About: Neil Westerman

Neil Westerman is the Honorary Curator of the town’s museum – Tenby Museum & Art Gallery. Born and raised in Tenby he worked in the communications industry for over 20 years before returning to live in Tenby. Neil has tried to give something back to the town that raised him by volunteering his time with the museum, the civic society and the town’s historical society.

Posts by Neil Westerman:

  • Green Transport To Tenby, 08 Mar 2020 in News
  • Red Underwear, Cream and Grapes – it must be New Year’s Eve, 30 Dec 2019 in Culture&Event&Heritage
  • The Christmas Lights, 25 Nov 2019 in Event&Music&News
  • Arty Tenby, 05 Oct 2019 in Art&Culture&Heritage
  • Trains for Tenby, 19 Aug 2019 in Culture&News
  • To build or not to build? That is the question, 08 Jul 2019 in Heritage&News
  • Top Secret – Tenby’s role in ‘D’ Day, 30 May 2019 in Event&History
  • European Union Bans British Summer Time, 28 Mar 2019 in Culture&Heritage&History&News
  • Five (Lifeboat) Houses and Two Boats, 04 Mar 2019 in Heritage&History
  • Tourist Information Centres – Victims of the Digital Age?, 07 Feb 2019 in History&News

  • Green Transport To Tenby

    Have you ever considered the impact travelling has on the climate and your own personal carbon footprint? Following all the heavy rain we experienced in February it seems a good time to examine what we as individuals can do to combat climate change by simply modifying our means of travel and moving away from our reliance on the motor car. Public transport is significantly cleaner than cars as trains and buses convey significantly more people. They also help to reduce road congestion by reducing the number of car journeys.

    The main difficulty with public transport in the Tenby area is the poor frequency of services. Our local train timetable has hardly changed in the last 20 years. The service frequency is still two hourly. Transport for Wales is planning massive investments in the train services in Wales but this is mainly confined to the south-east and north-east of the country. To date they have introduced a new hourly service between Chester and Liverpool and introduced newer trains on their route to Gloucester. Correct me if I’m wrong but these services are in England not Wales. Transport for Wales?

    TRAINS TO TENBYPembrokeshire may see some improvements in terms of the actual trains with cascaded rolling stock no longer required by other operators but the service frequency will probably remain at two hourly. Tenby Civic Society has been campaigning for better train services with improved connections at Swansea into main line services but has found it is very difficult to make any difference as there is resistance to change at Transport for Wales. It’s well know that if you want more people to use public transport you need to provide a more frequent service but that costs money. Surprisingly the Tenby and Pembroke line is now the busiest line in Pembrokeshire and receives at best a second class service from Transport for Wales.

    Tenby Civic Society has also been campaigning to try and improve local bus services and to try and persuade Welsh Government to operate a long distance route from Tenby under the TrawsCymru brand. Approaches and suggestions have been made to Pembrokeshire County Council to make minor amendments to local bus services but again these have resulted in little progress to date. The council usually have a long list of objections to changing bus services including the classic one that the proposed service would be too popular and hence need a bigger bus! Silly me, I thought getting more people onto bus services was the whole idea. A suggestion made to Welsh Government to extend the Swansea to Carmarthen service (Traws Cymru T1S) to Tenby serving Kilgetty, Saundersfoot and New Hedges as well as Tenby is currently under consideration. If timed correctly this service could provide a connection into the Carmarthen to Cardiff service (TrawsCymru T1C). This would provide an express bus service as an alternative to the train. The All Wales Concessionary bus passes are valid on these services and currently Welsh Government is allowing free travel to everyone on weekend services (Saturday and Sunday).

    As yet the south of the county has not benefitted from the TrawsCymru network while the north of the county enjoys two services. Again it is worth noting that to persuade people to use bus services a good frequent service must be provided starting early in the morning and operating until late in the evening. Unfortunately our county council is more concerned with saving money and cutting bus services than providing a decent service for residents and visitors alike. The days when County Council’s existed to serve local people appear to have gone.

