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If this works, and we can all agree, and we all like it, and we can keep it up to date, and we're all happy, we may carry on with it, or even put it on Blogger...Early days though...!

As usual the 'Contact Us' is at the foot of the page.

Sunday April 7

To commemorate the Golden Jubilee of H. M. Queen Elizabeth II, Oystermouth Historical Association will be presenting a display entitled ‘Snapshots in Time- Mumbles Life, 1950-55’ at Oystermouth Library from Monday 20 May until Friday 21 June. It will include contemporary pictures of school groups, sports teams and societies, street parties and details of local shops. If you have copies of any photographs which you would like included, please contact Carol Powell, tel: 01792 520540. Best wishes, Carol Powell

Sunday March 31

The death of the Queen Mother is a sad and irreplaceable loss for the United Kingdom. There will be countless references to the role of the King and Queen in the Second World War as the wartime generation comes together (probably for the last time) to commemorate the undoubted high point of the British monarchy. On the TV, radio and Internet I have seen critics and royal detractors swept aside in the tidal wave of genuine warmth and affection felt throughout the country. I wonder if this will be the last time the United Kingdom will come together almost totally united in their sense of grief and loss. It is worth pointing out that the Saturday edition of the South Wales Evening Post gave pride of place to a long letter from a rather unpleasant local national socialist who complained bitterly about the existence of the Royal Family and wanted them 'pensioned off'...a further letter mentioned 'kristalnacht'. Such sentiments are depressingly familiar to the wartime generation that will now come together to celebrate the life of a truly remarkable woman. Take a look at Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother: Memorial Website, and Microhistory 6 below.

Friday March 15

Congratulations to Newport on finally achieving city status. If you have read our page on the machiavellian dealings behind Swansea's journey to city status, you will understand Newport's achievement, even though there should never have been any question about it. The sad but predictable backbiting and complaints will now start as the local politicians of Aberystwyth and Wrexham complain about bias and unfairness. There was a lovely scene today when a HTV news reporter (not at the top of his game to be fair) confronted the Welsh First Secretary about the north-south 'storm' that is building. This gave Rhodri Welsh the wonderful opportunity for a nice put down on tea time news to show how good he is. Curious. Tribal wind ups of the natives are usually the job of BBC Wales! Anyway the point of it all and which really made me chuckle was some Welsh nationalist apparatchik complaining that the Welsh Arsembley is a club for 'Glamorgan old boys'. Ahh nostalgia...lets have the old county back...Glamorgan where the coal, iron, steel, and money of Wales was produced...Glamorgan where the vast majority of the population of Wales live...Glamorgan which still pays the taxes and keeps North Wales agriculture afloat. Lovliest crack of all was Adrian Allen on Real Radio...'North East Wales already has a city...its called Liverpool!' With elections coming up the local Arsembly politicians will be working hard to keep this in the news because it diverts attention from the massive pay rise Assembly members have just awarded themselves...

Wednesday March 13

Richard Porch from Swansea Council sent me the following:

"Dear Swansea History Web I work for the City and County and have just been able to get published a new book of old photographs of Swansea in the late 20th century. It is called Swansea 1960's - 1980's and is part of the Images of Wales series by Tempus Publications and retails at £10:99p. When I worked in the planning department I was responsible for archiving a lot of the photography that the department produced. Most of it was taken by planners visiting this or that site prior to development and photographing it as an aid to memory. The result is that an inadvertent body of amateur photography has built up over the last 40 years as the city evolved and grew. True, most of the images are well within living memory for anyone under 40 years of age - but they still show that an astonishing amount of change has taken place."

This will be next month's book of the month, more details then.

Sunday March 3

If you want to know more about the incinerator campaign, go to the site:

Friday March 1

Many thanks to Mark for the input into the Twin Towns microhistory. We've decided to block Hotmail form our mail system because we now realise that very few people seem to use the system legitimately. We've noticed a number of other sites have done the same.

Sunday February 24

I added two extra 'microhistories' today. The one on Swansea's Viking origins brings up a few interesting points! With the schools back next week, I know that a lot of people will be wanting access without waiting for us to send a newsletter so we've made a special arrangement for local schools!

The newsletter club is exceeding all of our expectations, we should have done this ages ago. People can now use our content for the simple cost of emailing us and asking for a password. I think this has helped to restore a value to our pages that we had lost over recent months. The modern search engines make it far too easy to get to pages deep within a site which tends to devalue and cheapen the content. We can see that a number of people come onto the site via a search, make several attempts to access material and move on when they get the newsletter club message: such amazing impatience!

