A guidebook is an important support to the traveller offering a wealth of details about a vacation spot from the most effective locations to remain to high points of interest to see – and that was simply as true 200 years in the past as it’s now.
The New Swansea Information of 1823 coated nearly all the pieces a well-heeled Georgian customer to the realm would have wanted to know in regards to the city and locations of curiosity to see in Gower, Carmarthenshire, and the Swansea and Neath valleys. Because the title web page proudly boasts, it affords a “specific description of the city and its neighborhood, along with a brief historical past of the county (by no means earlier than revealed) and such data as could also be deemed helpful to the traveller by the counties of Carmarthen and Glamorgan”.
Within the early many years of the 19th century Swansea was rising quickly with business of all types and a booming port welcoming ships from round Europe, North America, and the West Indies. Nevertheless it was additionally a modern seaside resort well-liked with those that wished in indulge within the new craze of sea bathing.
The information actually does a superb job of promoting the city, saying it “stands close to the centre of a most stunning bay, on an angle between two hills, which defend it from the north-west and north-east, whereas the southerly winds, blowing over an enormous expense of sea, render the air gentle”. In line with the e book the bay itself is comparable with that of Naples in Italy.
And with its newly relaid roads, extensive pavements, and gasoline road lighting the “good-looking” city constructed on a curve within the river “is justly thought-about the primary city of the Principality”. The information notably recommends taking within the view from the highest of Kilvey Hill – nonetheless a sensible choice some two centuries on.
The primary requirement for a traveller is lodging and the information says there “many good lodging homes” on the Burrows – the realm roughly the place at present’s Maritime Quarter and marina sits – and quite a few public homes the place “the stranger will expertise the best civility and a spotlight”. However there are three inns that are notably beneficial – the Mackworth Arms in Wind Avenue is described as “a home of very superior lodging” which “ranks amongst the most effective within the Principality” whereas the Wheat Sheaf in close by Fort Avenue affords “intensive and good lodging for travellers and is way frequented”. The Bush in Excessive Avenue “could be very handy, and in it each consideration is paid” whereas it’s “a lot frequented by business gents”.
Having secured rooms, what’s there for a customer to do? A visit to Wind Avenue is on the record – a road described as “good-looking and well-paved” with “a number of splendid and chic outlets in nearly each department of enterprise”. Wind Avenue, the information says, “is probably the most trendy on the town”. In addition to fancy outlets the road boasts a publish workplace and studying rooms run by a Miss Jenkins the place a customer can peruse the newest London every day newspapers or borrow a e book from the lending library. The highest finish of the road can be house to the fort and the twice-weekly market. On the time elements of the fort had been nonetheless in use as a city corridor, a debtors jail, and a market-house.
The information additionally recommends catching a manufacturing on the theatre on Goat Avenue – one of many authentic medieval streets of Swansea misplaced to the bombing of World Struggle Two – the place admission prices 3d for a personal field, second to face within the pit, and 1d within the gallery. Additionally on the record is a go to to the 2 potteries located in The Strand, the Cambrian and the Glamorgan, that are each “extremely deserving of consideration”, and for individuals who fancy a recreation of billiards there are tables on the close by Pink Lion public home.
In the meantime the ferry home, the bottom for the River Tawe ferry service, affords “good leisure seasoned with civility” whereas the ferry itself could be helpful if the customer wished to attend one other attraction, native specifically the two-mile lengthy horse racing observe over on Crymlyn Burrows.
One of many massive points of interest on the town appears to have been the “Public Rooms” situated within the Burrows. The information notes the constructing is “so ornate it its exterior look, and so handsomely fitted up” and it boasts a espresso room, studying room, billiards room, ballroom, supper room, and a room for enjoying playing cards. In entrance of the Public Rooms was a four-acre “pleasure floor” with lawns and decorative shrubs and bushes, gravel footpaths, and a “grand esplanade” providing uninterrupted views of the bay.
However it’s the waters themselves which had been one of many main attracts. Within the late 18th century and early 19th century “taking the waters” was changing into trendy for the nicely off with bathing within the sea – in winter in addition to summer season – seen as a superb for the well being. Some medics additionally beneficial consuming the briny stuff.
Coastal cities had been booming across the UK with individuals flocking to the seaside and Swansea was no exception.
The 1823 information recommends a few Swansea bathing homes within the Burrows as being worthy of a go to with the nice and cozy sea water and vapour baths run by Mr Collard and by Miss Eveniss singled out. Each, the e book says, are venues the place “consideration and cleanliness are studiously noticed”, including: “Fees reasonable”.
The information additionally notes bathing machines – coated carriages the place the genteel bather may get undressed in personal earlier than being wheeled into the shallow for a discreet entry to the bay – are available and “the preparations are below such laws as to stop imposition or incivility”.
In a pleasant flip of phrase the information says Swansea “possesses each lodging for utilizing the marine fluid with impact”.
Nevertheless inside a number of many years of the e book being revealed the Burrows, with its elegant bathtub homes and bathing machines, its ballroom and pleasure grounds, had been swept away and changed with the South Docks – at present’s marina – because the city adopted the trail of industrialisation. It is tempting to think about what the town could be like at present had Swansea-by-the-sea prevailed over Copperopolis.
