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Last Updated: Friday, 16 May, 2003, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
'Ditch Dock' town is urged
Pembroke Dock
The town has been hit by unemployment
Residents of Pembroke Dock have called for a change of image by ditching the town's name.

Over 30 years ago, a referendum held in the Pembrokeshire town to change its name strongly rejected the idea.

But now there are fresh arguments that having the word dock in the name may be deterring potential visitors who think industry still dominates the town.

Pembroke Dock boasts a significant military history.

It played a pivotal role in World War 2, and more than two hundred Royal Naval ships were built there in the19th and early 20th centuries.

Now the link with the sea has been largely reduced to the passenger ferry between Wales and Ireland.

The town has been hit heavily by unemployment in recent years, including the loss of 900 jobs with the closure of the ITV Digital call centre.

Commander Tony Mason is one person who thinks a name change could generate a new image and encourage more visitors and investment to the town.

"I think the tourists are rather put off by the word 'dock' because it has a different connotation from the word 'harbour'.

It's a town with a very rich history, a very proud history
Vernon Scott
"I feel that it implies something we no longer have: shipbuilding, repairing.

His own choice of name would be Pembroke Harbour.

He said if the word 'port' was used, it might have similar connotations to 'dock'.

Retired journalist Vernon Scott outlined how the town used to project a very different image in its shipbuilding heyday.

He said: "It's a town with a very rich history, a very proud history.

"It was founded in 1814, and in its day between then and 1926, when the yard closed, it was one of the foremost of its kind in the country and built many fine ships of the line for the Royal Navy.

"The yard closed in 1926 and some five years later the RAF arrived to establish a flying boat base.

"This quickly took off, if you'll pardon the pun.

"By the end of the second world war, it was the largest flying boat base in the world and there were many Sunderland and Catalina here, all of which played a role in the battle of the Atlantic."

'Tradition'

However, not everybody in the town is keen to consign the town's name to history.

David Street, secretary and treasurer of Pembroke Dock Harlequins Rugby Club, said: "The club has been going for 122 years.

"It's steeped in a lot of tradition and history so I would imagine my members would not like to see the name of the club or the town changed."

However, he added he would not have any personal objection to a change of name.

His feelings were not shared in the town's First and Last Pub.

One woman commented: "It is an historic town. It is Pembroke Dock, shipbuilding, Sunderlands, a wonderful maritime tradition.

"Many, many people all over the world have wonderful, wonderful memories of Pembroke Dock.

"Don't change it."


SEE ALSO:
Jobs joy at former ITV base
31 Mar 03  |  Wales
WDA defends call centre cash
12 Feb 03  |  Wales
Call centre faces new jobs blow
12 Dec 02  |  Wales



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