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Great Western Railway and the Fishguard Ocean Port – How WWI dashed ambitious plans for Fishguard

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by Doug Evans

ALTHOUGH Fishguard Port is best known now for its easy route to Ireland, it was once part of an ambitious plan to take trans-Atlantic passengers away from the likes of Plymouth and Southampton.

In 1889, the Great Western Railway rook over the North Pembrokeshire and Fishguard Railway, and in preparation of turning Fishguard into a purpose-built ocean liner port, the GWR opened its first station, Fishguard & Goodwick railway station, in 1899 while work on the new port began with the construction of Fishguard Harbour’s East breakwater.

The overlooking village of Harbour Village was built to accommodate workers and the necessary 27 acres site and 900 metre breakwater were provided by blasting 1.6 million tonnes of rock from the cliff face.

A new line would connect the proposed liner terminal on the East Breakwater to the West Wales line. The new 2 mile route, which would have bypassed the steeper gradients and curves on this part of the original line, would have included a deep cutting, embankments and two tunnels.

However, the project to build a breakwater and an ocean-going terminal was abandoned after it became clear silting (which could not be prevented by dredging) would stop large ocean-going ships from using the port.

Local legend has it that the engineer responsible for this mistake committed suicide after realising the port was not suitable for its intended purpose. Another local myth suggests that the breakwater was deliberately built this way as locals didn’t want the harbour to become too large.

The East Breakwater was left unfinished. Two short sections of the planned railway to the new port terminal were completed before the project was ended.

In 1906, Fishguard and West Wales was visited by the largest ship in the world at the time the RMS Mauretania.

Fishguard Harbour, from above

An archived pamphlet for the Fishguard Port from 1913 provides a fascinating insight into the journey from America to London at the time.

It reads: “Fishguard is situated on the south-west coast of Wales, and is the nearest British port to New York used by Atlantic liners. It affords the quickest means of reaching London, and is also a convenient port for the Continent.

“In addition, many parts of England and Wales are within easy access of Fishguard; the Metropolis is 262 miles away and this distance is covered in under five hours.

“Tickets for seats in the special train from Fishguard to London will be furnished to Saloon passengers holding railway coupons. Passengers who do not hold coupons can purchase same at Purser’s Office before leaving the steamer.

“Single tickets and outward halves of return tickets between Fishguard and London are available for three months if purchased in America, or if issued in exchange for vouchers obtained in America. In other circumstances they are available for ten days.

“The baggage of London-bound passengers is ready labeled, “London, via Fishguard,” the lettering being white on a purple ground, the bold lettering and the distinctive coloring precluding the possibility of confusion.

“The route from Fishguard to London, passing through the industrial centres in South Wales and the charming scenes of the Thames valley, is full of interest.

“The speed at which the run is covered is the most potent tribute to the excellence of the Great Western’s iron road and their rolling stock.  Only one stop is made, and this of a very short duration, at Cardiff.

“Between the Fishguard of today and that of even a decade ago there is a great difference. A bay which boasted but of a departing or rather departed fishing industry, and was visited by only a few coastwise traders and fishing craft seeking shelter, has been converted into a splendid harbour, a harbour in which great natural advantages have been ably supplemented by the works which the Great Western Railway Company have constructed.

“At the quay by the railway station the splendid fleet of turbine steamers running between Fishguard and Rosslare (Ireland) are berthed, and here are the most modern appliances for the speedy transfer from ship to train, or vice versa, of goods and baggage.”

Although the ambitious plans for Fishguard were not to be, the Port continues to this day, providing crossings to Rosslare with the Superferry Stena Europe providing two daily crossings all year round.

Transport for Wales operate from Fishguard Harbour and have special trains to connect with the arrival and departures of the Stena Line Superferry Stena Europe that operates to/from Rosslare.

Community

The young can be recycling ambassadors for Pembrokeshire

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NESTLE WATERS UK, which has a plant in Narberth, Pembrokeshire, has launched R-Generation, a new education programme to equip primary and  secondary students with the skills to inspire positive change in their school community and beyond.


The R-Generation resources provide curriculum links to PSHE, Citizenship, Science and Geography, and  offer a whole-school approach to being more actively sustainable.


The resources for primary students include a range of interactive activities that can easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning such as an  assembly presentation, school launch guide and four workshops focused on key topics such as reusing,  recycling and being an active citizen.


