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Since its construction in 1832, the pier at Hobbs Point has witnessed many changes to the infrastructure and cross-coastal connections of Pembroke Dock. In step with the tides of industry and politics, the identity and function of Hobbs Point have evolved over its lifetime, and, in light of recent political events, continue to do so.

Named after the former landowner Nicholas Hobbs, Hobbs Point was built in the early 1830s to accommodate the mail and packet boats that ran between west Wales and Waterford in Ireland. This service began in 1750 and operated until 1966. The mail and packet service at Hobbs Point ceased operating in 1848 and was transferred to Neyland after the construction of a terminus for Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Great Western Railway. The railway terminus, constructed between 1855-56, became the hub around which Neyland grew and new steamship services to Waterford and Cork in Ireland were soon established. Neyland prospered for over 50 years, but the construction of a new harbour at Fishguard led to a decline in Irish traffic. After the publication of the Beeching reports, the railway terminus closed in 1964.

With the mail and packet service transferred to Neyland, Hobbs Point was now free to be used as a fitting-out wharf for the many ships built in Pembroke Dockyard. Massive sheerlegs were erected and used to lift engines, guns, and other pieces of heavy equipment into ships' hulls. Once the ships were completed, they joined the rest of the Royal Navy’s fleet across the world. As the construction of ships in the Dockyard began to wane, the slipway became free for a small ferry service between Pembroke Dock and Neyland. Operating from 1923, the Lady Magdalen was just one of the ferries that would carry passengers and cars across the Cleddau River. Later ferries included the paddle boats, Cleddau Queen and Cleddau King, both built at Hancock’s Yard in Pembroke Dock. When the construction of the Cleddau Bridge was completed in 1975, the ferry service was no longer needed. The fate of the Cleddau Queen is uncertain, however the Cleddau King, renamed Porta Ferry, found a new lease of life in Northern Ireland ferrying cars and passengers across Strangford loch.

As new connections were created, old ones were broken. The railway terminus at Neyland put an end to the packet service at Hobbs Point, and the Cleddau Bridge ended the ferry service that took its place. Hobbs point now sits idle on the edge of the Cleddau River, providing dramatic views of the Milford Haven Waterway. From the slipway, viewers can watch the arrival and departure of the car and passenger ferry which operates between Pembroke Dock and Rosslare. However, this last link to Ireland is tenuous. With a reduction in traffic due to Brexit, the Isle of Inishmore ferry was replaced by the smaller Blue Star 1. If the current drop in demand continues, and with competition from Fishguard, Pembroke Dock may lose its last link to Ireland and the EU.

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