This is where the Lifeboat Hut stands today and two ships were built here even though it was quite a distance from where ships were normally built. The reason being that all the other sites at the time were full to capacity and there was no other location to be had and this just goes to show what an industrious place Porthdinllaen was during the 19th C. The ships were built at the bottom of the cliff and launched sideways on the ebb.
At the bottom of the cliff between the Ty Coch and
Whitehall and path that leads up to the golf a ship called the ‘Voelas’ was
built. Not far from here was David Rice’s sail loft. David Rice began his
career as the sail maker but went on to make quite a name for himself as he
owned the lime kilns, imported coal, and lent money for goods and to mortgage
ships. He also owned quite a few properties in the area.
The ‘Three Brothers’, ‘Brothers’ and the ‘Anne
Ellen’ were built here by Watkin Jones, Pwll Blew, between Hen Blas and
‘Warws Dora’. There was a smithy here owned by a Mr Bracegirdle.
James Owen, Oakfield and Robert Roberts, Llain Hir Edeyrn, who were partners built ships here on the Hen Blas side of Bwlch. This was the main site for shipbuilding and it was very busy. On average fifteen months to build a ship and most of the ships built here were for the Beck family of Newcastle. The ships bore the Beck name for example ‘Fanny Beck’. They had a cradle to launch the ships and they were launched bow first. On the other side of Bwlch Evan Ellis Rhos and Huw Huws built a good deal of ships, though they were not in partnership.
The wood to build these ships would come from various
places apart from the woodlands of Caernarfonshire, places such as
Meirionethshire and Newhaven. The baulkes to build the masts would be imported
from America and the ships that carried these had what was known as Boke Ports
on their bows. These Boke Ports were trap doors where the timber could slide in
and out for loading and discharging as it would be impossible to do so in any
other way as they were long and bulky timbers. Men would come with horses and
wood wagons from Pwllheli to unload, these wagons would also be used to bring
wood from woodlands in the county.
The men employed in Nefyn and Porthdinllaen not only
came from the immediate vicinity but also from outlaying villages as well as
from Pwllheli. Quite a few of the carpenters came from the village of Llaniestyn
and they would have an early start to walk to Porthdinllaen by the time they
started work at six am. It would be a long day and they would finish at eight
pm. During the winter months when the days drew in, many of the workers would
take pieces of wood home and spent their evenings shaping the wood into wedges
for use the following day, whilst others would be down on the beach before
daybreak working round the fires preparing the oakum for caulking the ships. For
this they would earn about 12/- to 14/- a week.
Joiners would be responsible for making the cabins and
furnishing the ships. Men such as Thomas Jones, Caerpwll and Thomas Jones, Pen y
One who carved figureheads was Evan Hughes, Pen yr Orsedd, but the majority of the work force, were carpenters.
List of carpenters
Parry, Tyn Llwyd, Morfa Nefyn.
Parry, Bol Llaith, Penrallt, Nefyn.
Parry, Caepwll, Morfa.
Jones, Caerpwll, Morfa.
Jones, Ben a Jun, Llwyn Gwalch, Morfa.
Jones, Pwll Blew, Morfa.
Roberts, Glanrafon, Morfa.
Hughes, Penrhos, Morfa.
Hughes, Penrorsedd Morfa.
Williams, Werddon, Morfa.
Rowlands, Fron Deg.
Williams , Caergwrle.
Roberts Cae Coch, Morfa.
Williams, Llain Fadryn.
Humphreys, Cae Bach.
Thomas, Tai’r Lon.
Williams, Llwyn Mary Mynydd Nefyn.
William Roberts Siop Glanrafon.
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