The e book additionally goes into nice element in regards to the industries and factories to be present in Swansea and particulars of the cargoes coming into and leaving the port yearly in a method maybe trendy guides would not. Because of the e book, nevertheless, we all know that 1,285 hundredweight of potatoes had been imported into the city in 1819 together with 812 chests of tea and occasional, 103 tons of cheese, and 15,566 gallons of rum and different spirits.
In addition to the points of interest of the city itself the Georgian information affords options for visits to different elements of the realm.
With a ship journey or a visit on the “Oystermouth tramroad” a customer may go to the village of Mumbles with its ruined fort and advantageous church. The information notes “an amazing amount of oysters are caught within the bay close to the village, and exported to London, Bristol, Gloucester and numerous different locations in England” and it’s an business which “which supplies employment to a large number of fishermen who principally inhabit the place”.
Additional afield the e book recommends visiting Caswell Bay – “famed for the variety of great thing about its shells” – in addition to Oxwich Bay, Worm’s Head, Cefn Bryn, Llanmadoc Hill, and Penclawdd, “a village pleasantly located below a hill, having a advantageous prospect of the Carmarthenshire coast throughout the River Burry, which has a advantageous impact at excessive water”. The e book’s abstract of Gower – or “Gowerland” – nevertheless, is a bit ambiguous. It reads: “In level of panorama, it might be inferior to different elements of Glamorgan however the origin and habits of the individuals, the antiquities and curiosities, render it extremely worthy of an attentive examination”.
In the meantime the ferry from Loughor would take the customer into Carmarthenshire. After crossing river the street west “lies by a area of colliers and is fairly detached” whereas Llanelli is a “small and irregular city located on a creek close to the ocean”. The e book is extra passionate about Kidwelly, noting: “The prospect from the battlements of the fort are uncommonly advantageous.”
The e book additionally suggests an tour up the Swansea Valley and says “by the facet of the canal the stroll could be very nice affording many objects value statement”.
After the copper works of Landore the information mentions the recently-built village of Morris City, or Morriston, after which the “candy, romantic village” of Clydach. Because the customer heads additional up the Vale of Tawe the information says “the nation presents probably the most stunning and picturesque surroundings”.
One other beneficial journey was to the Vale of Neath. Leaving from Morris City the route crosses the River Tawe on the Wich-tree bridge earlier than heading east. The traveller first encounters the ruins of Neath Abbey – “the garb of antiquity which it wears is just too enticing to not excite the traveller to a detailed examination of its beauties” – after which a bit additional on is the city of Neath, which is described as “irregular, slim and on the entire not nicely constructed” however no less than with a good-looking bridge over the river. However whereas the information doesn’t sound terribly impressed with Neath it does advocate a visit to the Gnoll property with its advantageous water cascades and notes that at Gnoll fort there’s an outdated girl who gives tea.
Again over the river and heading north from Neath the observe takes the traveller by the villages of Cadoxton and Aberdulais and into the Vale of Neath, an space described as “wealthy and romantic” the place “rocks, woods and cataracts [waterfalls] all contribute to render the surroundings actually chic and fascinating”.
On the head of the valley the e book recommends a go to to the areas spectacular waterfalls – an space nonetheless pulling within the guests nearly 200 years later.
One other potential tour from Swansea sees the Georgian traveller taking the ferry throughout the Tawe and following the observe by the hamlet of St Thomas and over the Crymlyn Burrows horse observe to the banks of the River Neath the place a 1d ferry journey results in Briton Ferry, a spot which comes extremely beneficial . The information says that “the impact produced on the thoughts by considering the beauties of Briton Ferry is comparable to to arrange a satisfying pensive serenity, which none however the fanatic in nature’s work is able to having fun with”. The Vernon Arms is described as a snug inn and a handy stopping level for travellers heading to or from Swansea.
From Briton Ferry the beneficial route goes by Baglan the place “the surroundings nonetheless delights, for all is grand, stunning, and numerous” on then it is on to Aberavon, Taibach (right here spelled Taybach) which is “a small place inhabited by coal miners and copper smelters”, after which the Margam property, house of the highly effective Talbot household. Although the property is personal and never open to the general public the information notes the gardener who takes care of the grounds will lead individuals on excursions.
Swansea-based journey creator Victoria Trott, who has contributed to a number of worldwide vacation spot guides in addition to penning the Thomas Prepare dinner Pocket Information Swansea, is a fan of the Georgian information, which is held within the British Library.
She mentioned: “That is a fully fascinating learn and truly not too dissimilar from a 21st century guidebook in that it covers all features of life for the traveller together with an summary of historical past, getting your bearings and getting round, the place to remain and eat, and the place you possibly can go for leisure. In actual fact this information is significantly extra in-depth and detailed than trendy guides. I believe it greater than does its job for the travellers of the day.
“It is fascinating to see what’s modified and what’s stayed the identical 200 years later. Some features of the town are straight out of a contemporary information – ‘our sea shores are pleasant’ and ‘the castles are planted thickly’ – however I’ve to confess that I would fairly see ‘elegant villas and picturesque cottages’ on my method into city than what now we have at present.
“It is also amusing that he refers to Gower as ‘Gowerland’ and I am left questioning what sort of theme park that might be.”