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Industrial Heritage in Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire is today known for its tourism industry and its farming. However, through its history has had its share of industrial activities that were world reknowned.

Slate Quarrying
The old slate industry of Pembrokeshire is now largely forgotten, but was well-known during most of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th, for its products were in demand in all parts of the British Isles, even in North Wales. This demand was due to the attractive colouring of Pembrokeshire slates, ranging from purply-black to blue, green, grey, silver-grey, and even to the random rich orange and brown colourations of the 'rustic' slates.

The best Pembrokeshire slate matched the quality ofNorth Wales Slate. However, a higher proportion of the slate was used for slabs and carved products such as troughs and cisterns rather than for roofing.

There were about 100 slate quarries in Pembrokeshire. and they were spread over a wide band stretching from St. Davids through North Pembrokeshire to its Eastern border.

Abereiddi quarry is particular interest the sea wall has been blewn out that separated the quarry from the sea and created what is today known as the “Blue Lagoon”, a deep lagoon coloured bright blue thanks to the slate. This lagoon was in September 2012 used as a venue for the Red bull open world diving championship.

Remains of the quarries and their associated infrastructure can be seen throughout the county such as at Abereiddi, Cilgerran and Rosebush.

Fishguard Herring
Lower Fishguard developed as a herring  fishery and port, trading with Ireland, Bristol  and Liverpool. In the late 18th century it had 50 coasting vessels, and exported oats  and salt herring. Herrings were at one period the backbone of Fishguard's economy, both as an export and a major part of the diet. The local people were themselves called "sgadan Abergwaun" - Fishguard herrings. For a short period herrings were abundant in the Irish Sea the shoals came to an abrupt end in circa 1790. This was a disaster for the local community which had developed as a result of the industry. There are 2 monuments to Herring in Fishguard, one on the Goodwick Parrog and one in Lower Town.

There were several brick works in Pembrokeshire, including one at Goodwick. Another is at Porthgain, where remains can be seen today. The discovery that slate waste could be used to make bricks led to the development of another Porthgain industry. A natural beauty spot, Porthgain is a sheltered port that in the 19th century was home to a thriving slate and brick industry, the remains of which are still visible today including a brickworks and workers’ cottages. The mining began in 1890, employing roughly 200 men and boys and the town eventually became a crucial part of Britain’s building boom. Many buildings, even as far away as London and Liverpool have Porthgain granite in them. For more information Click here.

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