    Red Underwear, Cream and Grapes – it must be New Year’s Eve

    Us Brits celebrate New Year’s Eve by having a good party and watching a fireworks display. Other countries do things differently.

    The Italians believe that wearing Red Underwear on New Year’s Eve will bring love, prosperity and good luck during the New Year. The Swiss drop a dollop of cream on the floor to bring luck and riches while the Spanish eat 12 grapes in the final 12 seconds before the New Year to bring good luck in the coming 12 months. Our Irish neighbours have a tradition of banging bread against the walls of their houses on New Year’s Eve to chase away evil spirits.

    By the way if you don’t have a pair of red underwear you can do as the Columbians do and wear a yellow pair. Apparently it has the same effect.

    At midnight we all sing Auld Lang Syne. In case you are wondering what ‘Auld Lang Syne’ means I’m reliably informed that it translates as ‘time gone by’ or ‘old times’. So this year I will know for the first time what I’m actually singing!

    So on New Year’s Eve if you see someone wearing red or yellow underwear, holding a pot of cream and scoffing 12 grapes in the seconds before midnight you now know why!NEW YEAR'S EVE

    I’ll be down in Tudor Square enjoying the great atmosphere and the superb fireworks display provided by Lesley Fisher of Tenby House Hotel. Thank you Lesley.

    The Christmas Lights

    As a young boy I can remember looking forward to the Christmas lights in Tenby and the giant Christmas tree in Tudor Square. At least at the time it seemed giant to me! Well I was smaller then. That time of year is nearly with us again this year. On Saturday 30th November Father Christmas will be arriving in Tenby courtesy of the RNLI onboard Tenby lifeboat. He will make his way to Tudor Square where the all new singing and dancing Christmas lights will be switched on between 4.20 and 4.30pm.

    The festivities will begin much earlier at about 1.30 pm so make a day of it and enjoy DJ / Compere Steve Briers providing festive and popular music. The Seren Irish Dancers, Salvation Army Band, singers Laura Morgan and Sam Skyrme will all be performing free of charge in Tudor Square. Whatever the weather throws at us on the Saturday I’m reliably informed the show will go on, so what are you waiting for, make your way to Tudor Square and get into the festive mood.

    Christmas Tree from ‘a larger square’

    Following the switching on of the towns lights Father Christmas will be making his way to Santa’s Grotto at the de Valence Pavilion where all are welcome to join him for a small charge.

    Two days earlier on Thursday 28 November the Quaynotes Choir will be holding ‘An evening with’ event in aid of charity at St. John’s Church, Tenby. Tickets will be available on the door at 7.30pm. What a great musical start to the Christmas festivities.

    In early December Tenby’s Christmas preparations continue with a Christmas Crafts Fayre at the de Valence Pavilion on the 6th, 7th and 8th of December. Your chance to find unique handmade presents for the ones you love. Don’t forget to also check out all the town’s shops as the Tenby shopping experience has definitely improved over the last couple of years. Look out Narberth we’re after your crown as the best shopping destination in Pembrokeshire!

    Merry Christmas everyone.

    Arty Tenby

    PRIMARY SCHOOL MURALA beautiful and very colourful mosaic of a striking view of Tenby has just been unveiled on the outside wall of the new Tenby Church in Wales VC Primary School at Heywood Lane. The mosaic is the work of artist Paul Webb working with staff, pupils and members of the public. This mosaic is the latest addition to the many art works in Tenby. If you know where to look Tenby possesses a varied collection of public art. Take a stroll around the town and keep your eyes open!

    One of the oldest public work of Art in Tenby is the Welsh National Memorial to the Prince Consort (Prince Albert) located on the top of the Castle Hill. Albert has watched over Tenby since 1865, often with a seagull perched on his head. The eight feet nine inches tall statue was sculptured from a block of Sicilian marble by welsh artist John Evan Thomas. The figure stands with the head uncovered; baton in hand, attired in a field marshal’s uniform wearing the mantle and collar of the Order of the Garter. The fact that this memorial is in Tenby and not Swansea or Cardiff helps illustrate the importance of the town during the Victorian period. I’m proud to be able to claim a family connection with the memorial as my Great Great Grandfather transported the statue from Narberth Road station (Clunderwen) to Tenby.

