Welcome to your new favourite museum

  • Museum
  • Inside museum
  • Charterhouse Lifeboat
  • Tern
  • Tern
  • Fastnet Rock
  • Agnes
  • Agnes
  • Restoration in progress
  • Cleddau King
  • Cleddau Queen under construction
  • Castle Pond
  • Tenby Lugger maiden voyage
  • Activist
  • River Rally
  • Charterhouse Lifeboat
  • Tenby Lugger

Hancock's Historic Boatyard

Where to find us

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.

Boat Jumble - Saturday 9th April

Come along to the WWMHS boat jumble. There will be food and drink available and in the afternoon, entertainment provided by the Fishguard Folk Singers who will be regaling us with some traditional sea shanties.

Escape Boat

The UK's First Escape Boat

The West Wales Maritime Heritage Society is developing the UK’s first “Escape Boat”.
Based on the popular “Escape Room” games, this will be set on board a real boat, based in the museum grounds, Hancocks Yard, which is an ex shipbuilding yard in Front Street, Pembroke Dock.
The Gamers will have one hour to thwart a Soviet Spy and prevent him from passing on vital
The game will require participating groups to solve various tasks in order to expose the spy. Maritime Heritage themes will be used, with an emphasis of Naval Codes of the period - hence the name “Code Red”.
The initial idea was to develop a conventional Escape Room, but it soon morphed into the escape boat idea. After several false leads the boat was found in Norwich. It now has pride of place on the large slipway, and is being overhauled and set up ready for the gamers to tackle.

This project has the support of Pembroke Dock Town Council and the Pembroke Dock Town Team who are offering practical help. Also, Futureworks are sending some young volunteers to help out, as well as PAVS- the Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Societies.
The Society always welcomes volunteers , regardless of age and experience. With other important projects under way, they would really appreciate more help, with the practical side of the project, and also with running the game when it is set up.
With a lot of help, WWMHS expect to test the game with volunteers, and then be ready to launch it in early 2022.

Pembroke River Rally

Details for the 2022 River Rally will be published here shortly. Watch this space.

The Tenby Lugger

Tenby Luggers once sailed the waters of Pembrokeshire from the early 19th Century until as late as the 1950's. These iconic little boats were once common in Tenby harbour.

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.

Restoration Project

Charterhouse Lifeboat

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.


Restoration Projects

Where to find us

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 Maritime Museum

Pembroke Dock once led the world in shipbuilding - it has been a sorry omission that we have not had a maritime museum here to tell the story.  To right this wrong, the Society set up the Museum very recently in August 2015 aiming to give an insight into shipbuilding, not only in Hancock’s yard but all along the Cleddau, with its associated trades and occupations.

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.

Contact us


Hancock's Yard

Front Street

Pembroke Dock

SA72 6JY

United Kingdom