Swansea and Port Talbot Docks History

Construction and Opening of the Prince of Wales Dock

Royal Opening of the Prince of Wales Dock

On the morning of the 18th October 1881, Edward Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra proceeded in an open carriage from Singleton Abbey to the North Dock Basin, Swansea, passing through decorated streets thronged with cheering crowds. At Corporation Quay, the royal party boarded the luxury paddle steam yacht ‘Lynx’, which carried them out into the bay and around to the lock entrance of the new dock.

Upon arrival, the royal party descended into the lock to inspect the masonry and the lock gate machinery (see engraving), before ascending to the quayside to perform the opening ceremony. After officially naming it the ‘Prince of Wales Dock’, Prince Edward pulled a ceremonial gold and jewelled lever to open the main sluice, thereby allowing water to flood into the new dock.

Prince of Wales operating the lever to open the sluice
Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra travelling along a street later to be renamed Alexandra Road in honour of Princess Alexandra (The original name was Yeo Street after Frank Ash Yeo Mayor of Swansea in 1874 and Chairman of the Swansea Harbour Trust from 1878 to 1886)

Construction of the Prince of Wales Dock

Steam Navvy used in the construction of Prince of Wales Dock

Lowering the last stone to theDock extension in 1898

Last stone in place

This stone was laid by Louise Emily, Marchioness of Worcester, on 14th March 1898

A close-up of the stone plaque which is inscribed with the names of Sir John Jones Jenkins MP, Chairman, A.O. Schenk Esq. M.I.C.E., Engineer, and Sir John Jackson, Contractor.

The engraved stone and the Culvert from the Tennant Canal.

The dock extension prior to being flooded


Opening the sluices on the dam to flood the extension

Filling the extension

Sealing of the Prince of Wales lock entrance, river side,. Taken in 1931 ( From the Gareth Mills collection )

Sealing the Prince of Wales lock entrance, dock side. Taken in 1931