    The Castle Hill is a popular location for art works. On the rear wall of Tenby Museum overlooking the reproduction bandstand is a fine mural commissioned by the trustees of the museum. Unveiled in 1991, the mural by welsh artist Jonah Jones is 36 foot long and has as its theme ‘The Sea, The Sea’. ‘An abstract of the sea merging into a profile of Castle Hill’ was how the artist described his design.  He revealed that he had intended to portray the rhythms of the sea, the breaking of waves and the ripples they make on the sand. ‘It is also partially about the 11th century song ‘In Praise of Tenby’ explained Mr. Jones. The Tenby Observer described it as ‘an eye-catching masterpiece’.

    Another piece of art by Jonah Jones can be found near the entrance door to the museum. Designed and carved by Jonah Jones the octagonal welsh slate plaque features a Tenby lugger in relief. The plaque was erected to the memory of Mr. Ivor Crockford and was unveiled in 1992.

    Opposite the welsh slate plaque is Tenby’s real Ironman! A sculpture in bronze by internationally known Bavarian artist Robert Raschke who now resides in Tenby. The sculpture was presented by Robert to Tenby Museum in 2015. With the annual Ironman event held in Tenby it makes a perfect photo opportunity for Ironman athletes.

    Tudor Square plays host to the so called ‘Dyster Memorial Fountain’. Originally erected in 1867, it was removed in the early 1990s after being damaged in a collision. Following the refurbishment of Tudor Square it was returned to the square in a safer position than originally placed. Erected by Dr. Dyster in memory of Tenby resident Lt. Col. Thomas Wedgwood who fought at Waterloo. A more appropriate title would be ‘The Wedgwood Memorial Fountain’.

    In the indoor market can be found a superb panorama of Tenby history in the form of a 32 foot mural by artist Eric Bradforth. The mural design was originally entered in the competition for the Tenby Museum site. It was subsequently commissioned by the local authority for the indoor market. Eric also designed the Tenby memorial gates for the town’s war memorial along with the badges which decorate the gates.

    Many further examples of public art can be found in Tenby including the gates to the Guides Hut in Warren Street, a horse’s head on the porch of the Atlantic Hotel on the Esplanade, the events notice board in the South Parade and the Christ figure in the memorial garden of St. Mary’s Church. Keep your eyes open when shopping and look for the entrance door mosaics for T.P. Hughes & son (at M & Co) and The Tenby Drug Store. Remember to look up as well as down and see what you can find while enjoying an arty stroll around Tenby. Don’t forget to check out St. Mary’s Church in Tudor Square and Tenby Museum & Art Gallery on Castle Hill for more fine art.

    Sadly there is no memorial in Tenby to the town’s greatest artist – Augustus John. John was awarded the Freedom of Tenby and attended a grand civic ceremony to receive the award. There was talk about erecting a statue in honour of the Tenby born artist but to date nothing has been done. A project for someone to take on?

    Trains for Tenby

    It may surprise you to learn that the Tenby and Pembroke Dock railway line is the busiest railway line in Pembrokeshire. Official figures published by the Office for Rail and Road show that it carries significantly more passengers than the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven line yet has a much inferior service. In 2018 Transport for Wales took over the provision of rail services in Wales and the borders. This promised to be a new dawn for welsh rail services with massive investment promised.