The aim of the programme is to empower students to take recycling  into their own hands, by creating school surveys, interviews and analysis that help students better  understand what recycling means for their school and how they can build better habits for the future. To  make this a manageable goal for primary school students, the resources showcase simple tips on  understanding labels, checking your bins and knowing how to recycle in your local area.


The programme also offers resources for secondary students, which focus on creating a team of R Generation Ambassadors who create an Action Plan to make their school community more sustainable.


Through a series of workshops, students will learn how to lead by example, exploring other young  influential sustainability ambassadors to inspire their thinking. These R-Generation Ambassadors will then  create a 10-week sustainability plan for their school, featuring school recycling challenges and ideas about  how to include their wider school community of parents, councillors and local press to make a difference in  their local community.
Emma Barker, a teacher at Grampian Primary Academy in Derby, said: “The R-Generation programme has equipped my class  with important skills to be able to drive a lasting change within the school. It’s helped them to realise they  have a voice and are able to communicate their newfound knowledge about recycling and sustainability  with confidence. They are immensely proud of the projects they have implemented across the school, and  they have helped to inspire others to make small changes to help the environment.”


Hayley Lloyd House, Head of Sustainability at Nestlé Waters UK said: “Thinking beyond sustainability and  reducing our impact on the environment are at the heart of everything we do, and the world needs  everyone to take action and do their bit now, more than ever before. We hope to showcase the variety of simple actions children, schools and local  communities can take to create circularity in their organisations that can help reduce their impact. These  small changes can have an impact on a global scale and we can all be part of the change our planet needs  for tomorrow and the future.”


The R-Generation primary and secondary resource packs are now available to be downloaded for free at:  http://r-generation.co.uk/

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Community

Have your say to help improve well-being in Pembrokeshire

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The Well-being Assessment is a requirement set out in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.

PUBLIC feedback is being invited on an important document which aims to improve all aspects of well-being in Pembrokeshire.

The Draft Well-being Assessment for Pembrokeshire, produced by Pembrokeshire’s Public Services Board (PSB), is online now at: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/assessment-of-local-well-being-2021

The Well-being Assessment is a requirement set out in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.

The Act requires key public and third sector organisations to create a PSB and work together to improve the economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being of its area and communities.

The Well-being Assessment looks at the key issues for people and communities in Pembrokeshire, across all aspects of well-being, through data, information sources and research, engagement with local people and stakeholders, and consideration of future trends.

The Well-being Assessment is a crucial step towards creating the next Well-being Plan by May 2023, which will enable the PSB to identify, prioritise and agree the objectives and actions to improve well-being in Pembrokeshire.

There are many issues which affect well-being such as inequalities in health and standards of living, population change, air pollution and flood risk, limited resources for social care, lack of housing, poverty, climate change and depletion of natural resources.

Members of the public are invited to read the draft document and provide feedback.

Changes will be made in response to the feedback where appropriate to improve the document.

Work will continue prior to approval of a final version in March 2022. The draft document and brief response form is be available at: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/assessment-of-local-well-being-2021

Please make your responses by Monday, February 21.

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Community

Citizens sought to sit on Council’s Governance and Audit Committee

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Council Chamber

PEMBROKESHIRE County Council is looking for two citizens to sit as Lay Persons of its Governance & Audit Committee.

The committee’s work includes:

  • Reviewing and scrutinising the Authority’s financial affairs
  • Making reports and recommendations in relation to the Authority’s financial affairs
  • Reviewing and assessing the risk management, internal control, performance assessment and corporate governance arrangements of the Authority
  • Making reports and recommendations to the Council or to the relevant Committee on the adequacy and effectiveness of those arrangements
  • Plus several other functions

The successful applicants will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the value of the Audit function. They are also expected to demonstrate commitment to the values of accountability, probity, openness, independence, fairness and sound financial management in the public sector.

Citizens cannot become a Lay Member if they are:

  • A member or officer of any Local Authority
  • If they have in the period of 12 months ending with the date of appointment been a member or an officer of any Local Authority
  • If they are a spouse or civil partner of a member or officer of any Local Authority.

The appointment will be made by a panel of five individuals including an Independent Chairman, three Members of the Council and a Community Council Member.

An allowance will be payable for attendance at Governance & Audit Committee meetings.

The closing date for applications is 24 January 2022. Applications are welcomed from all sections of the community.

For a full description of the role and an application pack please contact

Jackie Thomas (tel: 01437 776292) or e-mail: JackieJ.Thomas@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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