Swansea History Web. Looking at one of Swansea's best loved landmarks.

See you at the Slip !

Early bathing in Swansea Bay ] The Slip emerges ] Swansea Slip : the place to be... ] Swansea Slip: The place to be (continued) ] Swansea Slip:decline and fall ] Swansea Slip: Cleaning up the act ] Swansea Bay : The cleanup starts here ] Building a bridge at Swansea Slip ] [ The Swansea Slip Bridge ] Bert and Dick at the Beach ] Early Swansea sewerage schemes ] Swansea's Main Drainage Scheme ] Swansea's Main Drainage Scheme (Continued) ] A Map of Swansea's Main Drainage Scheme ] Swansea's sewerage system under Mumbles Head ] The Mumbles Head sewer outfall ] Slip Statistics ]

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Early bathing in Swansea Bay looks at the development of Swansea Beach from the 1790s.

Swansea Slip: decline and fall looks at the end of the Slip's days of popularity.

Early Swansea sewerage schemes documents the early pollution of the river and Bay.

Swansea’s Main Drainage Scheme looks at the scheme which was considered revolutionary in its day.

Bert and Dick at the beach looks at the cartoon depictions of the Slip by two of Swansea’s famous cartoonists.

Swansea Slip; Cleaning up the Act looks to the future.

Is one of Swansea’s most famous landmarks ready for a new lease of life?

It can hardly be seen on any map but the Slip is one of the best known meeting places for generations of Swansea people. As an access for the beach, as a venue for political speeches, as a meeting point for lost kids or just purely for hanging out, the slip has provided years of faithful service. Although neglected in recent years, as people shunned the unclean waters of Swansea Bay and headed off into Gower, the Slip is poised to serve new generations of Swansea residents as the new Swansea water treatment scheme starts to make the bathing waters of the bay the place to be once more.

Crowds pack Swansea Slip in the 1920s

If you walk down to the Slip on a hot August weekend nowadays you can be sure of a quiet walk. In fact, the beach is so quiet that grass is beginning to grow on it. Whilst thousands of people will make their way onto the Gower beaches regardless of traffic jams or parking problems, the sands of Swansea will be practically deserted. It is hoped that, with the opening of Welsh Water’s new water treatment works, this will be only a temporary problem. With the waters of the Bay as clean as they were in the eighteenth century, the beach at Swansea should once again be one of the finest tourism assets the city has to offer.

Bathing on Swansea beach has a long history. What developed as an out of the way meeting place for local bathers had, by Victorian times evolved into Swansea Slip, the most familiar of Swansea landmarks. However, its fortunes have been closely linked to the way in which we have used the Bay for disposing of sewage and waste. A generation of Swansea inhabitants have now grown up with the notion that the waters of the Bay are too dirty to bathe in. On the threshold of the new century, a new water treatment scheme promises to change all that and put the Slip back on the map.

Deserted. Swansea Slip on a hot August weekend in 1999.

Top picture: A packed Swansea Slip in the 1920s. Above: Deserted on a hot August weekend, Swansea Slip in 1999.

SHW Microhistory: 9. The Black Point Burrows.

This little ecosystem of dunes is one of the most remarkable survivals of the landscape of the original site of the original settlement of Swenes'

This little group of sand dunes has survived almost untouched for perhaps two thousand years. Caught between the sea and the South Dock, they have escaped any development and landscaping, and give us an idea of how the mouth of the River Tawe looked when the Viking and Norman settlers first decided to build a permanent settlement.

The dunes owe their existence to the phenomenon of 'longshore drift' which

continually moves sand and sediment along the beach from Mumbles to be gathered up at this point where the currents of the bay would come into conflict with the river waters of the Tawe. For generations of Swansea seafarers the area was known as 'Black Point'. The point disappeared in the 1790s when the West Pier was built in an attempt to ease navigation into the mouth of the river. The dune field was once much larger and did form part of the corporate estate enclosed under the 1762 Enclosure Act.

The remarkable survival of the dunes up to the present day is down to the fact that there has never been any need to remove them, although they have been nibbled around the edges by various building projects over the years. The demolition of the adjacent factory means that there is no protection for the dunes and most likely they will now be destroyed by unscrupulous property developers in the rush to build more luxury housing.

More SHW Microhistory

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All content © Nigel A. Robins and Swansea History Web 2006, 2007

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