    To date nothing has changed in Pembrokeshire. The busiest line in Pembrokeshire (Tenby and Pembroke Dock) is still served by one coach trains packed to the gunnels with passengers standing down the aisles while the least used line in Pembrokeshire (Fishguard) enjoys three coach trains operating direct rail services to Manchester! Only a nationalized industry would behave in this way. The one line in Pembrokeshire with potential for massive growth is the Tenby and Pembroke Dock line. Yet Transport for Wales does not even have the foresight to operate trains that connect with the two daily Pembroke Dock to Rosslare ferry sailings. The poor frequency of service looks set to continue well into the future with the possibility of one extra train being provided on a Sunday from 2024.

    So where is all the promised investment in improved services being spent? Take a guess. Cardiff and the valleys is the answer. Indeed it has been suggested that Transport for Wales should be more accurately called Transport for Cardiff. Service frequencies on all the valley lines will be every 15 minutes. New rolling stock will be introduced and all the valley lines will be electrified. This is where nearly all the money is being spent. The rest of Wales is being offered minor improvements only.

    West of Cardiff there appears to be little or no changes to Transport for Wales services. However it’s not all bad news. First Great Western trains have recently announced that it is to reduce the journey time between London and Cardiff by 15 minutes following the successful introduction of their new bimodal trains. Let us hope Transport for Wales adjusts its timetable (in December 2019) for connecting trains accordingly and does not just make everyone wait at Swansea for an extra 15 minutes! A so called open access operator, Grand Union Trains, has applied for permission to operate express intercity trains from Llanelli to Cardiff and London Paddington and the British government in London has announced plans to develop a new parkway station at Swansea to be called West Wales Parkway. If these plans come to fruition our local services will hopefully be retimed and possibly rerouted to connect into these faster services. Time will tell.

    Tenby Civic Society has been campaigning for improvements in the existing timetable to improve connections from Cardiff and London. The proposal put forward involved retiming two late evening trains by 20 minutes and hence provide a later connection to Tenby and Pembroke Dock from both Cardiff and London. Sadly Transport for Wales was not interested. It seems to be too much effort for them to change train times and provide a decent connecting service to Tenby and Pembroke Dock. For the time being it appears to be more of the same old inefficient services.


    The picture accompanying this blog was taken on Saturday 17 August 2019 and shows the 10.55 Carmarthen to Pembroke Dock service arriving at Tenby at 11.50. The one car train was packed with every seat taken and the aisles and door vestibules filled to capacity with standing customers. One hundred and seventeen passengers alighted from this one coach train at Tenby. About another 20 passengers remained onboard for stations to Pembroke Dock. It would be illegal to transport animals in these conditions but Transport for Wales seem happy to transport people in these overcrowded one coach trains. This is a regular occurrence during the summer months. When will the bureaucrats in Cardiff learn that these one coach trains are totally unsuitable for the busiest line in Pembrokeshire?

    Sadly, the only certainty regarding our train services is that Transport for Wales will be increasing its fares by 2.8% in January next year. Some things never change!

    To build or not to build? That is the question

    A proposed new housing development at Tenby has created something of a storm within the town. Pembrokeshire County Council wishes to erect 145 new homes on a green field site on the outskirts of the town. Ranging from one bed flats to three storey buildings, 102 of the homes will be social housing (council houses). This is just the latest of a long list of developments that have seen Tenby expand from a very small harbour town into a sprawling town devouring the nearby countryside.

    Tenby was originally contained completely within the famous town walls. Over the centuries the town has expanded outside the original boundaries commencing with the Norton (North Town) and much later the South Cliff Estate (Esplanade, Victoria Street etc). Following the last war the need for more residential property was identified and Tenby expanded rapidly – Knowling Mead, Churchill Close, the Clicketts, Upper Hill Park, Lady Park, Merlins Gardens, Oakridge Acres, Leach Way, Scotsborough View etc. The one thing all these areas have in common is that they were once green fields.

    Property prices in Tenby have escalated to such an extent that many local people can no longer afford to purchase properties in the town of their birth. This house price inflation has been caused by so many people from outside the area wishing to live in Tenby and who can blame them! This is further compounded by the growth in the second home ownership market where by outsiders purchase a property in the town that they only live in for a few weeks a year hence denying the opportunity for a local person to live in that property. With a limited housing stock available and all these outside pressures prices have rocketed beyond the means of many local people, born in the town, and unable to afford to live here.