Thursday February 21

The password system is great! It has done everything we hoped and users seem to handle the user sign in easily. We've dropped MSN Hotmail as our email provider, we didn't realise that Hotmail has a very unreliable reputation for delivering mail and the security is very poor which explains the unpleasant traffic the system is getting known for. Anyway it's history and we're feeling the benefit already.

Tuesday February 19

The password access is working very well. Our traffic has now dropped down to the more manageable amounts of the past. I think that it is an unfortunate outcome of 'search engine mania' that we get lots of people coming to the site who don't really want our information but they just eat up the bandwidth. The email newsletter is also working well, people seem very happy to work with us this way. The funniest thing that happened is that a user from the University of North Carolina (honestly!) tried his best to crash our newsletter distribution method. I have no idea why and I have no idea what he was doing on our site in the first place. Now't so queer as folk though!

Sunday February 17

We are now in the process of password protecting large parts of the site. This will make it easier to manage access and keep our costs down. Access to the pages is still free but you will have to subscribe to the email newsletter to get your user name and password. Just email us in the usual way. We are not using mailing list software at present we'll wait and see how big the list becomes. At present we guess that the limited Hotmail facilities will do us fine. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday February 10

By strange coincidence I posted microhistory 6 today. Princess Margaret is a sad loss because she is a link to King George VI who did so much to boost the flagging spirits of the country in the worst days of the war. The genuine affection felt for our current Queen is due in large part to the hard work and dedication of King George and Queen Elizabeth during the war years. In many ways I think Margaret's death is the start of the end of our traditional royal family. Prince Charles and the modern royals will never command the affection and respect that was offered without question to the King and (in lesser amounts) to our current Queen. But don't get me wrong...the Republic is still a very long way off!

 

SHW Microhistory: 6. The royal visit, 1941.

Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Swansea on 19 March 1941. The visit was intended as a morale booster for the town which had suffered heavily in German air raids in February of that year.

In the darkest days of the Second World War, (between June 1940 and December 1941), Britain stood alone against the might of Nazi Germany and wasn't expected to last much longer. In the face of murderous German air raids at home and military reverses abroad, the King and Queen became a pillar of strength in maintaining the morale of the nation.

King George VI had been literally thrown in at the deep end when he acceded to the throne in December 1936. However, with the unfailing support of Elizabeth he quickly built up a close bond with the British people which seemed to grow stronger with each year of his reign. Although the government wanted to evacuate the Princesses to Canada in June 1940, it was Elizabeth who decided the matter...'The Princesses cannot go without me. I cannot go without the King. The King will never go.' Throughout the terrible winter of 1940-41, the royal couple toured the country visiting blitzed towns and exhausted factory workers. The impact of these visits was inestimable. The fact that Buckingham Palace was bombed nine times, once with the couple in the building cemented the bond between King and people even further.

In another timeless quote, the Queen said 'I'm almost comforted that the Palace has been hit. I feel I can look the East End in the face.' The Queen was often the star of the visits. Years later, Lord Harlech recalled that the Queen would often jump out of the car and straight into the nearest crowd. 'She had that quality of making everybody feel that they and they alone were being spoken to...she has very large eyes which she opens very wide and turns straight upon one'.

The royal visit did much to undo the considerable local upset that had been caused by a tactless and arrogant broadcast by the BBC intent on creating propaganda out of the Swansea raids. The couple talked to the local emergency services, and visited victims of the bombing. The Queen was taken up onto North Hill to see the extent of the bombing. In the photo above, Alderman Tom James is seen pointing out the damage. Although there have been many other royal visits over the years, they have never been so significant as this one. The site of the visit is largely unchanged today, even the phone box is still there!

More SHW Microhistory

 

SHW's Book of the Month:

The History of the Countryside: The...

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!

Oliver Rackham's book is a classic for anyone who wants to understand the way Britain's countryside has changed over the past two thousand years. I have never came across any other book that offered so many insights into trees, hedgerows, and roads explained in such a readable and interesting way. The author starts in Roman times and goes into marvellous detail to explain the way in which roads and hedgerows shaped the landscape. He looks at the 'new arrivals' such as rabbits and sycamores. The differences between woodlands, wood pastures and commons are better described here than any other book I have come across. A comprehensive reference and bibliography section give you plenty of further ideas for more reading. (Nigel Robins)

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