A MOSAIC to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the completion of Newport’s South Lock was unveiled yesterday.
The 1,000ft long South Lock was officially opened on July 14, 1914, by His Royal Highness Prince Arthur of Connaught. Lord Tredegar’s steam yacht Liberty became the first ship to sail inside, watched by thousands of people sat in grandstands put up for the occasion.
With its completion, the city’s port was able to handle both coal and general cargo and to this day it is Wales’ largest general cargo port. The port is now renowned as a premier steel importing facility with incoming and outgoing ships regularly travelling from as far as China and Turkey.
Yesterday pupils from Pill Primary School sang Fix You by Coldplay to a gathered crowd shortly before Newport mayor Cllr Matthew Evans unveiled the mosaic at the entrance to the docks.
The artwork, sponsored by Pill Regeneration Project, Newport council and Associated British Ports (ABP), depicts two dock workers, one from a hundred years ago and one from today, backed by the shape of a ship’s prow.
It was commissioned from ceramic sculptural artist Stephanie Roberts.
Miss Roberts, 42, incorporated scrap steel into the design with the help of ABP’s engineering department.
During the lock’s construction on July 2, 1909, the Newport Dock Disaster saw timbers supporting a trench collapse, and 46 men working at the bottom were crushed.
17-year-old Tom Toya Lewis, now a hero of Newport legend, was in the crowd of spectators and worked for hours to try and free a man — the last to be rescued.