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Pembroke Dock Town “Our History”
ALBION SQUARE, c1905. On the 23rd of August 1817 Robert Lilwall signed a lease to build a substantial dwelling house, malt houses and brew houses to the value of at least £500.  The house that he built was not Albion House but the house later known as Cae Glas which adjoined to and almost became part of Albion House.  Today Albion House has given way to a car park. Early 1820s Robert Lilwall gives up brewing on the site.  The reason for this may have been difficulties in obtaining an adequate supply of water for brewing.  He is supposed to have obtained his water by a pipe laid from the Fountain Well (which today puts it at the top of Park Street) but with the development of the intervening land he may have lost his right to this water and the pipeline.  Thomas George Lowe West then takes over the site and demolishes the malt houses and brew houses to build the Albion House against the Cae Glas.  He also built number 5 Bush Street.  He may have intended to use the building as a brewery but never did.   According to George Mason ‘for several years it was let out in parts, and had become a sort of barracks until the early thirties…’ in the 1830s the southern part of the building was used by Mr George Hicks Davies as a grocer’s shop and bakery.  Around 1837 the northern and major part of the building was converted into a Draper’s and Outfitter’s shop by Mr William Dawkins which he then leased to Mr Trayler.  On page 54 this building is recognisable with Trayler’s name on the gable end.  The following will give you an idea of what he sold;                    The size of the building can be judged from the accommodation.  It had five rooms on the ground floor used as shops and storerooms, ten rooms on the first floor, several rooms in the cellar as well as two stables and a coach-house (a garage in the 1950s).  The last occupier was Edwin George Bankcroft who took over the premises between 1914 and 1920 and was a general and fancy draper.   During W.W.II the building was severely damaged by enemy action and was bought by Mr H. J. Scard who had thoughts of using the building (or the site) for a cinema.  However the building became dangerous and was purchased and demolished by the Borough Council in 1956, today the site is a car park. The Cae Glas which was not included in the demolition is now converted into four houses. Above you can see Albion House which was also seen on page 48, on the extreme right is the Junior School for boys and girls, when it was closed in 2007 it became a further education centre and a place for meetings.                                                                                         CONGREGATIONAL CHAPEL, (Tabernacle) – Was designed by R. C. Sutton and built by W. Warlow of Pembroke Dock at a cost of £3,940, it was opened on 28th June 1867.  But in the 1950s, it become surplus to the requirements of the Church and was offered to the Pembroke Borough Council.  They applied for Loan sanction for £3,250 in 1953 to buy the hall and the building was sold to the Council in 1954.  An application was made to the Home Office at the same time for the name to be changed to the ‘Queen Elizabeth II Hall’ but this was refused.  The Hall was used for dances (The Astralaires led by Flight Sergeant Bush), boxing and Bingo sessions.  The basement was used as a Youth Club for a while under the watchful eye of Sandy Buttle who past away February 24th 2009, this building was also an ‘overflow’ classroom for Albion Square School.  It was sold to Pembrokeshire County Council as a possible site for a public library and ‘inherited’ by Dyfed County Council in 1974.  Dyfed in turn sold it to a developer who demolished it in 1989.  The site has now been developed by a Housing Association to sheltered flats. West End Garage ‘Popton’ Williams occupied the land beside the shop in the early 1900s.  He kept a few cows and ran a retail milk business; he also supplied a horse and carriage for funerals. The 1939 Electoral Register shows the premises occupied by Winifred Williams.  After WWII the property was bought by Mr Hugh Hall who established a Garage on the site.  In 1957 he demolished the old house and rebuilt it as a car showroom with a flat over.  Hugh retired and sold the premises which are now a shop Known as Albion Stores.  James Henderson who describes himself as a Painter, Paperhanger and a Sign Writer, and he describes his business as being in Albion Square, Bush Street. I can only guess that he was tucked in behind Albion House.   The Co-Operative built a store and warehouse on the south side of the square. At some point after 1889 a Cadre of 40 men from the 1st Battalion, The Connaught Rangers arrived under the command of Lt. Col. Sir G.A. HochepiedLarpent.  