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Milford Haven Dockyard

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Map ReferenceSM90NW
Grid ReferenceSM9011205781
Unitary (Local) AuthorityPembrokeshire
Old CountyPembrokeshire
CommunityMilford Haven
PeriodPost Medieval
Sir William Hamilton obtained an Act of Parliament in 1790 to establish the port at Milford on the land of Hubberston and Pill. Charles Greville, his agent, attracted Quaker whalers from Nantucket to settle in Milford in 1793 and also persuaded the Navy Board in 1797 to establish a dockyard to build warships. In 1802 Milford Haven was proclaimed by Lord Nelson as one of the finest harbours ever seen.

In 1810 the Quaker whalers returned to America and in 1814 the Navy Board transferred the dockyard to Pembroke Dock. During this period Milford languished. In 1874 the port was given a boost with the formation of the Milford Docks company (the docks were not completed for another 14 years, opening in 1886). The docks were adapted to the requirements of the fishing industry; ice factories, fish market and smoke-houses were built, and Milford grew to be one of the chief fishing ports of Britain.

The development of the giant oil tankers following the Suez crisis in the 1950's led to Milford being developed as a major oil port, because of its deep water channel. In 1960 the Esso oil refinery opened and by the 1970s Milford had become the leading oil port in Britain and the second largest in Europe. However, within 20 years of being opened, the Esso oil refinery was closed.

Reference: Jon Gower, Homeland, 1996.