In his postcard, Phyl writes that the weather is nice, he has a self-catering apartment near a pond, but complains about the expensive cost of Spanish bread at £1 a loaf.
Although it was delivered to the right address on the card, Mr Davies said he has no clue who either Phyl or Mrs Leon could be.
I’ve been baffled by it really.
I suppose Mrs Leon once lived in my flat, but I’ve asked around neighbours who have lived here twenty or thirty years, and none of them have ever heard of her.
The Post Office say they have no idea what could have happened to the postcard for twenty nine years, may be it got stuck in a sorting machine, may be given that it’s got both British and Spanish stamps on it, someone found it and posted it on.
Really I’d just like to find out who either Phyl or Mrs Leon are, so I could finally give it to them after all this time.
Curiously the story does not reproduce the picture of the picture postcard.
Dear Eddie, this is a very pleasant place and the weather is just right. The food is very expensive though over £1 for a loaf of bread! We have a self catering little apartment by the side of a pond complete with ducks.
There is something very poignant about the handwritten reportage of holidays past and also a sadness attached to the blank other side -sentiments forever unsent.
I’ve looked at life from both sides now From win and lose and still somehow It’s life’s illusions I recall I really don’t know life at all
We are all going somewhere or nowhere or other – we report back.
Having a nice relaxing holiday. Not had good weather. Got caught in rain on Friday have lost my voice. Uncle Jim laughing
Auntie Ethel & Jim
Hope Leslies finger is coming on alright
20th August 1968
Hello Sharon, hope you are as happy as can be. Sorry I can’t tell you anything about your country, as I’ve never been; not yet anyway.
23rd April 1979
Dear Rita, here we are enjoying our holiday with Frank, Jacky & Stuart. The weather has been very poor, but there is an improvement today. Hope all is well with you. Lynn her husband and the little ones are visiting on thursday, so we shall have a real tea-party.
So I walked along the edge of the bay and cut up through the park to the University.
Singleton Park, and the Abbey, in which the university sits, were given to the borough of Swansea by John Henry Vivian, the 19th century Swansea copper magnate. The abbey was given to the university in 1923, but other campus developments, by and large, had to wait until after WW2, when a significant building programme was undertaken
The University’s foundation stone was laid by King George V on 19 July 1920 and 89 students (including eight female students) enrolled that same year. By September 1939, there were 65 staff and 485 students.
In 1947 there were just two permanent buildings on campus: Singleton Abbey and the library. The Principal, J S Fulton, recognised the need to expand the estate and had a vision of a self-contained community, with residential, social and academic facilities on a single site. His vision was to become the first university campus in the UK.
By 1960 a large-scale development programme was underway that would see the construction of new halls of residence, the Maths and Science Tower, and College House – later renamed Fulton House. The 1960s also saw the development of the “finite element method” by Professor Olek Zienkiewicz. His technique revolutionised the design and engineering of manufactured products, and Swansea was starting to stake its claim as an institution that demanded to be taken seriously.
Work began on the student village at Hendrefoelan in 1971, the South Wales Miners’ Library was established in 1973 and the Taliesin Arts Centre opened on campus in 1984. The Regional Schools of Nursing transferred to Swansea in 1992, and the College of Medicine opened in 2001. Technium Digital was completed in 2005 and, barely two years later, the University opened its Institute of Life Science, which commercialises the results of research undertaken in the Swansea University Medical School. Work commenced on a second Institute of Life Science in 2009.
Having been gifted the Singleton Abbey – the 1937 Library was the first new build on the site.
A competition was held in 1934 to find an architect to design a new library building.
The winner was Verner Owen Rees, a London architect with Welsh heritage. The Library opened in the autumn of 1937 and was known as the ‘New Library’, and has later become known as the ‘1937’ or ‘Law’ Library. Miss Olive Busby, who had been the University’s librarian since 1920, moved to this new building and was famous for patrolling it for the next twenty years, ensuring everyone was being quiet!
Then a swift right into the lea of the Faraday Building.
Walking beneath the Faraday Tower and looking back.
To our right Fulton House – This was built 1958-62 by Sir Percy Thomas & Son – design partner Norman Thomas. The decorative scheme in the main hall is by Misha Black; the panels ofThe Rape of Europa by Ceri Richards are an addition of 1970.
Fulton House, which was called College House from when it first opened in 1961 until 1986, is one of the most historically significant buildings on the Singleton Campus. Throughout the early 1950s, extensive plans were put in place to expand the Singleton site. At the core of this vision was a large building that could act as a meeting place, and a social and academic hub. This is what it became after 1961. The building contained common rooms, a music room, a coffee lounge, an extra library, a book shop and a barber’s shop.