This unit assisted in fighting a fire that broke out in the Co-operative Society building.  In 2008 this building became apartments, with a TV Repair shop on the ground floor, but it was a short stay as within months it relocated to No.23 Commercial Row, like all buildings in the conservation area this building has recently (2008) had a face lift. VICTORIA TERRACE This was named in honour of HRH Queen Victoria This short terrace of five, three storied houses with basements lies between Pembroke Street and the ‘Co-op’ Back Lane.  It appears to have been built in two parts – the western section of two houses and a shop were built in 1864, while the two houses on the east side were built some time later. No.03 & 04 In 1884 William Webb, was dealing in sewing machines, bicycles and tricycles,  He was also an insurance agent for the Royal London Assurance Society.  In the 1881  Census William Webb, aged 34 and born in Tenby, is shown as an insurance agent and living at No.20 Dimond Street with his wife Amelia and three children; Augusta aged 9, Minnie  aged 7 and Gertrude aged 3 (see Dimond St).  He also seems to have dealt in second-hand furniture.  The fanlight above the door to the shop bears the legend ‘WEBB No.3 ENTRANCE’.  He was at No’s 3 and 4 Victoria Terrace from about 1884 to some time before 1914.  The second house from the left was a private School managed by Madam Foster-Lander. The CLARENCE HOTEL was named after King William the Fourth, when he visited the town to launch a ship of the same name in 1827.  The Hotel was situated on the east corner of Pembroke Street and Victoria Terrace. It became the rendezvous of stagecoach travellers, the site also became the first Post Office for letters in Pembroke Dock. This came about when the Admiralty insisted that their letters be delivered nearer to their place of work rather than in Pembroke, thus giving them time to respond to their mail and sent replies back on the same day.   At one time a person would stand on the Hotel steps and read the London news paper out loud to those who could not read or afford or afford a paper. The hotel became derelict during W.W.II. and was demolished in 1948. In the 1870s, mine host was Mr George T. Husband who by that year had moved the Post Office into Pembroke Street; he was also Pembroke Dock’s last Water Bailiff. H. R. H. the Duke of Clarence tarried at the top of the street and it is understood that with Dr. J. W. Paynter J.P. they then continued their journey to Stackrocks.  The name Victoria Terrace was dropped before 1939 and the street became part of Victoria Road.  The houses are not numbered in the 1939 Electoral Register as each house has its own name. Gas Street Lighting - Gas lighting was first installed in Pembroke Dock about 1853 when John Richards established a gas works in King William Street.  The first few street lamps were funded by public subscription and were in Queen Street East and Lewis Street.  In 1948, the streets of the Town were still lit by gas and although much improved, the standard of lighting was still poor in comparison with electricity.  In January 1948 the Pembroke and District Gas Company terminated their lighting contract with the Borough Council.  This contract, which had been entered into in 1938, was terminated because the Gas Company was losing £350 annually on the contract.  Prior to the War there were 276 gas street lamps and as some of these had two mantles there were 446 mantles consuming three million cubic feet of gas annually at a cost of £750.  The maintenance costs were £600.  The cost of a new contract for gas lighting would have been £1,950. The Borough Surveyor, Mr W. B. Kavanagh, said in his report to the Lighting Committee that ‘It would be the height of folly for the Council to purchase and improve the existing street lighting system, which are obsolete’.  By August 1949 the last few remaining gas lamps had been replaced by electric lamps; the last one to go being at the eastern end of King William Street.  It would be remiss of me should I not mention the Army who from 1844 to 1967 Garrisoned the  Town in readiness should an emergency arise. Between 1815 and 1844 Royal Marines stood guard over the Dockyard but in 1844 this duty was transferred to the standing army. In the summer of that year the first regular regiment of the standing army arrived.  