History of Porthgain

Situated on the remote West Wales coast, Porthgain has a surprising industrial history.

The Lime Kiln - the oldest industrial building in the village - was used for burning limestone and anthracite shipped in from South Pembrokeshire to produce lime, a white powder which was then carted away by farmers and spread on fields to sweeten the local acidic soil. It was also used in building, as a mortar and a whitewash for walls.

The Harbour and Slate - A protected harbour provided Porthgain with a natural advantage and gave it the means to export it's products. The first of these was slate which was quarried here and at nearby Abereiddi and Trefin. The harbour was used to ship the slate from these three quarries. The two white beacons on the flanking headlands were built to guide ships into the narrow harbour entrance.

Ty Mawr - The discovery that slate waste could be used to make bricks led to the development of the brick making industry in Porthgain. Ty Mawr became the centre of brick making in Porthgain, capable of producing 50,000 bricks per week. The middle of the village would have been covered in buildings associated with the industry, with a narrow gauge railway to service it all.

The Hoppers and Crusher - A national demand for road stone at the turn of the 20th century led to a new phase in Porthgain's industrial history. Hard volcanic rocks quarried just to the West were brought to the village to be crushed and stored. A steam crusher at the top of the slope ground the slabs of rock into different sizes. Each grade of stone was stored in one of the vast hoppers, which were built from Porthgain's own bricks, before being loaded on to ships and taken away to be used in the building of roads throughout the UK.

Unable to compete in the modern world, the industries have long since closed. However, Porthgain remains a working village. A fishing fleet operates from the harbour with half a dozen boats catching mainly crabs and lobsters, the majority of which are then exported to Europe.

Porthgain is situated within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. In 1982 the residents of Porthgain joined forces with the National Park Authority to purchase the village, much of which was still owned by the Sheffield based company.


© Sarah Harris
07793 944213 sarah@lluestporthgain.com