THE story that is Swansea can be told in many ways, each and every one of which leads to the fact that it is experiencing an ever-increasing rate of change. Part of this must be attributed to the fact that the city has become a prime location on the global learning map, something evidenced by the cosmopolitan atmosphere created by those drawn to its excellent centres of learning from far and wide.
Visitors from across the oceans have however always played a part in life around the River Tawe and brought their own brand of change. From the earliest arrival of the Vikings and then the Normans, followed by Belgians, Italians and Germans to work in the metallurgical industries; the Irish and Devonians to work on the trams, Indians and Chinese to perhaps establish their individual taste experiences, all have helped shape what we are today.
Most will welcome such an onward march, although some will at the same time, lament the passing of the old order. Perhaps this is understandable for it is the past that, after all, has provided the foundation for what is happening right here, right now and also what lies ahead. Others will mourn the fact that many visiting students will acquire new skills here and then head off to other lands. Hopefully they will spread the word about the Swansea experience.
The city should be proud of its progress through the early decades of the 21st Century despite the fact that its modern developments have rarely strayed too far from controversy and criticism. Past times have seen The Kingsway, High Street and Civic Centre occupy the spotlight. Before that it could have been anything from the demise of the Mumbles Railway to the building of the River Tawe barrage. There will also be those who love and those who hate the idea that turned Wind Street into a café quarter. Despite all of this and the coming — and then going — of its ‘bendy buses’ the city thrives and is the envy of many of its UK counterparts. No doubt its seaside location and Premier League football team play a part here.
Whatever the future may bring, Swansea people will continue to go about their daily lives proud and passionate about what they do and where they live. In quiet moments, as they sip a coffee or raise a pint of beer, they will continue to mull over the way things were before the latest change to demand their attention. Memories of the appearance of the city, its surroundings and the people who made it what it is will be evoked by the images on the pages of Swansea Revisited. Some of the subjects are just a few years old proving that it’s as easy to pine for something that vanished yesterday as that which disappeared from the landscape decades before. It is also an indisputable pointer to the relentless pace of 21st Century change.
Hopefully the mix of pictures in this book will bridge the generations and help to detail the story that is Swansea for young and old; those who are Swansea born and bred as well as those who have just arrived and are getting to know their new home.
And don’t forget, if you have any photos of days gone by in Wales’s super seaside city why not contact us and help make next year’s 20th edition a bumper celebration one!