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Thomas Ward's Ship Breaking Yard

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Map ReferenceSM90NW
Grid ReferenceSM9143805311
Unitary (Local) AuthorityPembrokeshire
Old CountyPembrokeshire
CommunityMilford Haven
The site of Thomas Ward's ship breaking yard from 1920-1934. Vessels were kept afloat here as long possibly whilst their engines and fittings were removed and then beached for the hull to be dismantled.

Event and Historical Information:
Formerly part of the Milford Haven estate developed by the Greville family from 1790s onwards, the railway and pier serving Irish passenger steamers was eventually sold off as something of a `white elephant? in 1920 to Sit Hugh James Protheroe. The land was then sold to Messrs Thomas W Ward of Sheffield for ship breaking. Thomas Ward was born in 1853. He started as a coal merchant and then became a scrap metal dealer in Sheffield opened his ship dismantling department in 1894. The company soon became the largest supplier of scrap metal to the growing steel industry. After the war, most naval vessels built pre-1910 were declared redundant. The vessels decommissioned from 1919 onwards included 22 Dreadnought battleships and battle cruisers totaling approximately 500,000 tons of shipping. Thomas Ward is believed to have had a total of 13 yards including Newton Noyes by the 1920's (e.g. Inverkeithing from 1923, New Holland from 1920, and Pembroke Dock from 1926). The yard and its associated land were bought by the Admiralty in 1934 for a munitions depot (see NPRN 416747) and to facilitate small ship repairs. Thomas Ward Ltd continued until taken over by Rio Tinto, a British-Australian multinational metals and mining corporation, in the early 1980s.

Sources include:
Records of the Milford Haven Estate, Pembroke Record Office, GB 0213 D/MHE

Maritime Officer, RCAHMW, May 2012.