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.

Upcoming Events

2022 Events Calendar

A Parade of Sail

Be a part of the Jubilee celebrations on Front Street in Pembroke Dock.

On Saturday 4th June Front Street will be closed for a street party. The will be food, drink and live entertainment available.

The West Wales Maritime Heritage Society is organising a “Parade of Sail” as a part of these celebrations.

This event is only for sailing boats as a requirement of participation is that the boat is “dressed overall” from bow to masthead to stern. The purpose is to inject an air of festivity onto the waterfront of Front Street.

There is a £10.00 registration fee for taking part. This is to cover organisation and administration and the provision of a service to take your lines when you arrive and let them go when you depart, so that you and your crew do not have to jump waist deep into the water. You can then come ashore when the tide has receded and avoid wet feet.

There are a limited number of moorings available and these will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. 

To register please make sure that you provide the following details in the "Order Comments" section of the checkout:

It is very important that you do this so that we can reserve the mooring that you have chosen for your vessel.

1. Your name and contact details (phone and email) so that you can be advised of any last minute changes.

2. Your vessel’s name

3. Your vessel’s length

4. Your vessel’s draught

5. Your vessel’s keel arrangement (bilge, lifting, etc)

To register select one of the numbered moorings that you would like to have from the list below. The numbers are running (1 to 20) from left to right as seen from the sea. So Front Street Mooring #1 is to the far left and Front Street Mooring #20 is to the far right.

On the day yachts will assemble to the West of the Martello Tower and the Irish Ferry landing. They will then proceed towards Front Street in line astern, led by the Lifeboat and the Fire Ship. The flotilla will, when past the Martello Tower, turn hard-a-starboard and sweep into and then along Front Street, at the far end turning hard-a-port and head back out into the middle of the river, where they will describe a large circle and then head directly towards Front Street and their individually assigned moorings.

Your bow mooring warp will need to be a minimum of 15 metres long and you will need to be capable of passing it ashore. You will also need to use a kedge anchor to moor your stern.

Useful information:

Morning High Tide – 09:52

Afternoon Low Tide – 16:00

Evening High Tide – 22:06

Dry on the mooring at approximately 13:00

Float on the mooring at approximately 19:00 (depending upon draught)

Pembroke River Rally 

The 2022 River Rally will be take place on Saturday 9th July. This year there is the added bonus that those who wish to do so, can remain overnight in Pembroke Castle Pond, departing on the afternoon of Sunday 10th July. For further details including departure and arrival times please download the sailing directions.
On the day, boats will assemble in the main river at Crow Pool and be led in single file up to the castle pond by the lead boat which will be provided and crewed by members of the West Wales Maritime Heritage Society. There will be a variety of stands in the car park adjacent to the pond and the mayor's of Pembroke town and Pembroke Dock will be travelling with the fleet and will address the crowds upon arrival.
All are welcome to attend.

For those wishing to take part with a boat in the flotilla, please register your details using the form below. This information will only be used to determine the number and size of boats intending to take part in the River Rally and by providing your email we can keep you appraised of any changes. Also please make sure to download and aquaint yourself with the sailing directions and the pennar gut buoyage.

Sailing Directions

Sailing Directions.pdf
Pennar Gut Buoyage.pdf
River Rally Boat Registration - Please provide your name, boat name, length and draught

A talk by Tom Cunliffe

Come and listen to Tom as he regales us with tales of all things nautical. Tom has spent his life in and around boats, his special interest being wooden traditional yachts, which he has sailed in for over 40 years. Tom has written many books including the Shell Channel Pilot and the current edition of the RYA Yachtmaster Theory book and also regularly contributes to various sailing magazines and has starred in a number of documentaries for the BBC.

Full details of time and venue will be posted here soon as well as the ability to puchase tickets.

Would you like to gain some sailing or boat building and restoration skills? 

At the West Wales Maritime Heritage Society we are a living and working museum. Yes we do have static displays but we also have craft which we take out on the water. Our mission is to restore the boats that we acquire with the primary intention of sailing them if they can be restored to a safe working condition. Naturally not all boats can, some are beyond ever being seaworthy again but these are thankfully in the minority.

As well as visiting the society and viewing the exhibits we would encourage everyone to become a member and get actively involved. All of our members have the opportunity to go out on the water in our craft and also to work on those that are undergoing restoration. So if you’ve ever had a hankering to pick up a saw, plane or chisel and make a wooden boat, now you can. We welcome new members getting involved hands on in all of our restoration projects.

Even if you don’t have any practical skills but would like to learn, we have many enthusiastic members who will be very happy to teach you boat building skills. Perhaps you would prefer to get out on the water and learn to sail or be taught boat handling skills by those members who are keen sailors, rope work enthusiasts or can show you basic boat etiquette. We don’t only have wooden boats, we also recently acquired a very early example of a fibreglass motor launch which requires major work to bring her back to her former glory, or perhaps you’d prefer to gain some blacksmithing skills in our newly erected forge.

If that has piqued your interest, come along for a visit and see what we have to offer.

For no particular reason we find ourselves in a situation where many of the active members are close to retirement age or are retired. While we welcome people of all ages we are particularly interested to encourage young and middle aged people to get involved, as only by passing on the older members knowledge to the following generations, will we prevent these traditional skills from dying out.

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 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.

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.


We are always grateful for any donations that you would be willing to make as the restoration of the boats is costly.
We are an entirely volunteer run organisation and so you can be sure that any donation you make goes towards the boat restoration and upkeep of the museum and yard. We do not have any paid staff and so none of your donation will be used for wages.
To donate, please click on the PayPal button below and choose the amount that you wish to contribute.

Contact us


Hancock's Yard

Front Street

Pembroke Dock

SA72 6JY

United Kingdom