Former naval battery, Caernarfon

Former naval battery, Caernarfon

Old photo of Caernarfon naval batteryThis building was erected as a battery for training Royal Navy volunteers in the use of large guns. It has been home to Caernarfon Sailing Club for longer than it was a battery.

Caernarfon’s naval artillery volunteers were established in 1877, initially drilling in the castle. They were inspected by Admiral Richard Phillimore in December 1877, accompanied by Captain Foote of the Royal Navy. He also inspected the Bangor volunteers, accompanied by a Captain Hand! The admiral said Caernarfon should have two 6.5-ton guns to “command” the entrance to the Menai Strait.

The guns were housed in the new building. They stuck out through holes in the wall, creating a threatening appearance. One of them is visible in the old photo.

By 1905 the battery had c.800 volunteers on its books, making it the largest naval battery in Wales, but the Admiralty proposed to replace it with training at sea. In 1906 several of the town’s institutions lobbied local MP David Lloyd George, who was President of the Board of Trade. He agreed that the battery should be retained and promised to take up the matter with colleagues, but in 1910 the government sold the building for £230 to Caernarfon Harbour Trust.

The sailing club became the tenant in 1930. The club had been formed in the 1890s when local yachtsmen began to meet at the Royal Sportsman Hotel. The first commodore was Lloyd Hughes, of Coed Helen, followed in 1910 by his brother Trevor. By 1899 there were 89 members, 28 of whom owned boats.

The club held annual races in the summer months until the First World War. From 1897 it also organised the second day’s racing in the town’s annual regatta, an event which until then had been entirely run by the Royal Welsh Yacht Club.

The club continues to organise races. Rooms in the building are used by various local groups.

With thanks to Rhiannon James, of Caernarfon Civic Society

Postcode: LL55 1SR    View Location Map

Website of Caernarfon Sailing Club (Facebook)

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