The 14th Foot (The Prince of Wales's Own) nicknamed ‘The Old and Bold’ attributed to them following their exploits in battle, arrived and went under canvas in the shadow of Treowen Barracks which stood on St Patrick’s Hill overlooking the Dockyard. This unit was the vanguard for over a hundred regiments, which garrisoned Pembroke Dock, some of whom returned more than once. During the 1890s the Master Gunner, Robert H. Fair, Royal Artillery who lived in the Master Gunner’s house on Victoria Road (and is still in use in 2009) on Monday 2nd January 1899 he married at St Katherine’s Church, Milford Haven. With France continually rattling their swords this duty was taken very seriously by both the Soldiers and the residence of Pembroke Dock, and what was created here will never be forgotten because the whole town was to work and live at the cutting edge of the world’s most powerful military machine, consisting of Navy, Army and later the Air Force, whose combined demands maintained a pressure on the town and its residents up to and including the second would war.  At times, almost impossible demands on its infrastructure and resources were stretched to its limits, a pressure which lasted for 153 years.  With so many troops deployed in the Defensible Barracks (1844), Upper Camp (1854), and Pennar Barracks (1845) a plan was put in place covering the three areas to share their resources. From that time it became known as the:   DEFLANPEN DEF                        LAN                     PEN Defensible Bks   Llanion Upper Camp   Pennar Bks Believed to be a ‘loose co-operation’ agreement between the three Barracks in the Garrison During that time Pembroke Dock played host to 60 infantry battalions, some of whom came back time and time again, plus 43 artillery batteries, of which 20 had formed in the town between 1915 and 1917. In addition there were the East Indian Fusilier Companies, an American Infantry Regiment plus many local volunteer units such as the Pater Artillery, The Royal Pembrokeshire Artillery Militia, the 2nd (Pembroke Dock) Depot Battalion, the 2nd (Pembroke Dock) Rifle Corps, the Pembrokeshire Royal Garrison Artillery, the Pembrokeshire Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery, and finally the 620 Infantry Royal Artillery, in addition to these Pembroke Dock also hosted the volunteers of the Monmouthshire's, Cardiganshire's, Carmarthenshire's and many other militia volunteers, not forgetting a great many flying boats and sea plane Squadrons including Canadian, American, Dutch and Australian, all of whom played their part in creating and modelling a town which has yet to celebrate its 200th Birthday.  A view over the west wall of the Defensible Barracks with the Monmouthshire Regiment paraded on what is now the Golf Club, the Monmouthshire’s arrived to relieve the 31st West Surry Regiment who then took part in the battle of Sevastopol; Lieutenant Gordon (later General) accompanied them. The Crimean war produced vast numbers of wounded soldiers, and here in Pembroke Dock a new camp was built to accommodate them.  This new camp was named ‘Upper Camp’ (1854) and the sight for it was chosen by an Officer of the Submarine Engineers stationed at the Barracks at Pennar Point East; His survey took into consideration the quality of air which would help the healing of the wounded, it was also away from other camps but at the same time close to the Cemetery.   This little camp even had a hospital complete with an operation room, so well did it fit the needs of the Military that it was used during WW1 and beyond, in fact the Hospital was still in use up to 1967 as a Medical Reception Station (MRS). The last two ‘rebuilt huts’ at Llanion demolished in 1986. The reader may know this location as being a County Council Yard just below Llanion Barracks. A few men of the Pater (Pembroke Dock) Artillery Corps may well have enrolled to serve on in other volunteer units, as the unit was disbanded in 1884, being superseded by the newly formed Garrison Artillery Regiment, bringing to an end the very first Pembroke Dock Volunteer Unit.  One of these Garrison Artillery Regiments was the 116th, which was already in the Defensible Barracks.   It was 1903 before the Pater Artillery Corps colours were laid up in the care of St Mary’s Church Pembroke.  This happened during a special service attended by the unit’s last commanding officer Captain Charles Augustus Christie, when he offered them into the care of Charles Hayward Phillips, the Vicar from 1899 to 1924.   Captain Christie's first appointment had been with the 2nd (Pembroke Dock) Artillery Corps on 14th October 1868. The dismantling of the Pater Fort, which had also started in 1903, caused a heated debate in the House of Commons, when Mr Wynford Philipps, MP for Pembrokeshire, questioned the use of War Department property being removed without the proper authority.  This ‘War Department’ property centred around a decision which had been taken locally by the Naval Department to gift some of the stones making up the forts north wall to the town, who in turn used them to build a church.  