Swansea and Port Talbot Docks History

About the Site

The origins of our Docks History website lie in its predecessor, the Docks Retired Section website created by Ivor Lewis who, after retiring from his post as Electrical Supervisor at Swansea & Port Talbot Docks in 1999, set about organising monthly meetings of retired docks colleagues to visit various places of interest such as Big Pit Mining Museum, St Fagans National Museum of History, Blaenavon Iron Works, the Royal Welsh Regimental Museum in Brecon, the Millennium Stadium and many more, always followed by lunch and a pint or two at a local hostelry before heading for home. Ivor would upload photos and details of these visits and other group activities such as golf, bowls, snooker and ten-pin bowing, to the Docks Retired Section website for group members and other docks colleagues to see. As well as monthly group outings, Ivor also organised annual Christmas lunches for past and present docks employees, and again photos of these events were uploaded to the Docks Retired Section website.

In 2001 Ian Rogerson retired from his position as Administration Manager at Swansea & Port Talbot Docks and soon became involved in the group's activities and lunches, as did Jeff Manning who retired from his role as Planning Engineer/Operations Manager later that same year. Around that time Ivor was developing a keen interest in the history of Swansea & Port Talbot Docks, and discovered that Ian Rogerson had been researching and writing articles in that particular field for many years, and had also collected a number of books on the subject together with photos, maps, brochures & miscellaneous documents. It occurred to Ivor that this information might be of interest to the general public, and suggested uploading a trial selection of docks history items onto the existing Retired Docks Section website, which soon started to attract a fair bit of interest. So began many years of work by Ivor and Ian, ably assisted by friends and colleagues, in gathering together the wide-ranging collection of photos and port information included on our website today.

From that first small trial, the history element of the website expanded rapidly, mainly due to photographer Gareth Mills and his extensive collection of docks-related photos, books & miscellaneous publications to which Gareth and his family kindly granted full access. Innumerable items from countless boxes were sorted through, categorised, scanned and uploaded to our new docks history pages after which, in July 2008, Gareth's entire collection was handed over to Emma Williams, Collections Access Officer at the Swansea Museum.

In the years that followed, Ivor and Ian conducted e-mail correspondence with many contributors from all over the world while also meeting up with various local contributors, most notably Peter Hopkins (ex Customs & Excise), Ron Tovey (ex Alexandra Towing), Roger Jones (former proprietor, Cambrian Dry Docks) and local photographers Ken Dickinson, Gavin John and Brian Murphy. Specialist knowledge of docks engineering activities, cargo-handling appliances and docks operating machinery was provided by Viv Howells and other members of the Retired Section group.

Members of Ivor's original group of colleagues included Electrical Engineer Graham Green, Mechanical Engineering Supervisors Viv Howells & Brian Davies, Docks Electrician Peter Lodwig, Administration Manager Ian Rogerson who created much of the website's written content, Planning Engineer/Operations Manager Jeff Manning who provided technical advice & support throughout, and the late Terry Duff, Civil Engineer, Swansea & Port Talbot. Docks

Viv, Ivor, Peter, Graham and Brian at Cefn Coed