It will be the 150th anniversary of the opening of Penarth dock next week - on Wednesday, June 10.

And Penarth Times reader Peter Bussell has written the following article, recalling the historic moment the docks opened on Saturday, June 10, 1865.

IT WAS 4am on Saturday morning when, as dawn broke over the streets of Cardiff, a bugle sounded.

This was the signal for the local volunteer artillery to assemble and start moving their four guns and two ammunition wagons to Penarth Dock where they began setting them up on the hill overlooking the dock.

By the time the early dawn had given way to a brilliant sunny morning boats of every description had congregated around the mouth of the Ely river and the Dock entrance.

Nearby, a large marquee had been erected on the flat ground between the Basin and the Ely estuary. Flags and bunting on the new Custom House, the Dock-master’s house, the coal loading staithes and from anywhere else that a flag could be flown could all be seen streaming in the wind.

Meanwhile people poured into Penarth from the surrounding areas.

They travelled by road, by steamship and by ferry across the Ely estuary in readiness for the official opening which was scheduled for 7.30am. Hundreds lined the whole length of the brow of the hill – where Paget Road is today - the sides of the Dock and also covered the slopes of Penarth Head.

It was intended that the seven-year-old Robert Windsor Clive would perform the official opening of the Dock accompanied by his grandmother, Baroness Windsor. However, they were unfortunately delayed and so the Taff Vale Railway’s chairman, Mr James Poole, stating that time and tide would wait for no man, commenced the opening ceremony promptly at half past seven by declaring the Dock open.

The four guns then burst into life, the crowd gave three cheers and the Dock gates were quickly opened.

The first vessel to enter was a new screw driven steamer, the William Cory, 1578 tons, decorated with many flags; Mr Poole promptly threw a bottle of champagne at its bow as a way of christening the gates.

The next craft was a new sailing vessel, the Lady Mary Windsor Clive, recently completed by the Batchelor Brothers at their Cardiff shipyard and also dressed with flags; there were a large number of passengers on board and the Batchelors’ band were playing Rule Britannia. She was towed by the paddle tug Marquis.

The third boat was the Penarth lifeboat, George Gay, with the crew dressed in their waterproofs and wearing cork lifejackets. Several small steamers and tugs also followed them.

The lock gates were then closed and the lifeboat crew showed all the onlookers how their boat could right itself automatically when capsized.

By this time the Baroness and her entourage had arrived to take part in the events and she quickly threw a bottle of wine at the lifeboat, re-naming it Baroness Windsor. By 11am, the assembled crowds of spectators had dispersed, crowding onto the returning steamers and ferries to Cardiff.

The 350 invited guests then sat down in the marquee to a sumptuous breakfast provided by a London firm of caterers.

Those invited to the meal included Baroness Windsor and her relatives, directors of the Penarth Dock and Harbour Company which had been responsible for building the Dock, directors and shareholders of the Taff Vale Railway Company which had taken a 999 year lease on the Dock, together with Cardiff ship-owners, merchants and traders and many of the local great and good.

A succession of some 15 toasts followed the meal, together with their associated responses, after which the guests dispersed.

Unfortunately there is no record of when the event concluded – nor of the condition of those who were leaving after so many toasts!!