Porthmadog History

Porthmadog History

from Garreg Goch

A harbour town situated on the Glaslyn Estuary, Porthmadog is rich in maritime history and is an excellent base for touring the surrounding area. It has a number craft shops and restaurants. The town was named after W.A. Maddocks whose ambitious "Cob" embankment scheme led to the town's name, which translates as "Madog's Port". In times gone by, it was a vital, busy shipping port for the international slate trade, brought down from Blaenau Ffestiniog. The maritime history depicts its proud past.

A ship-building industry emerged in Porthmadog to serve the slate-export trade. Hundreds of vessels were built at the harbour and Borth-y-Gest (700m south of the slipway). Ship-builders needed only a patch of sloping beach to construct and launch new vessels, and commonly ships would to be under construction at several locations simultaneously. In the early years, some ships were built on the north side of the harbour, as slate export was then focused on the wharves opposite. This activity was relocated as the wharves on this side were installed.


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