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ABERAERON HARBOUR

Site Details


NPRN 34169

Map Reference SN46SE

Grid Reference SN4548963002

Unitary (Local) Authority Ceredigion

Old County Cardiganshire

Community Aberaeron

Type of Site HARBOUR

Broad Class MARITIME

Period Post Medieval

Site Description The development of the harbour at Aberaeron dates back to the beginning of the 19th century, when the owner of the Mynachty estate, Rev Alban Thomas-Jones Gwynne, obtained a private Act of Parliament to rebuild the harbour. The building of the new piers and removal of the shingle banks began in 1808 supervised by William Green of Aberystwyth and Edward Ellis of Chancery at a cost of about £6000. The piers were completed by 1809 and the inner harbour excavated after 1811. The harbour was fully completed in 1816 and subsequently the town was planned in the regency style around a large open square - named Alban Square.
A shipbuilding industry was estsblished in 1846, when the families of John Harries and Evan Jones moved from Aberaeth to Aberaeron. The Harries' Dolphin shipyard was situated in Vulcan Place on the south side of the new harbour.
Admiralty Sailing Directions dating to 1870 describe the ongoing problems of shingle at the harbour mouth - 'Vessels drawing 8 and 9 feet may be admitted on springs, and those of 5 and 6 feet draft on neaps. Pilots are always in attendance... When the wind blows hard from the northwest there is but little shelter at high water within the piers, the run being so great as nearly to present the possibility of securing vessels. Limestone heaps are also scattered about the channel and along the inner face of the south pier in such a way as to be dangerous to vessels entering. Two solid wood buoys mark either side of the fairway of the entrance, and, during the herring season, two lanterns, to be kept in line, are kept in readiness to be shown at tide time… Shipbuilding and shipping repair are carried out to a modrate extent; the water of the river is good for use,and corn and potatoes are exported,and coal, culm, limestone and timber are imported.'
Many of the houses surrounding the harbour were owned by the local sea-captains. The town's tollhouse was one of the leading marks for the harbour entrance. The harbour went into decline after the introduction of the Railway in 1911. The bicentenary of the Aberaeron Harbour Act of 1807 was celebrated by various projects and an exhibition in July 2007.

Associated with:
Aberaeron north-east quay (Nprn 34171)

Sources include:
Admiralty, 1870, Sailing Directions for the West Coast of England from Milford Haven to the Mull of Galloway including the Isle of Man, pg36

Maritime Officer, RCAHMW, August 2014.

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