Dylan Marlais Thomas was born at 5
Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea, Wales on 27 October 1914. He is
widely regarded by many literary scholars as one of the Twentieth
Century's most influential lyrical poets, and amongst the finest
as such of all time.
We have a number of cameras positioned
in the Uplands so you can see how it looks today!
Click any modern
photo to view the cameras.
"A square, a handful of shops
and a pub". This was how Dylan described Uplands in a letter
to a friend in London. In the early part of the century the area
was the hub of this busy suburb and it is still busy today. Walking
to school, Dylan and his pals would pass a row of small shops which
by some bizarre co-incidence were all named with different colours – Mr.
Gray the newsagent, Mr. Green the sweet shop, Mr. Black the cobbler
and a Whites shoe shop.
Uplands Crescent circa 1920
Uplands Crescent 2003
Dylan’s local, where he first grew to love the conviviality
of the bar-room. He writes of how his visits to the pub are part
of his ‘provisional rhythm’. It was here that Dylan first
experienced and came to love beer which he later described with real
passion……"I liked the taste of beer, its live white
lather, its brass-bright depths, the sudden world through the wet
brown walls of the glass, the tilted rush to the lips and the slow
swallowing down to the lapping belly, the salt on the tongue, the
foam at the corners."
The Uplands Hotel circa 1920
The Uplands Tavern 2003
Dylan writes of The Grove in ‘A Fine Beginning’ and
in ‘Return Journey’ but he also returned to the area
in 1949 to make one of his most famous broadcasts.
About fifty years along on the left is a single storey building now
used as a church meeting house. In the thirties, this was used as
a radio-recording studio and it was here that Dylan presented and
chaired the radio programme ‘Swansea and the Arts’. Thomas
wrote jocularly to a friend that he had been "broadcasting from
Swansea with Dan Jones and the boys". The "boys" were
his Kardomah pals, the immensely talented group of Dylan’s
friends – Daniel Jones, musician, Vernon Watkins, poet, Alfred
Janes, painter, and John Pritchard, writer. The broadcast featured
them all explaining what it was about Swansea that fuelled their
respective talents. Dylan begins his introduction, "We speak
from the Grove of Swansea…" and goes on…
"Five of use then sit in this desecrated
Grove, on chairs not hillocks; our little cloven feet are shoed;
our shirt cuffs fray
where flowery bangles once budded; some of us wear glasses; and the
mead is off."
It was around this quiet cul-de-sac
that Dylan would play with the children of W.Grant Murray, the
artist who painted fine views.
The Grove circa 1920
The Grove 2003