The Stephens Family

Thanks to Peter and Felicity Hurlow-Jones we have information on a family which played an important in part Pembroke’s story. Peter is descended from the Stephens family (on his grandmother's side) and from the Hurlow Jones family (on his grandfather's side). In researching their family history, Peter and Felicity have uncovered photographs and documents relating not only to Victorian family life but also to industrial acitivity and life in Pembroke in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.



Business Letterhead

Stephens Engineering Works (c. Peter Hurlow Jones collection)

Brothers Archibald and John Stephens started business as Engineering Smiths in 1870, in a premises in The East Back, Pembroke which later became Cartref Nursing Home. It has now returned to private ownership.


Inside the workshop, East Back Works (c Peter Hulow Jones collection)



Peter's aunt (now sadly deceased) wrote down some of the family history including the story behind the family nickname of" knacky".

"John Stephens Senior (born 1816) was the village blacksmith in Castlemartin. He lived at a little house “Jericho” in the middle of the village. I think it is still standing. Presumably the smithy was beside it. A competent and resourceful workman, he once repaired a badly damaged plough for a certain farmer Roch of Linney, who being tight-fisted, was delighted with the job (didn’t have to buy a new one). He said “Well done John. I’ll christen thee Johnny Knacky. That nickname stuck through 3 generations. (Your mother and I as kids were known as the “little knackies”)."

His sons John and Archie were very clever with their hands too. Inter alia, they made the gates at Castlemartin Church – copied from the design at Sandringham. Archie also deigned a new submarine shackle and brought out a patent for it, but it never got into production.

The Dreadnought  (Peter Hurlow Jones collection)

"They also bought what Edgar Humphreys told me was a Glasgow street bus and did trips to St David's and Freshwater West and other places. They ran into a snag on St Daniel’s Hill outside Pembroke – the bus had one gear and gravity feed petrol tank and went uphill backwards rather than forwards. So they designed a new gear box which was cast at Woodside Foundry at Wiseman’s Bridge. This bus I believe was sold to Grey’s Garages of Tenby – the forerunner of Morrisons; and I think Navvy Harrison mentions it as the Dreadnought in his “Greenhill” book.


They Introduced the “Castlemartin” bicycle to the district – bought the parts from Birmingham and assembled them at East Back Works. Auntie Bessie used to give lessons in cycling to the ladies. Then the cars came in (Auntie Bob was probably the first woman in Pembs to drive one)."

"They did a lot of repair work for the Admiralty Dockyard at Pembroke Dock, hired out traction engines and threshing machines, had steam road rollers for hire by the local councils and ran (for a time) a limestone quarry by the river behind The Green in Pembroke."

The photographs below illustrate the extent of the Stephens' business.


Plant Machinery (Peter HurlowJones Collection)





Removing a boiler from Hook colliery:




including running Pembroke's first taxi service

Taxi Service (Peter Hurolw-Jones Collection)


A selection of cars

A Doraq


and Motor Bikes

It is said that the Dreadnought was used by Mrs Pankhurst for campaigning here in Pemroke. There was certainly some campaigning going on here for Votes for Women":



Peter’s great uncle was Corbett Stephens, son of Archie.

Corbett’s hand was used as the cast for the handle on the gates of the engineering works when a 5 year old child. It is still there to be seen. On the key is the inscription “born 1888”

This lovely photograph shows Corbett and his sister “Auntie Dodo” as young children.

Peter's Aunt Bob and Auntie Do, who became a nurse in the Great War and worked at the military hospital, Pembroke Dock.

Here she is with other nurses in the Military Hospital, Llanion.


Below - The Nurses' Pierrot group entertain the troops 1916



Below - Red Cross Certificate and medals awarded to Dorothy Stephens in recogition of her services in the First World War.

Red Cross Certificate



Peter also has photographs of the interior of the Military Hospital

Ward in the Military Hospital (Peter Hurlow-Jones Collection)

These two photographs show wards in the Hospital.

A Ward in the Military Hospital, Llanion (Peter Hurlow-Jones Collection)


Below - The Operating Theatre

The Operating Theatre (Peter Hurlow-Jones Collection)


The Chapel


The Chapel  (Peter Hurlow-Jones Collection)


The Rest Room

The Rest Room (Peter Hurlow-Jones Collection)