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Pembroke Dock: Roy Noble officially opens the Maritime Museum at the old Hancock’s Yard

ROY NOBLE officially opened the Maritime Museum at the old Hancock’s Yard in Pembroke Dock this week. Shortly before he gave a speech explaining his family connections with the area. The Maritime Museum, previously an open-vaulted building, was rebuilt and modernised as part of the ongoing improvements to Hancock’s Yard, and is now on the way to being accredited.

“Instead of being a cottage museum, it will be a registered museum,” explained Secretary Steven Preece. “It marks a big step for us in finally being recognised.”

The West Wales Maritime Heritage Society, which runs the museum, was started in 1984, and took off exponentially as a bone fide organisation aimed at preserving local maritime history. They are dependent on members’ fees, donations and members of the public for finance. They are still learning as they go, but now feel that they are in a transition from amateur to something more professional.

“All are welcome here,” explained one of the members. “You do what you want.”

The yard is home to a diverse skill set – from the retired shipwright picking up tools again, to those who like “messing about in boats”, or those who come more for the ‘men’s shed’ aspect of it: rubbing down a sailing dinghy, punctuated by coffee and chat. Some have their own boat projects and plans to sail or cruise; others relish the opportunity to practise traditional boatbuilding skills in a relaxed environment. And all are regarded as equal. Membership costs £40 per year – “worth it if only for the fishing!”

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