    Two new developments may go some way to solve this problem. The first new development has been proposed and apparently accepted without any backlash from the existing residents. The plan is to build 29 housing association homes on a brown field site on the site of the old Reeves Calendar business at the rear of Knowling Mead. The second more controversial development mentioned above is located at Brynhir, a green open space that has been used for recreational purposes for many years.

    Whether or not these two new developments will meet Tenby’s housing needs is as yet unclear. How will the social housing be allocated? Will it only be available to locals or will anyone from Pembrokeshire be allowed to move in? What exactly is the definition of a ‘local’? My definition is that it is someone born in the town or whose parents were born in the town.  If that definition is used then the new social houses will indeed meet the needs of the town. Unfortunately local councils and housing associations appear to use a much broader definition that includes significantly more people. If a broader definition is used then these two developments will not be the last. Further green spaces will be needed to meet the housing needs of people who wish to live in the town.

    Does there become a time when Tenby should put a freeze on further developments? Has it reached an optimum size? Can services such as the National Health Service actually cope with hundreds of new residents moving in from outside the area? Will Tenby loose its identity as new developments result in its merger with the nearby villages of New Hedges and Penally? Will the proposed properties for open market sale (34 homes) in the Brynhir development be swallowed up as second homes or will restrictions be put upon their sale? In Cornwall many towns with the full support of Cornwall County Council have passed a bye law which stops the sale of new build homes for use as second homes. The properties have to be lived in all year not for just a few weeks a year. Is this the way forward for Tenby and Pembrokeshire? What is the view of the Pembrokeshire national park authority, an authority set up to protect the natural beauty of Pembrokeshire? They are the planning authority and it is them who will make the final decision. Future generations will judge them on the basis of their decision.

    So many questions and as yet so few answers.

    Top Secret – Tenby’s role in ‘D’ Day

    The 6th June 1944 was designated ‘D’ Day, the day 75 years ago when the allied forces landed on mainland Europe to commence the liberation of the occupied countries. Eleven months earlier Tenby had hosted a ‘top secret’ military exercise – Exercise Jantzen.

    Jantzen was part of the extensive preparation and planning for Overlord. It took place in Carmarthen Bay between 22 July and 5 August 1943. It was the first exercise undertaken to practice landing on an enemy beach and unloading supplies. The War department filmed the exercise and produced a short film classified as ‘top secret’ that outlined the objective of the exercise and evaluated its success or failure. Fortunately the film (transferred to DVD) survives and Tenby Museum & Art Gallery has a copy in its archives.


    During the exercise security in the area was strictly implemented. Entry into the designated area that included Tenby and Saundersfoot was denied to all non residents unless they had a special pass. Tenby was placed under a curfew and the carrying of cameras, telescopes or binoculars was forbidden. All civilians had to carry their identity cards at all times. The curfew from dusk to dawn was in operation from 12 July to 9 August. Mail, telegraph and telephone lines were subject to censorship during this period.

    Departure points from friendly territory were represented by Port Talbot, Swansea and Tenby. A number of photographs taken at the time appeared after the war showing the Landing Barges (vehicle) in Tenby harbour being loaded with troops and equipment. Enemy territory was represented by the beaches from Pendine to Saundersfoot. The weather during the exercise ranged from calm to gale force eight.

    The evaluation of the exercise concluded that the exercise failed to fulfill its objectives. Equipment failures were common with one barge leaking significant amounts of petrol on Saundersfoot beach. The Alligators used to unload the beached vessels all eventually failed and perhaps most significantly the amount of stores unloaded fell well short of the target set.

    The exercise was however a very useful learning curve. Lessons were learned about the loading of supply ships and the need for beach tracking was clearly demonstrated. Similar exercises were carried out on the south coast and ten months later, 6th June 1944, the ‘D’ Day landings took place.

