12:01pm Thursday 23rd November 2006 in Town guides
Milford Haven's waterway, is a drowned valley which Nelson described as the finest harbour in the world with the possible exception of Trincomalee.
Milford Haven, the town, is a relatively new development, having been built a little over two centuries ago as a proprietary town to accommodate Quaker whalers from Nantucket in what modern political jargon might describe as a Georgian inward investment initiative.
Landowner, Sir William Hamilton, husband of Nelson's notorious inamorata Emma, obtained an Act of Parliament in 1790 which enabled him, his heirs and assigns to build the town. He assigned his nephew Charles Francis Greville, second son of the Earl of Warwick, to plan the town and this was done on the gridiron pattern, with intersecting streets served by back lanes, as the whaler families moved in to establish Milford's first oil industry - whale oil.
Earlier this century Milford Haven became one of the country's largest fishing ports, renowned for its hake, but by the late 1950s it was well in decline when the second oil age dawned and refineries sprang up around the shorts of the waterway. Now, they too are in decline, Esso having shut down after 20 years and Gulf pulling out after 30 years. The docks has become a Marina with fishing mainly in foreign hands and the emphasis has focused on tourism.