We have been able to visit the Sailor's Institute in Barmouth to meet and research - finding out the fascinating story of Barmouth's late entry into trading Welsh wool.
Well known author, Lewis Lloyd, in his book “Wherever Freights May Offer - The Maritime Community of Abermaw / Barmouth 1565 - 1920" included an interesting section on the Merioneth Woollen Industry and Barmouth's important role in exporting wool for the international trade in the late 1700’s. It seems that the main customers for ‘Merioneth Webs” were “the slaveowners in South America, the West Indies and the southern cotton colonies / states of North America (1)”.
Thomas Pennant visited Barmouth during his travels across Wales in 1773 and took an active interest in the production of woollen cloth and the international trade opportunities and he explains that “Many of the webs were sold to Spain, and from thence to South America” (2)
(1) Lewis Lloyd in his book “Wherever Freights May Offer - The Maritime Community of Abermaw / Barmouth 1565 - 1920” page 15
(2) Thomas Pennant "Tours in Wales - 1883"
Evans, John, Rev., (1768-1812) A tour through part of North Wales, in the year 1798, reported that: "An attempt was made, a few years since, to make Barmouth a general depot for the woollen goods of North Wales, intended for exportation, but it proved abortive; nor can it be expected such an enterprize should prove successful, till the trade has more opulent manufacturers, and the port of Barmouth more wealthy and spirited merchants.
It is impossible to ascertain what quantity of cloth is got up, where almost every weaver is a master, and where no regular entries are kept."
The photo below was taken when the Welsh Plains research team, plus film crew visited Barmouth as part of our Research Review with Prof Chris Evans.