Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
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Volume Three - The Pontoon Era - The Great War 1914 - 18 . . .

1915 - Government Control - 'In October, 1915, all dry docks and ship repairing yards came under the aegis of the Government. Owing to the increased activity of the enemy submarines the Admiralty in 1917 appointed a Director of Ship Repairs, who was represented in the various districts by deputy directors with particular knowledge and experience in ship repairing. Co-ordination of effort was carried out still further and in conjunction with private enterprise and initiative an immense amount of work was successfully accomplished.

Labour and Its Reward - Not only did the managers of the various firms exhibit skill and enterprise, but the artisans and labourers connected to the South Wales ship repairing trade lent themselves with a will to their important tasks. Reorganisation and startling changes in workshop practice necessitated interference with time honoured customs and habits. In spite of this the introduction of new systems was carried through without friction or disturbance. The thousands of workmen employed in the yards fully recognised the importance of the work which they were rendering.'

The principle ship repairing firms in South Wales were listed and this included the Penarth Pontoon and Slipway Co., Ltd., Penarth of whom we should be proud. - [691] [684]

1920  - The 'Handbook to Cardiff' published by the British Association during 1920 [542] had the following account of the work of approx. 15,000 men and boys who worked at the ship-repairing establishments in the Bristol Channel ports and explained their contribution to the WWI war effort. The contribution of the Pontoon Dock and Slipway of the Penarth Pontoon Company Limited is again noted.

'Much secrecy has been maintained in connection with the work carried out in ship-repairing yards during the War, and it is no exaggeration to state that the ship-repairers of the bristol Channel have undertaken over 75 per cent. of the whole repairing work, and saved the country some millions of pounds by repairing and making good vessels that suffered damage of such extensive nature that before the War they would have been broken up for scrap. In addition to repair work to hulls and engines, our repairing forces were utilised in other directions. Ships had to be converted to adapt them for uses other than they had served during peace times. Troopships and Hospital ships had to be fitted and repaired ; emergency arrangements had to be made to enable ships of ordinary type to do the work of oil-tankers.

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150 years of Penarth Dock History and Heritage

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