For the last four weeks I have been fortunate in having the opportunity to catalogue the records of the New Quay Harbour Company. The remit of the project, which was funded by the Archives and Records Council Wales, was to catalogue, clean, and re-package the Company collection; produce an online exhibition; and write a blog – so, this is it!
The New Quay Harbour Company is a relatively small collection, two archive boxes of material. It comprises documents relating to legal matters – the Company’s foundation, Acts of Parliament, local Byelaws, and records of several legal disputes in which it was involved; records relating to property – title deeds, leases (including of tolls and dues), associated bills of costs, etc.; financial records, notably those concerning shareholders; correspondence; and a small number of more ephemeral items – a list of house name, and of ships, in New Quay; and a picture of the Calvinistic Methodists’ Association held at New Quay in 1900, shown here, for example.
The collection covers the pre-formation, formation, ongoing administration, and the eventual transfer into local government hands, of the New Quay Harbour Company. It dates from 1787 until 1953.
Whilst the material, on the whole, relates to New Quay, in the County of Cardiganshire (Ceredigion), some material relates to other places in Cardiganshire (namely, the harbours of Aberystwyth and Aberaeron), and one document to Bristol Harbour.
Other records relating to the collection can be found at Carmarthenshire Archives, the National Library of Wales, and The National Archives at Kew. The records shown below – a Share Certificate (left), and Lease of the Store House and Harbour Tolls and Dues (centre and right) form part of the collection at Ceredigion Archives.
It has been a great opportunity; one which has allowed me access to a new, different type of collection than those I have worked with before, and which I have really enjoyed working with. I now know far more about harbour depths, the problems of silting, the Patent Slip, the trials and tribulations of maintaining a Harbour Company, and the contentious issue of Sunday bathing, than I ever did before…
I would like to thank everyone at Ceredigion Archives (Ania, Gwyneth, Helen, Mair, and Margaret) for answering my questions, helping me negotiate the technological and mechanical systems, being so generous with their knowledge, and generally being such a lovely bunch of people to work with. And to the volunteers too (Anna, John, Lucie, Sian, and Tish), for brightening my Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I’d also like to say thank you to the Library staff for being so welcoming and encompassing of my presence in the ‘Crypt’. My first introduction to archive work was via working in a public library back in Kent, so it was like a little home from home for me to be back in that environment.
There is also a small hard-copy exhibition, introducing the collection and showing (copies of) a few documents from it, in the glass-fronted case just outside the Archives office door upstairs in the Old Town Hall, Queen Square, Aberystwyth.