Barmouth Sailors' Institute

The Quay, Barmouth, Gwynedd, LL42 1ET, Wales

Welsh Tourist Board

The Sailors' Institute is unique - it is a rare survivor of a type of establishment that was once common in coastal communities throughout the British Isles in the late 19th century.

This was a period when the sea-going trades around the British coasts were changing rapidly. The advancement of the railway into rural areas undermined the once lively coastal trade.

However, seafarers from the remotest coastal areas did not forsake the sea but instead began to take up berths on deep sea ships sailing from the larger ports such as London, Hull, Newcastle, Glasgow, Liverpool and Cardiff.

The majority of their families remained in their native communities where, in the past they had been able to observe the seaborne movements of their menfolk on local voyages. In order that they could continue to trace the new voyages, many seamen's institutes came into existence, not just as a meeting place but also where the Lloyds List and Shipping Gazette were available for consultation. From these, the families could trace the lengthy voyages which could last up to two years.