15. Swansea in the 1790s

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Swansea in the 1790s

This description of the town is taken from the journal of the Rev. Richard Warner who visited in 1799...

"Swansea being a fashionable bathing place, we judged it necessary to make as smart an appearance there as the situation of our wardrobes would allow; having therefore brushed up at a small village, about a mile from the town and hired a lad to carry our knapsacks, we boldly proceeded to the Mackworth Arms, the best inn in the place. Pride, however, generally punishes itself; and fortune, who had always hitherto rewarded our ebbullitions of vanity with shame and confusion of face, determined not to lose this opportunity of exerting her malignity. 

Above: Wind Street in the 1790s.

While we were hastening to the inn, affecting that stare of conscious importance which a seat in a phaeton and four will hardly authorise, a cry from behind attracted our attention. Looking around we beheld our poor page prostrate in the gutter, the packs rolling away from him in different directions and mine, which was stuffed beyond its capacity of extension, burst from top to bottom, discharging its heterogeneous contents over the pavement and converting the streets into a second ragfair. I verily believe the smiles of some smart girls, who were taking their afternoon promenade, and the unrestricted mirth of half a dozen sailors would have put our party to flight had not John, whose practical philosophy is equal to his invincible good humour persuaded us to collect together the different articles by observing that it is much better to suffer the transient ordeal of a little ridicule and endure the evaporation of a little self importance, than run the risque of losing the contents of the knapsack. Common sense seconded his remark, and in a few minutes we had secured our property, and were safely lodged in the Mackworth Arms.

(more information about the history of bathing in Swansea Bay)

Situated at the mouth of the River Tawe, (and thence called Abertawe in Welsh) in the centre of a deep and secure bay, it possesses such important advantages as have rendered it the most considerable seaport in the principality. Lofty hills defend it on the north-east and north-west. The Bristol Channel spreads itself in front, bounded by the high cliffs of Somersetshire, and the rich beautiful and diversified coast of Glamorganshire shuts it in to the right and left."

More about the town in the 1790s

 

The View for Sunday 4 December 2000

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