    European Union Bans British Summer Time

    Shock horror! The commission of the European Union has proposed to abandon summer time in the European Union. The council and parliament have supported this move and proposed 2021 as the date of introduction. As the UK will have left the EU by 2021 we will not be bound by this decision but may have to consider it. (Source Wikipedia.org).

    So, enjoy British Summer Time (BST) while you can as its future appears to be in doubt. This year BST commences on Sunday 31 March and will end on Sunday 27 October. The effect of advancing time one hour forward of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is that evenings have more daylight and mornings less.

    British Summer Time was first introduced in 1916 with the passing of the Summer Time Act. During the Second World War the UK adopted British Double Summer Time. In other words the UK was two hours ahead of GMT during the summer and one hour ahead during winter. This was brought about by not putting back the clocks by an hour at the end of the summer of 1940. The following spring the clocks were advanced a further hour to British Double Summer Time. At the end of the summer of 1941 the clocks were put back one hour so we were still one hour ahead of GMT. In subsequent years clocks continued to be advanced by one hour each spring and put back by one hour each autumn. We returned to GMT at the end of summer 1947. Between October 1968 and October 1971 the UK was on British Standard Time. This was introduced by one of our greatest statesmen, Harold Wilson. British Standard Time was GMT +1 all year round. I can imagine the election slogan – ‘vote for Wilson the man who gave you summer all year round’.

    In 2005 Lord Tanlaw introduced the Lighter Evenings Experimental Bill into the Lords. This would have re-introduced British Standard Time for a three year trial period but gave the devolved bodies (Scotland and Northern Ireland) the option not to take part. The bill received its second reading but did not pass into law. The Daylight Saving Bill 2010-2012 was the last attempt to change British Summer Time. The private members bill introduced by Rebecca Harris MP would have required the government to undertake a cost benefit analysis of advancing time by one hour for all or part of the year. If the analysis indicated it was beneficial the bill required a trial to determine the full effects. David Cameron, Prime minister, supported the bill. The bill reached committee stage and was debated again in 2012 but ran out of time and did not proceed any further.

    The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has recommended the reintroduction of British Double Summer Time as used during the Second World War. This proposal is now referred to as ‘Single/Double Summer Time’. RoSPA has suggested that this would reduce the number of accidents as a result of the lighter evenings. Environmental group 10:10 has highlighted the potential energy benefits of Single/Double Summer Time arguing that the change could ‘save almost 500,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

    These proposals are opposed by many farmers and other outdoor workers and by many residents of Scotland and Northern Ireland where winter sunrise would not occur until 10.00 or even later.

    Another proposal is to abolish BST completely and remain on GMT all year. So enjoy British Summer Time while it lasts and let’s hope it’s a good one like last summer.


    The photograph of Big Ben, in its current scaffolded state, reflects perhaps the current status of the House of Commons and how that could also do with support. Not sure how deserving the occupants are …. (Ed)

    Five (Lifeboat) Houses and Two Boats

    Sounds a bit like a description of a celebrity film star. Well, actually it is! One of the stars of the BBC television series ‘Saving Lives at Sea’, Tenby Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). When you visit Tenby this year, why not undertake your own lifeboat house trail, passing five still existing lifeboat houses, including the current ultra modern lifeboat house, and even take a pleasure trip on a lifeboat sailing from Tenby Harbour.

    Start your trail at Tenby Harbour looking for the boathouse built on the Harbour Beach against the Harbour Wall. This was the first of Tenby’s five boathouses where the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Benevolent Society stationed a 28 foot by 7 foot 10 oared self-righting boat in 1852. Two years later the society handed over its nine lifeboats including Tenby’s to the RNLI. Also at the Harbour is the current inshore lifeboat house.

