Your guide to Martello Towers in the UK and throughout the world.

Martello Towers in Wales

A small number of Martello towers were also built in Wales, of which few survive. The most notable surviving towers are the two located in Pembroke Dock, which were built between 1848 and 1857 to protect the naval base there. While they are called Martello towers and serve a similar function, they are a different design to those in the south and east of England and were built much later.
Today, one of the towers is privately owned. The other is located on the town's riverfront, next to the old entrance of the naval base. It has been converted into a small museum that focuses on the local history of the dock and its defenses.


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Pembroke Dock North East

Located offshore in Pembroke Dock, the tower is accessed by a footbridge and has views of the Cleddau River, Pembroke Dock, Neyland and Llanstadwell. It was constructed in 1851 and was designed to be operated by one officer and 33 men whose job it was to defend the dockyard using the roof-mounted guns and 12-pound brass howitzers.

Although the gun tower was manned in the mid 19th Century, it never fired a shot and was eventually disarmed in 1882.

Despite being disarmed, the tower continued to serve as a military fortress, both throughout World War I and World War II. In World War I, it became an observation post and later, during World War II, it was manned by members of the RAF Regiment and used as a machine gun position hosting three twin lewis guns in brick compounds.

Pembroke Dock North East Martello Tower
Pembroke Dock North East Martello Tower

Following its use as a store, South Pembrokeshire District Council acquired the Tower in 1975. The building was refurbished, before being turned into The Gun Tower Museum which was operated by The Pembroke Dock Museum Trust until 2017, when flooding within the tower forced it to close.

Pembroke Dock West

The tower is located to the west of the docks facing the River Cleddau. 

Construction of the tower began 11th November 1848, and completed 30th May 1851, and was one of the last Martello Towers to be built in the United Kingdom. 
Basically D-shaped with champhered corners, the tower is 52ft (16m) high and was armed with a single 32 pounder gun on an iron traversing platform on the roof, plus four 12 pound Howitzers mounted on carriages, and a garrison of 38 men. This armament was removed during decommissioning in 1881.
All windows doubled as firing loops.

During the First World War it served as an observation post, and in the Second World War it was an Anti-Aircraft Battery, with a twin .303 Lewis Gun position.

Pembroke Dock West Martello Tower
Pembroke Dock West Martello Tower

It is irregular octagonal plan, with steeply battered walls, with manchicolations protecting the entrance and the south-west flank.
Access to the tower was via walkway to the accommodation level. Internal access to all floors is via iron spiral staircase. In the basement, there was a magazine for 50 barrels of powder.
There is also a 4,520 gallon water tank, a Barrack Store, and Artillery Store (with retaining timber barriers). Some walls have been grit-blasted back to the original brick and granite. 

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