Welcome to your new favourite museum
West Wales Maritime Heritage Society is based in Hancock’s shipyard on Front Street, Pembroke Dock, an historic shipyard where ships have been built for over 200 years.
Boasting a long history of shipbuilding, Peter Hancock & Sons took over the yard in 1921 from former owners J & W Francis. Many ships have been constructed here. Francis’ built two and three masted ships such as the Verbena pictured below.
Hancock's began by building fishing smacks of the Brixham trawler type but larger. In later years the two Hobbs Point ferries, the Cleddau Queen in 1956 and the Cleddau King in 1962 were constructed. The Cleddau Queen can be seen below still under construction and the Cleddau King landing a vehicle.
The last ship to be built in Hancock's yard in 1979 was the Fastnet Rock, a coal carrier.
The yard is still popularly known as Hancock’s yard and many Pembroke Dock people served apprenticeships there. A local author and member of the society, David James, has now written a book about Hancock's Yard and gathered memories and stories of the former employees and also those of Mr Peter Hancock himself.
West Wales Maritime Heritage Society is holding 4 workshops in their workshops on Front Street, Pembroke Dock to introduce beginners to the Welsh tradition of carving lovespoons. The workshops are in the Museum compound and the location can be found on the map at the bottom of this page.
High quality materials and tools are provided to introduce beginners into safe ways of carving and to produce a beginners spoon. The workshops will run from 12 o’clock midday until 5 p.m. There is a charge of £25 - which also includes a one day membership of the society.
The workshops will be held on the 15th July, the 12th and 26th August and the 9th September 2021. Please call Brian King on 0779 000 5869 to check availability of courses, payment details and to answer any questions.
One of West Wales Maritime Heritage Society's main annual events is the Pembroke River Rally organised by Pembroke Town Council. The Society transports Pembroke's Mayor and dignitaries up the Pembroke River, leading the flotilla of boats to maintain the right of navigation. This year's rally (2021) will take place on the 7th of August. Boat's are to assemble in Crow pool at 15:45, to arrive at Pembroke castle pool at 16:30.
They fished , took tourists around the bay in Summer and were the Caldey Island ferries. They were superseded by the bigger Brixham trawlers , who too became obsolete.
The Tenby luggers still took tourists round the bay and across to Caldey , surviving until the 1950's in this role . Thus it is very fitting that this vessel, unique to south Pembrokeshire and nowhere else in the UK, has been built to show another aspect of this Counties wonderful maritime heritage.
MITEC and the West Wales Maritime Heritage Society have combined to build and launch the new Lugger which we have named Heritage. She made her maiden voyage to Tenby on Saturday, August 25th.
Heritage will sail Pembrokeshire waters again and people may even have a chance to sail aboard her.
On Friday, February 14th we gave an official welcome to Fishguard’s historic Charterhouse Lifeboat at its new home in Hancock’s Yard. The ceremony was conducted by the Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Sara Edwards and was attended by local dignitaries including the Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, Simon Hancock, and the Mayors of Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Neyland, Milford, Fishguard and Goodwick.
In order to display Charterhouse to the public we need to construct a protective structure and for this we have set up a Just Giving campaign. Follow this link to the Charterhouse Returns Trust page and please help us by passing on the link to your Facebook friends.
Our activities centre around the Milford Haven Waterway in west Wales, where we have workshops on the historic site in Pembroke Dock, known locally as Hancock's Yard.
Ships have been built here since 1804. We have a number of restored vintage sailing craft and there are several still to be restored.
We have recently completed the replica AGNES, (seen below left) being moved from the Museum to a workshop for finishing. The original Agnes was built at Front Street in 1907 and used for fishing on the Haven until 1947. It was later abandoned on the beach at Front Street and eventually given to us for restoration. By now it was beyond repair so we have built this replica and we will be sailing it next Summer.
The central photograph below shows AGNES under construction with the original AGNES behind.
Other Projects ongoing are the restoration of Pembroke One Design UNDINE (pictured right) and LV lifeboat GENERAL PICTON.
The setting is ideal: where better than a historic shipyard on Pembroke Dock’s waterfront with its own slipway and dry dock?
The project has proved popular and successful, attracting donations which have greatly expanded the content of the Museum as well as photographs and memorabilia. The Museum is entirely dependent on good will as it has not received any funding at all, other than that which the society has raised through fundraising and donations.
The museum is open to the public throughout the summer Monday to Saturday between 10am. to 4pm. until September 28th. Admission is free but donations would be welcome.
If you would like to volunteer or become a member please click the button below to go to our volunteers and membership page.
The society has an extensive library of maritime books and charts. These are available for members use and below is a catalogue in PDF format.