Marine Yard Workshops, Holyhead are an extensive complex of purpose-built marine service buildings mostly built 1850-1900. The workshops were specifically for the repair of Irish Sea ferries at the major port of Holyhead. Admiralty charts show that a ‘builders yard’ on the site preceded the arrival of the railway in 1850, and by 1858 it was probably already in use for repairs as the ‘packet yard’. The marine yard workshops indicate the growing importance of the Irish ferry, and the need to be able to service all aspects of the increasingly complex steam-packets of the later 19th century and later oil-fired ships and then the diesel-powered ferries.
The Marine Yard was a major employer in Holyhead throughout its history. A huge range of skilled work was carried out, engineers and craftsmen of almost every trade were employed and young men aged 15 and 16 were taken on to serve 5 year apprenticeships in all trades.
In the 1980’s the changing economic and political climate meant changes for the yard. 140 people had been employed at the Marine Yard in 1982, including fitters, metalworkers, boilermakers, plumbers, electricians, woodworkers, shipwrights, a rigger and a French polisher. After the shipping company, who owned the yard at that time, was privatised in 1984; and after a period of reorganisation, only 40 people were retained. In 1986, the Marine Yard was closed.
The complex had the following buildings:
General stores and offices
Boiler shop and annexe
Iron foundry, Copper Smith and Brass Foundry - originally three units in a tall single-storey building
Joiners’ and carpenters’ shops
Upholsterers’ shops – used by upholsters, seamstress, sailmaker and polisher
Reference: ‘No problem’s too small’ by Gareth Rowlands
For more photographs see: http://www.holyhead.com/marineyard/index.html