Step back in time with fascinating old images of Swansea in Wales.
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.
Old Photos of Swansea
A montage of old photos of Swansea, set to music.
Swansea in the past – on YouTube
Swansea Battalion 1919
A short clip from 1919, showing the Swansea Battalion return home to the town after the end of the Great War, later called the First World War.
Swansea Battalion (1919) – British Pathé on YouTube
Hafod Morfa Copperworks
Photographs and oral history about the Hafod Morfa Copperworks, including a discussion about the fumes from the white rock.
Swansea Copper Stories: What was the valley like? – Alfred George Clarke and Mrs Clarke – on YouTube
King And Queen 1920
In 1920, Queen Mary and King George V officially visited Swansea. A lot of smartly dressed spectators and dignitaries appear.
King And Queen In Wales (1920) – British Pathé on YouTube
Swansea Blitz 1941
In the next video, 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.
Swansea was targeted by the German Luftwaffe bombers because of the port, docks and nearby oil refinery. Bombs were periodlically dropped on the area from 27 June 1940. But it was February 1941 which saw sustained attacks from multiple groups of bombers.
19, 20 & 21 February 1941
1,273 high explosive bombs & 56,000 incendiary (fire) bombs dropped on Swansea
230 people died
397 people injured
major parts of Brynhyfryd, Townhill, and Manselton destroyed
857 properties destroyed
11,000 properties damaged
7,000 people made homeless
In the aftermath, Swansea’s official visitors included King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, and Winston Churchill.
The video about these three nights of horror includes a number of old photographs of the town.
Three Night Blitz of Swansea – on YouTube
Mumbles Passenger Railway 1804-1960
HuntleyFilmArchives uploaded this short clip of the Swansea and Mumbles Railways in the 1940s, including nice images of passengers.
Swansea and Mumbles Railway, 1940’s – Film 32481 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube
The next short clip of the Swansea and Mumbles Railway was recorded in 1946.
It includes a scene of people playing tennis in Cwndonkin Park.
Swansea and the Mumbles, South Wales in 1946. Film 35017 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube
This next clip is a five minute BBC Wales programme from 1998 explaining the origins, service and end of the world’s first passenger railway service.
Mumbles Passenger Railway 1804-1960 – BBC Wales item 1998 – on YouTube
Duke of Edinburgh 1952
In 1952, the Duke of Edinburgh visited a number of industrial sites at Port Talbot and Swansea, and the University College of Swansea.
Selected Originals – Wales Meets The Duke Aka Duke Visits Swansea (1952) – British Pathé on YouTube
Swansea in the 1960s & 70s
David Sandler’s compilation of home movies from the 1960s and 70s show Swansea from many different locations.
Swansea Town and City, 1960s to 1970s Updated – on YouTube
Corgi Car Factory 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.
Corgi Car Factory – Swansea 1960 – on YouTube
1960s Swansea Ports & Port Talbot
A narrated short film from the 1960s, when the manufacturing industry was a major source of local employment.
Ports of Swansea and Port Talbot, 1960’s — Film 90348 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube
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