The Hydraulic Accumulator Tower - North Dock. It is not very often that town developers in Llanelli meet with the approval of Llanelli Community Heritage, particularly considering the recent demolition of the Stepney Hotel and Island House. But what a transformation can be seen at the North Dock!
The old Hydraulic Accumulator Tower has been undergoing a complete restoration during this last year from the once ruined power house of the North Dock into a restaurant of great architectural merit. This Grade II listed building has been thoroughly restored and now serves a purpose that could never have been envisaged by its original creator.
As well as the major structural work required to preserve the building, the additional glazing and the cleaning of its stonework has made this grand structure very pleasing to the eye. This, together with retention of some of its antiquated hydraulic engine structure and re-use of some of the original metalwork, has turned the building into an exceptionally attractive restaurant..
The Hydraulic Tower was built circa 1900 and was used to provide power for the gates, cranes and capstans that were once used for the operation of the dock which was officially opened in 1903.
The original plan had been to motivate the dock's machinery by other means because it was reported (1902) that....
'An important "extra" in the estimate for the dock was incurred through the decision of the Commissioners to go in for hydraulic equipment . In the original plans, provision was made for steam power, but the Commissioners very popularly decided that an equipment of hydraulic power would be preferable . This was placed in the efficient hands of Messrs Armstrong , and the total cost was £18,343. 6s. 11d. (£18,343.40). No fault can be found with this.'
It appears that in 1902 the total bill for the hydraulic machinery, engine and accommodation house came to £20,200.
Llanelli Community Heritage congratulate and support all those developers that have the vision and foresight to re-use buildings of architectural or historical merit as opposed to the soft option of demolition, namely the developers of The Verandah, The Metbar , Bryntirion, Horeb Mill and now, well done 'Sosban'!
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Photographs courtesy Jamie Wright of Sosban Restaurant