My objective in producing this body of work is to celebrate the aesthetic quality of Burry Port’s maritime structures, to highlight the patina, the intricate design of the iron work and to signify their historic and heritage value. It is all too easy to walk pass the town’s history without noticing these edifices, assuming that they will always be there, but without knowing the future of our harbour. I consider the harbour to be the heart of Burry Port’s heritage.
Having seen many of the photographs of when the harbour was a thriving hub of industry, I can only imagine what it must have been like as a teenager to experience the activity and the clutter of the tradespeople as they went about their business. Did the kids climb upon the boats and scurry around the decks avoiding being caught by the deck hands? Did they scale the rigging pretending to be Sea Captains? When I consider my childhood, 60-years ago, sneaking into railway engine sheds and climbing on the steam engines, that’s exactly what I would have been doing.
It’s fascinating to read the harbour’s history published by the Pembrey and Burry Port Heritage Group; the harbour was officially opened in 1836, but the first ship to use the harbour was the Nimis, a 300-ton sailing brig, four years earlier. The harbour was built to serve the Gwendraeth Valley mines and other industrialists in the area. It must have been such an exciting, busy, and adventurous place, with the fast-paced activity of the transport network of the harbour, tramroad and canal.
I can only hope that future generations will value this important heritage site and appreciate the beauty of the harbour’s ironware.
I would like to thank the Pembrey and Burry Port Heritage Group for permission to reproduce the information from their web site.