Our latest Blue Plaque was unveiled on Monday, 13th February 2017 by eminent writer and naval historian, Dr. David Davies. Click images to enlarge.
Cllr. Steven Donoghue, members of Llanelli Community Heritage and friends heard the story of the dock and its former glory from Lyn John. The Revd. David Morgan, sponsor of the plaque, expressed his pleasure at having his family’s name connected with this area of Seaside where his family have close ties.
The plaque commemorates the start of building in 1797/98 of the Carmarthenshire Dock by Alexander Raby, local ironmaster. The dock looks small and insignificant now, with its basin deeply silted and the Lliedi River which was diverted to flush it out, shrinking to a trickle for much of the day. But at high tide the rising waters conceal the mud and debris and give an idea of what the dock once was when iron ore was imported, coal exported, and ships were built and launched from its slipway.
The plaque is installed on the bridge over the Lliedi leading from the B4034 to the North Dock development and the Discovery Centre ( lat: 51.673692 lon: -4.171701).
Brief history by Lyn John
The Carmarthenshire Dock was initially constructed by the ironmaster, Alexander Raby for the import of iron ore and the export of coal and iron goods, including munitions for the Napoleonic Wars. Initially the dock consisted of the eastern pier sometimes known as Mine Quay, Squires dock or Raby's Shipping Place. It was subsequently purchased by the Carmarthenshire Rail Road and Tramway Company. In 1806 The Cambrian newspaper reported...
“In 1806 the foundation stone of the new western pier belonging to the Carmarthenshire Rail Road Company was laid last week, several proprietors attended the ceremony assisted by their engineer and dock master, as usual upon such occasions, and a liberal sum was given to the workmen. This new pier will extend 155 yards and form one of the most complete basins and a safe place of shelter in the Principality”.
It also had a slipway where many ships were built and launched. In including the SS Oliver Cromwell, launched in 1864, which was over 154 feet in length. In 1844 the river Lliedi was diverted to its present course to flush and scour the dock.
Notes and Citations
- Coal Mining in Llanelli 1979 MVS p283
- Industrial & Maritime History of Llanelli and Burry Port by Craig, Protheroe Jones and Symons p484
- The Cambrian 11 October 1806
- Location lat: 51.673692 lon: -4.171701
- Photos by Carole Ann Smith and Phil Elias