The Riversides and Wharves
Track 12 - Ship Building
The stone quay on the Taf is the only quay now surviving and the associated warehouses were demolished in 1971. In earlier times, the majority of the wharves and quays were on the Gynin extending upriver nearly to the Church.
Goods were also transferred by small boats up to a wharf near the ‘Swan’ hotel in ‘upper’ St. Clears.
Limestone was imported by sea. Four lime kilns on ‘Kiln Row’ were burning day and night during the early summer and the area was jammed with farmers’ carts collecting lime for spreading on fields over a wide area of St. Clears’ hinterland. The last kiln was demolished in 1914. Further upstream were coal yards and sawmills. Four brick and tile works, the earliest established in 1858, used the riverside clay and contributed substantially to St. Clears’ exports.
Shipbuilding was an important industry in St. Clears. Most vessels built here were up to about 40 tons, but one of the largest was the ‘Sophia Wells’ (1839), a two-masted schooner of 131 tons and 71 feet long. This vessel traded as far as Malta, Leghorn, Constantinople, Odessa, St. Petersburg and Quebec before being wrecked off the Isle of Skye in 1846. Another schooner, the ‘Lady Selina’, 120 tons, launched at St. Clears in 1841, was less successful. Intended for the Irish and foreign trade, due to the incompetence of the master, she lasted less than a year, being wrecked off Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire in 1842.