Picture Essay: The Swansea Marina in 1981

In the fine May weather of 1981, the transformation of Swansea's second dock was in full flow. The stagnant green pool of water that the South Dock had become was drained away and the half tide basin which had been filled in with rubble and rubbish in the early seventies was dug out again. It became a fascinating spectacle as tractors and bulldozers crawled through the mud plainly out of place on the floor of the dock. The dock looked huge; far bigger than when it was filled with water. Along the northern wall of the dock a number of streams of water plunged into the hole from the drains placed there in the 1850s. The water was the streams of Townhill and Ffynone finding a last resting place in the dock and helping to replace the water that tended to leak out from the structure.

Around the edges of the dock were the last remnants of the industrial South dock; the Coast Lines warehouses and the fish market. The Power House was a grimy empty shell awaiting an amazing transformation into a restaurant and pub. And the blue bridge still went somewhere...unaware of the brutal amputation that was to come. At the western end of the dock, the first flats were being laid out in the shadow of the cranes that were building the first phase of the County Hall for the always unpopular and problematic West Glamorgan County Council. Nearby, in a splendid isolation, the Weavers Flour Mill stood generating endless rumours about being converted to a hotel, or flats for yuppies, or an art gallery or countless other things.

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The Maritime and Industrial Museum was a wonderful adaptation of an old building and it seemed so right to be there surrounded by the last vestiges of the dock.

The dock looked so much bigger when it was drained...

The South Dock power house provided the essential power for the lock gates and some of the windlasses that made the dock work.

Phase 1 of the 'white elephant' dominated the western end of the development.

Looking east towards the half tide basin standing on the blue bridge which still went somewhere...

 

Weavers...you either loved it or hated it...

The half tide basin with a coffer dam at the river end.

The Coast Lines warehouse home to hundreds of rats!

Home Page ] Reading about the Port of Swansea ] Swansea Harbour in 1771 ] Swansea's South Dock (c.1870s) ] Swansea's South Dock (c. 1880s) ] Swansea Docks in 1881 ] Brunel's report for Swansea Docks 1846 ] 2. Charter of William de Newburgh ] 6. A Royal Charter ] 9. Trade In The Early Port ] 10. A port Indenture of 1135 ] 11. Salt A vital commodity ] 12. Swansea's Layer Keeper ] 12a. Early Quays and Docks ] 14. The Uncrowned King Of Swansea ] 15. Swansea in the 1790s ] 16. After Gabriel ] 17. 1790s Swansea;The Time For Change ] 17a. Smuggling in Swansea and Gower ] [Smuggling in Gower sketch map] 18. The Harbour Act and the Mumbles Lighthouse ] 19. Port Tennant ] Port Tennant in 1827 ] 20. Port Development. A Chronology ] 21. The South Wales ports ] 21a. The port in the 1840s. ] 22. Joseph Rutter's pamphlet of 1843 ] 25. Thomas Page's report of 1846. ] 27. John Henry Vivian ] 29. The East Dock ] 30. The Prince of Wales opens the East Dock ] The Helwick Lightvessel ] James Harris, Swansea seascape painter ] Jack's World: Swansea North Dock in the 1880s ] Mr Padley of Swansea ] Plan of the Prince of Wales Dock ] Who put the 'Sweyn' in Swansea? ] Swansea's first tugs ] The Victorian port of Swansea ][The Chariot of Progress in 1909]

 

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