Slate quay and harbour office, Caernarfon


Slate quay and harbour office, Caernarfon

Over the first three decades of the 19th century, new wharves were constructed along the Seiont to cater for the growing output of slate and other minerals, mostly to be transported to customers by ships. For enlargement of the quay in 1817, a large volume of earth was removed from the bank which once led down to the shore from Y Maes (the square outside the castle). High retaining walls took the bank’s place.

The arrival of the Nantlle Railway in 1826 boosted slate exports from Caernarfon. Other heavy industries sprouted in the vicinity. The slate quay’s construction ended the picturesque view of the castle alongside the water which had been enjoyed by the earliest tourists. In 1875, local trade moved to the new Victoria Dock but the slate trade continued here.

This harbour office was erected in 1840 at the slate quay, which had by then become the main focus of Caernarfon’s shipping activity. It provided offices for the Caernarfon Harbour Trust, which remains its occupant. The Trust was formed in 1793, when an Act of Parliament authorised improvement and enlargement of Caernarfon harbour, then located chiefly to the west and north of the walled town. However, the Act also allowed new moorings to be provided at the mouth of the river Seiont, south of the castle.

Today the slate quay is mainly a car park, conveniently situated beneath the castle for visitors. Old railway tracks embedded in the surface provide a clue to the bustle of the past.

Postcode: LL55 2PB    View Location Map

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