Friday, 18 September 2009

Historic Buildings open their Doors

Well over a thousand people took advantage of the recent ‘Open Doors' weekend when four historic buildings in Pembroke Dock opened to the public.

In partnership with Civic Trust Wales, Pembrokeshire County Council opened the Grade Two Listed Garrison Chapel, the Market Hall, Sunderland House and the medieval Paterchurch Tower.

The weekend was declared open by the Chairman of the County Council, Councillor Anne Hughes, who also thanked the volunteers manning the buildings.

The first three buildings have recently benefited from major restoration work via funding from the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

One of Pembroke Dock's best known ‘secrets', Paterchurch Tower is a beautifully preserved stone vaulted defensive building hidden from public view behind the Dockyard

The Grade Two listed building adjacent to the tower - known as the Glass Store - has also benefited from funding from the THI and is now suitable for a new use.

Many local people expressed their delight at being given the chance to have a look around the tower, many for the first time.

The Council is now actively searching for private individuals and suitable entrepreneurs to propose and develop new and suitable uses for all buildings, and to bring them back to life.

It is proposed to repeat the event next year and hopefully extend it over a longer period than a weekend and find more buildings of interest to open to the public.

There was a notable emotional re-union in the Tower when Billy Evans of ‘Dorina's' ladies outfitters in Pembroke Dock met a school friend he hadn't seen for 60 years. The father of Colin Palmer - Brinley Palmer - was a well known Fire Officer in the locality.

Pictured with the Chairman outside the Garrison Chapel are, from the left: Dockyard resident, Commander Tony Mason; David Davies (Project Co-ordinator of Pembroke Dock THI and Councillor Brian Hall (local member of Chairman of the Pembroke Dock THI Steering Group).


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