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Gower 52. The journal of the Gower Society

I can still remember coming across my first edition of the Gower Journal as a Dynevor schoolboy. I recall being fascinated that there was so much to read and learn about the peninsula which hitherto had been to me merely a place of beaches that were visited in the summer months. My own delight at discovering this gem was compounded when I realised that there were (then) over thirty years of Gower to enjoy down at Swansea Central Library.

Gower 52. Available now

Gower Journal was one of the things that awakened my fascination with local history and I suspect that it has influenced many others as well. One of the strengths of Gower is that each edition almost certainly has something for everyone. When I was a student of Geology, I remember finding some marvellous articles about glaciation that were practically priceless in preparation for forthcoming exams. And of course, it goes without saying that the local history articles in those fifty two volumes of the journal are a treasure chest of our local heritage. Mind you, I’ve got to be honest and say I’ve never been crazy about the poetry...

If you are contemplating a project or any kind of research into Swansea and Gower then Gower Journal should be your first port of call. Swansea Central Library has a full set of them Remember to ask the librarian for the indexes because the journals are packed with information and the indexes are the best way of navigation through them. 

Anyway, Gower 52 is now available and its up to its usual high standard. The contents are below but a couple of things really struck a chord with me this year; Malcolm Ridge's excellent piece on the sterling work the Society are doing in opposing the shameful Helwick dredging proposals. Brian Taylor’s article about beating the bounds of old Swansea is excellent. I walked the route he describes a couple of years ago, and an article will appear on the site eventually.   Clifford Bevan’s intriguing little piece about Gower’s ‘spring heeled jack’ manifestations in the 1880s is also very entertaining.

Gower is available from Swansea and Mumbles bookshops (including Waterstones and Uplands Books) and from Swansea Museum, price £5.45.

Here’s an idea: if you want a copy go down to Swansea Museum, buy Gower at the front desk and spend a bit of time enjoying the museum!

Gower 52 Contents                      

The Chairman’s Commentary by Malcolm Ridge

·        Church Restoration at St. Teilo’s Church, Bishopston, during the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries by Geoffrey R. Orrin 

·        The Weaving Industry and Woollen Manufacture in Gower by William Isaac  Tanner         

·        Coal Mines in the Gower Peninsula by E.M. Bridges and P.R. Reynolds      

·        Lewis Thomas: A Blighted Career in Late Georgian Swansea (Part II) by D.R.L. Jones 

·        William Griffiths: ‘The Apostle of Gower’ by Gary Gregor         

·        Beating the Bounds of the old Swansea Borough 1854 by Bryan Taylor           

·        ‘Spring-heeled Jack’: A Nineteenth-century Gower Phenomenon  by Clifford Bevan

Book Reviews: Copperopolis, The Pennard Manor Court Book 1673-1701                     

Above: Beating the bounds of old Swansea


SHW's Book of the Month:

Salt by Mark Kurlansky

You can obtain a copy of this book by using our association with  In Association with Amazon.co.uk

Just click on the book title or cover picture!

This is not a local history book and Mark Kurlansky is a journalist not a local historian. Nevertheless he has produced a fascinating history of one of the world's basic commodities. I first came across Kurlansky with his book about the history of Cod. I think anyone who wants to know about the history of the Bristol Channel has to be familiar with the fish and how it encouraged Bristol fishermen to discover the Grand Banks. Salt is another offbeat yet fundamental bit of our history. We've had a popular web page on salt for ages and Swansea had a Salthouse Point at the mouth of the River Tawe for centuries. Kurlansky takes you on a journey across space and time to discover the importance of salt for mankind. From Jericho to Gandhi, salt has had an important part to play. This is a lovely book that enhances the quality of history for it adds depth and value to something we use every day. (Nigel Robins)

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