However the MP lost his case and the construction of St Teilo's church, on the corner of London Road and Ferry Lane was completed and is still in use to this day (2009).  Today a grass embankment, the same one on which they are sitting on in the picture, marks the south and west wall of the Pater Fort, and where once 68 pounder cannons peeked over the wall, today you are more likely to see men from the Water Board.  The 1867 photograph of the Pater Artillery posing on that bank in the fort clearly shows that there are a number of men wearing the uniform of the Pembrokeshire Yeomanry and Pembrokeshire Rifle Corps.  The reason for this mixture could be that men from other units may be attached, or that on leaving the service they were allowed to keep them for use in a volunteer unit.     The Admiralty authorised the building of a Chapel within the dockyard walls which was built c1835, every Sunday the Officers and the tradesmen working in the yard would attend the Sunday Service, but as the Chapel was never more than half full the Admiral invited the Army to join them, which helped to maximise the available room.  This liaison worked very well for many years but as the number of soldiers increased, it became difficult for the Dockyard workers to find a seat, but the problem was eventually sorted when the Army were told to find somewhere else (see St John’s Church). DOCKYARD CHAPEL Memorial Windows In 1887 Mrs Kelly, the wife of Captain Kelly the Dockyard Superintendent, and a Mrs Davies, the wife of a Draper, collected sufficient funds to ‘place a beautiful stained glass picture’ in the east window of the Chapel.  It illustrated the 39th verse of the 5th chapter of St. Mark’s gospel.  ‘Christ rebuking the waves and calming the sea’.  It was dedicated to the Officers and ship’s company of HMS Atalanta who perished off the Bermuda Islands in 1879.   According to Commander J.S. Guard RN, Atalanta was built in the Dockyard as HMS Juno and launched on 1st July 1847.  She was refitted and renamed in 1878 and was lost with all hands on her maiden voyage; ‘thus adding strength to the sailor’s superstition about changing names’.  To confuse matters, there was also an HMS Atalanta launched in the Dockyard on 9th October 1847.  After W.W.II, a new memorial window was installed in memory of the airmen from the RAF Pembroke Dock who lost their lives during the war.  This was removed by the RAF when the station was closed in 1957.  A replica of the window can be seen in the Public Library, Pembroke Dock. From 1930 to 1957 when the Royal Air Force left Pembroke Dock the Chapel became a place of entertainment, with a Theatre and a Cinema (The Astra) where among others one man stood out as an exceptional entertainer, Mr Samual (Sam) Holmwood was a fantastic singer and people came from afar to hear him.  Sam had served with the Royal Artillery and was demobilised in Pembroke Dock, following his demob among other things he took up entertaining, today (July 2009) Sam can still be seen around town walking from his house in Law Street to the shops.  Sam told me that he was always the last to go on stage, in his words ‘Because of my love of music and singing they could not get me off the stage’ He went on to tell us that. ‘When I was impersonating the late great Al Johnson I would always use black boot polish to emanate him when I sang his songs. Sykes, who lived on Military Road, would fire the gun, which was mounted in the Defensible Barracks, twice a day, the ‘midday’ gun when fired could be heard in Kilgetty where the farmers would set their time pieces.  And when the ‘2100hrs’ gun fired it was a signal for all young ladies to be homeward bound.  This block was demolished when the last regiment moved out in the 1967 Living in Pembroke Dock today are a great many people who are descendants of both the men and women who served the crown either by working in the Royal Dockyard or had served with the many regiments and squadrons which came here.    As you have already discovered, in celebration of those distant, hectic days, first the Pembroke Borough Council and latterly the Pembroke Dock Town Council have recognized those naval commanders, regiments, squadrons and the founding fathers by naming many of the streets after them.  Which all serve to this day in reminding successive generations of those days long past, thus keeping alive the town’s glorious heritage? There is still much to do about the Central Ward, but before it is written in more research is necessary. Please Note due to space and copyright issues images and scanned documents have been removed, but by clicking This Link you can view the full version of the work. The document remains the property of Ron W Watts and cannot be reproduced without his express permission
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