Porthmadog, the Gateway to The Snowdonia National Park

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Welcome to the Porthmadog Online Town Guide, produced by the Chamber of Trade and Commerce and sponsored by the Town Council and the Ffestiniog Railway

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Porthmadog Heritage

Porthmadog and adjoining Tremadog are comparatively modern towns, not yet 200 years old having been developed with the slate trade and more than a little enthusiasm from William Madocks who had a deep and lifelong interest in this part of North Wales. He turned his attention to Tremadog in 1806 then but marshland in the Glaslyn Estuary. The town was built as Madock thought it would be the last staging post on the London- Ireland route

He was responsible for the reclamation of the land on which Tremadog still stands, an almost perfect example of early 19th century town planning with its charming cobbled square. On London Road coming out of Tremadog, is a very grand non-conformist chapel with an imposing classical style portico built in 1810. Almost opposite is Snowdon Lodge, the birthplace of T.E.Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

Madocks' great success was the reclamation of the wide Glaslyn estuary, building an embankment ( locally known as the Cob) between 1808 and 1811 and the harbour between 1821- 1825 hence the town’s name which translates as “Madog’s Port” which was to bring prosperity to the little town. In the 1870s it was estimated that over a thousand vessels used the harbour in any one year and at its peak in 1873 over 116,000 tons of Blaenau slate left Porthmadog for all parts of the world.

The three masted ships that carried the slate not only sailed from Porthmadog but were built around Tremadog Bay, Porthmadog Harbour and in the four shipyards by the delightful little harbour at Borth y Gest, still a favourite place for those who love the sea more than simply lying on the beach. The coming of the Cambrian railway in 1867 opened up the area to tourists but also saw an end to the local shipping industry and the export of slate from the port.







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