close to the Cleddau Toll Bridge.

2002 Museum Trust Receives Gift

The Mechanics Institute, at 33 Dimond Street, was given as a gift to Pembroke Dock Museum Trust in April 2002. The Institute had originally come into being in 1850 when two Dockyard officers used a house in Lewis Street as a centre to help the young men of the town by providing them with a social and educational meeting place. In June 1862 the foundation stone of new premises in Dimond Street was laid on a piece of land donated by the Meyrick family. For an annual subscription of six shillings per person the residents of Pembroke Dock had access to the Mechanics Institute’s billiards and reading rooms as well as its library of more than 3,500 books.

1862: The Mechanics Institute

33 Dimond Street is the grey building next door to Lloyds Bank.

1998 The Townscape Heritage Initiative

THI (Townscape Heritage Initiative) was set up by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It selected a number of towns across the UK where it would provide funding for the regeneration of areas which had heritage merit and also had a social and economic need for public investment. The broad aim was to bring historic buildings back into use in such a way as to help the local economy. Pembroke Dock was one of the selected areas and will receive more than £12m for a number of improvement schemes including the renovation of the Garrison (Dockyard) Chapel and the renovation of parts of the Market building as business units. Nobody could have had expectations that the town would return to the economic highs of the days when the Dockyard was in full swing, but there were obviously hopes of bringing in new businesses and more tourists.