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Barmouth Sailors' Institute is a unique building and an important part of Barmouth's Maritime history. It is a rare survivor of a type of establishment that was once common in coastal communities throughout the British Isles in the late 19th century. This was a period when the seagoing trades around the British coasts were changing rapidly. However, seafarers from the remotest coastal areas did not forsake the sea but instead, began to take up berths on deep sea ships sailing from the larger ports such as London, Newcastle, Glasgow, Liverpool and Cardiff.
In order that they could continue to trace the new voyages, many seamen's institutes came into existence, not just as a meeting place but also where the Lloyds List and Shipping Gazette were available for consultation. From these, the families could trace the lengthy voyages which could last up to two years. A set of sea charts was presented to the Rector of Llanaber (also of Barmouth) for the use of seamen of Barmouth in remembrance of their friend George Quartus Pine Talbot. They date back to 1823 and are housed in a special wall cabinet.
In 1890 Canon Edward Hughes, the Rector of Barmouth at the time would have established the Barmouth Sailors' Institute for just this reason. He was very well known for his endeavour to meet both the spiritual and social needs of his parishioners.
Over the years, being of timber construction, the building fell into a state of disrepair. In 1982 a valiant band of volunteers obtained funding from the Prince's Trust and stemmed the tide. By January 2005 sufficient grant aid was secured to do a full restoration and the building was returned as near as possible to how it was when first established in 1890.