Telling the story of Penarth Docks

By GEM Community Correspondent in Local People

From Neolithic times to the present day, Penarth Docks has a fascinating story, and well known historian Alan Thorne will present two talks in the Parish Hall, Albert Road, Penarth (Thursday, February 16 and Thursday, February 23, both at 7pm) entitled ‘The History of Penarth Dock, its site and surrounds’.

The first talk will cover the period from the Neolithic up to the 19th century, including references to the Romans, Celtic Saints, Vikings, Normans, pirates, smugglers, and a galaxy of famous engineers – e.g. Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Robert Stephenson, Thomas Telford and more.

The second talk will cover the friction between the Butes and the Windsors, leading to the building and opening of the Ely tidal harbour and then the Dock. Among events and people to be discussed will be the dock extension, the river Ely and the Dock subway.

Trade figures, dock buildings, including the now demolished Marine Hotel, will be covered as will numerous fatal industrial accidents and deaths as well as one death by shooting and stabbing. Of equal interest will be the armada of famous vessels that used the Dock, including ‘windjammers’, the Cutty Sark, Elissa, Great Britain and numerous Bay Maidens.

The talk will also include numerous famous and infamous men including Captains Joseph Conrad and Edward Tupper.

The talk will close with the Depression, the Dock closure of 1936, its re-opening, the American take-over, the post-war ‘mothball fleet’, and steady decline leading to the final closure of l963.

The talks have been arranged by the Friends of St Augustine’s. Speaking about the talks, one of the committee commented: “This is a rare treat – Alan has a wealth of knowledge on Penarth, and having had a taste of some of the anecdotes, I know the talks will not only be informative (as usual), but also surprising!”

Entry on the door: one talk £5, both talks £8 (£4 or £7 for Friends of St Augustine’s). More information at: www.friendsofstaugustines.org or Facebook ‘alan on the docks’.

For further information call John Guilfoyle on 02920 706309 or Tricia Griffiths 02920 707828.

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