Friday, 3 December 2010

Watching the boats come in from the Parrog seawall

The tide is in, so far in, that a small tongue of water to the left of the photo spills out into what is now the car park on the Parrog. A group of people sit on the seawall gazing out to sea and a small rowing boat with three passengers is making it's way to shore, a typical holiday scene from the early 1900's maybe. That's how I first interpreted this image until I read what Martin Lewis had to say in "Newport Pem and Fishguard Revisited". He thinks that a vessel has just come into the harbour and that the crew are being ferried ashore. Looking more closely at the rowing boat, the man in the prow seems to be wearing a seaman's cap and perhaps the other men have caps too:-

A further look at the people on the seawall shows that the man third from the left is also in uniform:-

In the early 1900's, the Parrog would have still been a working harbour. Large vessels would have come in at high tide when they could cross the bar at the mouth of the estuary. They would then be beached on the sands ready to be unloaded at low water when carts could come alongside. It is still possible to see tracks cut through the rocks to allow laden carts to be driven straight up to Feidir Brenin from the waterfront. The arrival of one of these vessels probably attracted the curiosity of locals and visitors alike.

It is always interesting how smartly dressed people are in these early photos. Did people always dress this formally in those days or was it for the benefit of the photgrapher? Pictures like this would have been taken on a plate camera. A long exposure was needed to expose the photographic plate and most of the people in these photos would have been posing, motionless. You can just see the blur of the oars but the people in the boat are sitting very upright and straight as if they too know they will be in the picture.

Looking in detail at the limeburner's cottage it seems to have a hole in it's roof. I wonder if it was still inhabited at the time?

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