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"A day of accomplishment and pride"

During the 3 Nights' Blitz of February 1941, the Luftwaffe devastated central Swansea. The bombs showed no mercy to the market.

Opening the new market

The external walls remained, but the roof and interior was completely destroyed, leaving the iron structure in ruins. The market would have to be replaced along with the majority of the town centre, but as it was such a mammoth task to rebuild the town after the Blitz, the rebuilding of the market had to be put back by several years.

Nonetheless it was essential to keep supplying the people of Swansea with food in these testing times. Action was taken with a temporary market, set up on the upper floors of the bus garage in Singleton Street. The market stalls were reinstated in Oxford Street in October 1941 where it remained as an open-air market through the 1940s and 1950s. Temporary sites were at Whitewalls (the site of the present Primark store) and between Orange Street and Wassail Square (now the area covered by the Quadrant Shopping Centre).

Like a modern Phoenix from the ashes, and almost 20 years since the loss of the red-brick behemoth, our current market was opened on 18 May 1961 at 11.30am by the Mayor Councillor Sidney Jenkins JP, and the Chairman of the Estates Committee Alderman Francis Charles Jones, who said it was a historic occasion, "a day of accomplishment and pride."

As the doors opened that morning, the invited assembly that represented all walks of life were entertained by a brass band. To mark the occasion, Gower traders were present in full Welsh costume, and veteran trader Mrs Margaret Phillips of Llanmorlais (who was 84 years old and still trading) presented flowers to the Mayoress Mrs. S. C. Jenkins on the morning of the ceremony. The Lord Mayor addressed the crowd and, alongside civic dignitaries and officials, presented the Chairman of the Estates Committee with the key and declared the market open.

Alderman Jones's words were reported on the front page of the Evening Post of 18 May 1961: "..the market was the contribution to the reconstruction of the town. The Council had planned the new town: the Market and the large hall in which they were assembled was the Council's own effort and therefore that of the people of Swansea."

Councillor Percy Morris added: "We are hoping it will be appreciated not only by the people of Swansea, but by our neighbours near and far and that they acknowledge in this Market the determination of the people of Swansea to rebuild a city worthy of the past and of which we will be proud in the future."

At the close of the ceremony a commemorative plaque was unveiled at the Oxford Street entrance by Alderman Jones. Swansea Market was officially open!

Read more about the newly-rebuilt market
 

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