New Quay pier

New Quay pier

The substantial stone pier at New Quay was built in the 1830s to replace an earlier structure which had become dilapidated by 1810.

In the 1830s local traders formed the New Quay Pier & Harbour Company and appointed Daniel Benyon to design a new pier. Rees William Jones of Loughor, near Swansea, was appointed to build it. A short railway was installed to carry stone for the pier from Fron Dolau quarry. You can see a surviving section of the track nearby.

Construction began in 1836. The company began collecting tolls from harbour users the following year.

The structure has two levels, connected by flights or steps. On the leeward side is a wide slipway, built in the 1860s for ships to be hauled out of the water on an iron cradle for repairs. The former warehouse at the west end of the pier has four storeys and is built into the sloping ground.

The pierhead lighthouse was destroyed on 25 October 1859 by the ferocious “Royal Charter” storm, which wrecked the Royal Charter off Anglesey with the loss of more than 400 lives. The lighthouse wasn’t the only New Quay casualty: six sailing vessels were wrecked in the bay here that night.

In Victorian times there was a coastguard station near the pier with life-saving apparatus, managed by Edward Sherlock. Admiral Compton Domville found the station and its staff in good shape when he inspected them in 1898. Many people went out in boats to view his yacht, Hawk, at anchor near the pierhead.

From the 1890s, the harbour company was often accused, sometimes in court, of mismanagement. Critics said siltation was causing wrecks and forcing larger steamships to unload on the beach. In 1933 a chapel pastor asked the company to prohibit bathing from and around the pier on Sundays, to maintain the respectability of the Lord’s Day.

Sources include: Ceredigion Archives; and Ceredigion Shipwrecks, by William Troughton (Ystwyth Press, 2006).

Postcode: SA45 9NW    View Location Map

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