This film is part of Free

Milford Haven

Quaker whalers from Nantucket found a town in Wales at the invitation of Sir William Hamilton (husband of Nelson’s Lady Emma), who provides the land.

Documentary 1947 14 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


Produced and directed by Pontardawe-born Archie Pipe, this is the extraordinary story of how Milford Haven - "little America" - was founded by Quaker whalers from Nantucket. The commentary, spoken by American actor Lionel Murton, details with pride the origins of the settlement whose enterprising pioneers have made it the most progressive town in the west, with its flourishing and up-to-date deep sea fishing industry and its attractive amenities.

Sir W Hamilton offered land to the American whalers, a Samuel Starbuck came over to view what was on offer and satisfied with what he saw, returned a few years later with enough people to start a settlement, each settler receiving a grant of £50 from the British government. Nelson donated his Bible, prayer book and battle relics to the town’s newly built church. The whaling never took off but the town was used for a period as a Royal Navy dockyard and had a thriving fishing industry but now depends on its oil refineries and gas terminal. Archie Pipe, founder of Octagon Films, was from Pontardawe and lived in Wales and America, working for J Arthur Rank and the American Bible Society, and the Grand Theatre, Swansea.