This large wall hanging measuring H305cm x W620cm hangs on the wall opposite the Ceri Richards paintings. The hangings were very dusty and the nails holding the piece up were rusty. We were able to interview the artist to find out more about how the hanging was made. Glyn Jones used a blow torch to apply pitch and PVA medium to canvas and skrim fabric that he then attached to a geometric rope structure. Gouache paint was used and a solvent fixative spray allowed the colours to become imbibed into the PVA film. The hanging was made in six panels and then the horizontal rope ends glued together on site. These glued attachments had failed several times in the past and Jones had fixed them. With his permission we decided to come up with a new approach to these fixings. After cleaning the panels, we adhered magnets into the ends of the ropes so that they would click together easily. We reinforced the vertical ropes between the sections with nylon thread. Strong polyester was attached to the back of the top edge allowing a new hanging system where the strips were screwed into the wooden fixing battens. The hanging now looks much brighter and more colourful and detaching rope problem has been permanently resolved.
This generously spaced mural in the form of three splendid green, red, and blue shields in glazed plastic material and black cording is a creation in which the artist, Mr Glyn Jones symbolically portrays the Holy Trinity
The centre shield, in green, represents God the Father as creator and sustainer.
On the right of the centre shield, that is on the right hand of God the Father, is the red shield which represents our Lord and Saviour.
On the left of the centre shield, that is, on the left hand of God the Father, is the blue shield which represents the Holy Spirit.
In other ways the mural is modern in its abstract technique. Its basic symbolism is simple: a shield is for protection and green fertility sustains all life. Mr Glyn Jones is to be congratulated on a study which appealingly and joyfully presents the Holy Trinity as a protective and creative life-force that is yet associated with the Cross. His is a new and attractive achievement in the artistic tradition of Celtic Christianity.
Controversially plans for a £30 million Student Activity Centre at Swansea University’s Singleton campus have been revealed.
Bosses say the centre will form part of a new Student Precinct and, subject to planning permission, will replace the former Digital Technium building which was built in 2003 at a cost of £9.5million.
The scheme will replace the existing Digital Technium building and will be linked to the adjacent Grade II listed Fulton House, which will also be refurbished. Together, they will form the core of the new Student Precinct. Designs to resolve the surrounding streetscape and provide new access routes across the campus are also included.
Peter Moro is the forgotten co-designer of the Royal Festival Hall. A German émigré who had worked with Berthold Lubetkin’s famed practice, Tecton, in the 1930s, Moro was drafted in to help realise the Festival Hall in just two short years, in time for the Festival of Britain in 1951. With a team of his former students, he created many of the interiors we see today. For Moro, the Festival Hall was a stepping-stone to a career designing many of Britain’s finest post-war theatres, particularly Nottingham Playhouse, Plymouth Theatre Royal, and the renovated Bristol Old Vic. He and his colleagues also designed some exceptional one-off houses, as well as exhibitions, university buildings, schools, and council housing, collaborating with leading talents such as the designer Robin Day.
Set in the heart of Swansea University’s Singleton campus we exist to enrich the cultural lives of individuals and communities across the region, presenting arts experiences for audiences in our spaces and on the streets of Swansea.
Carl Cozier aka Holy Moly has added decorative details to the site.
Next door the Keir Hardie Building and its Neighbour the James Callaghan Building.
Heading back on ourselves toward the Wallace Building.
Percy Thomas was commissioned to design new buildings for science and engineering, but these plans were thwarted by cost constraints. However, following the appointment of John Fulton as principal in 1947, Thomas was re-engaged to prepare a new development plan.
The earliest halls can be seen at the centre of this postcard.
Also to the left of this later postcard.
This card shows the Singleton campus of Swansea University. Top right, the abbey which was the university’s original building; beyond that the houses around St Helens – the sports ground where in August 1968 Sir Gary Sobers scored six sixes in an over for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan.
Architects: J Webb as County Architect and CW Quick as the job architectof the West Glamorgan County Architects Department 1982
Canolfan Ddinesig Abertawe formerly known as County Hall.
Don’t be, it’s all quite simple really.
Following the implementation of the Local Government Act 1972, which broke up Glamorgan County Council and established West Glamorgan County Council, the new county council initially met at Swansea Guildhall. Finding that this arrangement, which involved sharing facilities with Swansea Council, to be inadequate, county leaders procured a dedicated building, selecting a site formerly occupied by an old railway goods yard associated with the Mumbles Railway.
The design features continuous bands of glazing with deep washed calcined flint panels above and below.
Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, visited on 20 April 1989.
