Heritage Centre’s Building Ambition
Four years after the Royal opening of the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre by The Queen, we are pleased to announce that we are planning the next exciting stages in the development of a unique museum in one of Wales’ most significant military buildings.
We have now applied to Pembrokeshire County Council, the current owners of the Chapel, for a Community Asset Transfer, which would see the operation of the building pass into the hands of the Trust. This move is seen as being a major step in the plan to realise our ambitions of becoming a world-class heritage attraction and community facility for Pembroke Dock.
Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust, which operates the Heritage Centre, is a registered charity with the purpose of collecting and interpreting the significant and important heritage of Pembroke Dock and the surrounding area. Chairman of the Trust, Gareth Mills, said: “The Royal Dockyard Chapel is one of the most important and impressive buildings in the town, an iconic part of its heritage, and is an ideal setting to tell the unique and internationally significant history of this community.
Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre is housed in the Royal Dockyard Chapel, a Grade II* listed building, built in the 1830s.
“This is a Grade II* listed building with many original features. Whilst this is admirable, it brings major challenges in ongoing repair and maintenance. As a heritage charity we are one of the few organisations that can access grant funding to ensure the building continues to be preserved as part of the heritage of the town.”
“Local Authorities are facing huge pressures on funding local services”, added Mr Mills, “and in the current climate, museums, libraries and other services are under severe pressures.”
“We respect the Local Authority’s position and now feel the time is right for the Trust to take control of the building. This will help in easing the financial pressures on the council, and allowing us to tell this town’s unique story, with the high calibre museum and community facility that Pembroke Dock’s important heritage deserves.”
The Heritage Centre has, year on year, increased its visitor numbers and has become a meeting place for many local groups and community organisations. It also attracts visitors from a further afield, with approximately 6,000 people each year visiting from outside of Pembrokeshire. The Centre is also a popular destination for coach travel companies, and is well used by local schools which use the resources there to enhance their curriculum in learning about local history. The Heritage Centre is also a hub of volunteering in the town, with over 60 individuals regularly attending to volunteer each week, fulfilling a number of functions and roles.
“The Heritage Centre plays a critical role in the town’s regeneration, in education, and for the health and well-being agenda in this community. All of which are other areas of concern for the Local Authority in the challenging financial climate at present,” Mr Mills added.
“We have a very good relationship with both the Town Council in Pembroke Dock and with the County Council, and are so pleased that councillors and staff at both are so supportive of what we want to achieve for this community.”
The exhibition Many Nations, Many Trades celebrates 100 years of the RAF, looking at the stories of the men and women who served at Pembroke Dock, and runs until September 2018.