    Walk up the slope towards Castle Hill and down the slope to the Castle Beach. On your left is the site of Tenby’s second lifeboat house, built in 1862 and demolished in 1895. A new boathouse was erected 60 foot closer to the beach and today houses the climbing centre. The building has a blue plaque. The 1895 boathouse was designed by W. T. Douglas and constructed by local builder William Davies of Culver Park. The structure is built of local limestone in rock faced ashlar.


    Retrace your steps back to Castle Square and turn right to follow the path around the Castle Hill. The next lifeboat house you see (the fourth) served Tenby from 1905 to 2005. Construction work commenced in August 1904 and was completed in July 1905. The structure was designed by W. T. Douglas, Chief Engineer of the RNLI. During the 100 years the boathouse was operational, many alterations were carried out, including in the late 1970s a new galvanized steel sub structure beneath the boathouse and the slipway was renewed. Following decommissioning, the boathouse was sold and converted into a family home. The conversion was featured in channel 4’s Grand Designs programme.

    TENBY LIFEBOAT STATIONFinally, continue along the path to the current lifeboat station where you can inspect the present lifeboat and read all about the history of the local branch. A small shop provides the opportunity to purchase a souvenir and help support the work of the institution.

    Today there are two lifeboats stationed at Tenby, the all weather boat in the boathouse on Castle Hill and an inshore boat housed in the small boathouse at Tenby harbour.

    Tenby must be unique in having so many lifeboat houses –  five houses and two boats!

    Tourist Information Centres – Victims of the Digital Age?

    I was raised in the pre-digital age. We had no mobile phones, no CDs, no DVDs, no computers, no internet, no E-mails, no downloads, no streaming, no games consoles, no Sky TV. In fact we only had three television channels, later increased to four with the arrival of Channel 4. TVs were big bulky boxes with a typical screen size of about 20 inches. Tiny when compared to today’s flat screens. But we were happy!

    When we went on holiday our first point of call was the Tourist Information Office (TIC). These were essential to find out what to visit, when it is open and how to get there by public transport. Tenby’s TIC was operated by Tenby Borough Council and was located in the Civic Buildings on The Croft. During the winter period staff were kept busy mailing out thousands of Tenby Guidebooks to potential visitors to the town. In the summer they were rushed off their feet answering hundreds of questions from visitors and booking hotel accommodation for them. It was a boom time in Tenby’s tourist industry. Today we still have a local authority operated TIC located next to the bus station and multistorey car park. But for how much longer? Pembrokeshire County Council is looking to cut its spending and one easy saving is to cease providing tourist information. In the digital age, do we still need Tourist Information Centres?

    Before I go on holiday today I research my chosen destination on line via the world wide web. Enter ‘visit’ and the name of your destination in a search engine and you will be directed to a website providing some of the information that the old TICs provided. Specialist websites will book your holiday accommodation and other websites enable you to book your travel tickets without leaving the comfort of your own living room. The digital revolution has made organizing a holiday much easier than it ever was. So do we really need a TIC in Tenby? For the digital user probably not, but what about people who for whatever reason are unable or unwilling to use digital platforms? Is it right that some groups in our society are excluded?

    Pembrokeshire County Council is not alone in closing TICs. In North Wales, for example, they have become extinct. Some, perhaps more enlightened, areas have decided to maintain TICs. Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney in the Channel Islands all have excellent TICs in prime locations in the town centre. They also have a booming tourist industry. Pembrokeshire County Council recently undertook a consultation on the future of Tenby’s TIC. Bizarrely they asked the residents of Pembrokeshire for their views but not the users of the facility – the visitors! Let’s hope they also consulted with local tourist providers in the Tenby and South Pembrokeshire area to ascertain their views. Perhaps the question can best be answered by examining how many people actually visit Tenby Tourist Information Centre every year. Has the figure fallen in recent years or has it remained fairly stable? Let’s hope that our elected representatives examine these figures before rushing to make a decision that will result in the loss of a useful facility for visitors to Tenby. TENBY TOURIST INFORMATION CENTREIf Tenby Tourist Information Centre does close, it will indeed be one more victim of the digital revolution.