Swansea, Wales: Old Photos & Films

Swansea officially became a city on 3rd July, 1969. However, the industry and events of the port town had long captured the attention of photographers and filmmakers.

Swansea in the past

A montage of old photos of Swansea, set to music.

Swansea Copper Stories: What was the valley like? – Alfred George Clarke and Mrs Clarke

Photographs and oral history about the Hafod Morfa Copperworks, including a discussion about the fumes from the white rock.


⏯ Swansea Battalion (1919)

A short clip from 1919, showing the Swansea Battalion return home from the Great War.


King And Queen In Wales (1920)

In 1920, Queen Mary and King George V officially visited Swansea. A lot of smartly dressed spectators and dignitaries appear. 

Three Night Blitz of Swansea

Civil Defence Messenger Hubert Thomas talks about his experiences during the German Luftwaffe bombing raids 19 to 21 February 1941, which killed 230 people and injured a further 397. Includes a number of old photographs of the town.

Swansea and Mumbles Railway, 1940’s – Film 32481

HuntleyFilmArchives uploaded this short clip from the 1940s.

Swansea and the Mumbles, South Wales in 1946. Film 35017

More footage of the Swansea and Mumbles Railway. Includes a scene of people playing tennis in Cwndonkin Park.

Selected Originals – Wales Meets The Duke Aka Duke Visits Swansea (1952)

In 1952, the Duke of Edinburgh visited a number of industrial sites at Port Talbot and Swansea, and the University College of Swansea. 

Swansea Town and City, 1960s to 1970s Updated

David Sandler’s compilation of home movies from the 1960s and 70s show Swansea from many different locations.

Corgi Car Factory – Swansea 1960

The post war employment boom saw increased sales of toys for children, leading to more manufacturing jobs producing toys. One of the leading brands was Corgi, launched in 1956 and named after the Welsh breed of dog.

In the 1960s Swansea was home to a number of toy making factories, including Corgi, Triang, and Louis Marx. 

Over the following decades, toy production moved abroad, with fewer employees and sites left operating in the UK. When Corgi moved to Mattel’s UK headquarters in Leicester in 1991, Corgi’s Swansea factory closed forever.

Ports of Swansea and Port Talbot, 1960’s — Film 90348

A narrated short film from the 1960s, when the manufacturing industry was a major source of local employment.

A step back to 1970s Swansea

Wales Online uploaded a short film to YouTube. Photographs of Swansea in the 1970s lead into the planner’s vision of the 2017 £50million redevelopment scheme.

Mumbles Passenger Railway 1804-1960 – BBC Wales item 1998

A five minute BBC Wales programme from 1998 explaining the origins, service and end of the world’s first passenger railway service.

Biking through Swansea

In 2007, a cyclist rode from a high vantage point over Swansea, down through the city and stopped at the beach promenade.