After local government re-organisation in 1996, which abolished West Glamorgan County Council, ownership of the building was transferred to Swansea Council. It was renamed Swansea Civic Centre on 19 March 2008, and Swansea Central Library moved into the complex as part of a redevelopment scheme.
In March 2021, plans to find a new use for the location continued to still be a commitment of Swansea council, with the announcement of the transfer of the central library and other public services to the former BHS and now What! store on Oxford Street.
Swansea Civic Centre is at risk the Twentieth Century Society says so – they are strongly opposed to demolition of the iconic building and have submitted an application to have the building listed as Grade II.
I do not know what fate awaits it, I only know it must be brave – to paraphrase Dimitri Zinovievich Tiomkin, Ned Washington, Gary Cooper and Frankie Laine – it’s High Noon and counting.
Any road up as of the 11th of May it looked just like this:
Welcome, at the Kardomah Cafe we have a long history of excellent service, great food and wonderful coffee. We are an independent, established, family run business of nearly 50 years. Traditional values are important to us and have helped us create a warm and friendly atmosphere, which is seen by many of our customers as an important part of their lives, a place to meet their friends, whilst enjoying quality food and drink.
The company that created the Kardomah brand began in Pudsey Street, Liverpool in 1844 as the Vey Brothers teadealers and grocers. In 1868 the business was acquired by the newly created Liverpool China and India Tea Company, and a series of brand names was created beginning with Mikado. The Kardomah brand of tea was first served at the Liverpool colonial exhibition of 1887, and the brand was later applied to a range of teas, coffees and coffee houses. The parent company was renamed Kardomah Limited in 1938. The brand was acquired by the Forte Group in 1962, sold to Cadbury Schweppes Typhoo in 1971, and became part of Premier Brands some time between 1980 and 1997. The brand still exists, selling items such as instant coffee and coffee whitener.
The Kardomah Cafés in London and Manchester were designed by Sir Misha Black between 1936 and 1950.
The original Swansea branch was at 232 High St, and known as ‘The Kardomah Exhibition Cafe & Tea Rooms’, moving to the Castle Street in 1908.
The Castle Street cafe was the meeting place of The Kardomah Gang, which included Dylan Thomas, and was built on the site of the former Congregational Chapel where Thomas’s parents were married in 1903. The cafe was bombed during WW2 and was later replaced by the present Kardomah Coffee Shop Restaurant in Portland Street.
I’d never had the pleasure of visiting a Kardomah before, imagine my delight when I was directed there by local artist, activist and archivist Catrin Saran James, during our delightful Swansea Moderne tour!
Following an extensive walk from one end of town to the other, I returned there for a late midday bite to eat and a sit down – it looked a little like this:
Many thanks to the staff and customers for putting up with me wandering around for a while with my camera, whilst they worked and ate.
To 2015 when local artist and archivist Catrin SaranJames is undertaking a little reverse vandalism by way of guerrilla restoration or adfer gerila if you will.
Leading to a full scale cleaning of the Harry Everington 1969 concrete mural adorning the Central Clinic.
It was under Harry’s guidance that students from the Swansea College of Art produced the mural which was put on the building’s exterior back in 1969.
It was fantastic to have had an email from the ABMU Health Board earlier this year. Martin Thomas who leads the ABMU Heritage Team contacted me as he was researching what public art the health board owned.
Martin came across my Guerrilla Restoration work and the previous work I’d done in highlighting cleaning samples of Harry Everington’s 1969 abstract concrete sculptural mural over the last 5 years.
Taken from the ABMU Heritage blog, here’s what Martin said of the project:
When we started this group we carried out a scoping exercise to see what historical artefacts the health board owned and this mural came up.
When I did more research I found out about Catrin’s project and we thought it would be a good idea to help finish what she had started.
We thought this would be a great opportunity for us to clean a very neglected sculpture.
Subsequently her gallant restoration endeavours made headline news in Wales Online.
Fast forward to Wednesday May 11th 2022 – I am aboard the Transport for Wales train, Swansea bound!
Catrin had kindly forwarded me a clear and comprehensive guide to Swansea’s Modernist architecture.
Characteristically, I promptly got lost, fortunately we had arranged to meet at the National Waterfront Museum – which was clearly signposted. Following a chat and a cuppa we swanned off, visiting the Civic Centre and a lovely array of post-war retail outlets.
We parted and I went on my merry way – I can’t thank you enough for your company and erudition Catrin, diolch yn fawr.
Eventually I arrived at the Clinic, I feel that the best time to visit a medical centre is when you are fighting fit, with an overwhelming interest in cast concrete, rather than plaster casts.