Penarth Quays Marina has celebrated the 150th anniversary of the creation of Penarth Docks with spectacular lighting displays designed and carried out by students of the University of South Wales in Treforest.
The idea was the brainchild of lecturer Stuart Green who challenged his students to come up with a variety of concepts for lighting the Docks, part of which now form the backdrop to Penarth Quays Marina.The students all prepared competing schemes with the best five being selected. The students also had to plan the technical facilities needed to implement their displays.
Penarth Docks took 6 years to build before its opening in 1865. It was used as a dock to export coal from the South Wales mining industry and in 1913 exported a record of 4,660,648 tons. At that time it was much larger than the existing dock as it used to extend to where the current Tesco store now stands. Due to a drop off in trade, the docks closed in 1936 but re-opened early in World War Two and in 1943 became a US Navy base for the 11th Amphibious Force. Penarth Dock finally closed in 1963 and a substantial part of the inner basin, now Plymouth Park, was used as a municipal rubbish dump and filled in in the 1980's. Developers' Crest Nicholson acquired the remaining part of the dock in 1985 and carried out the pioneering Penarth Marina Village scheme which was the first regeneration scheme to be carried out in the Cardiff Bay area and the forerunner of so much that has since been achieved.