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The Guildhall opens its doors

Originally scheduled for the 18th, the opening ceremony took place on Tuesday 23 October.

The Guildhall opens its doors

It was a damp autumn day, but nonetheless the people of Swansea turned out in crowds to witness the arrival of His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent. The Duke was greeted by the Mayor, Alderman Edward Harris, and other civic dignitaries at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. When he arrived at the Guildhall he met veterans of the First World War, and received a ceremonial key from the architect, Percy Thomas.

The most important part of the day took place in the Brangwyn Hall, where the Duke declared the Guildhall open for public use. A sumptuous five-course luncheon followed in the Patti Pavilion. After lunch, the Duke inspected other sites in the town, including the new housing estate in Townhill, Townhill School and the Seamen's Mission, before leaving from High Street station. Music was provided by the Swansea Borough Police Band, the Swansea and District Male Choir and soloists, and Dr W. H. Harris, organist of St George's Chapel, Windsor.

The mayor wrote: "I express the hope that the new buildings will conduce towards making Swansea the town of our ideals, that in the new Law Courts justice will, as in the past, be administered without fear or favour, and that in the new Council Chambers, as well as in the new administrative offices, the best and noblest traditions of Local Government will be continued and developed for the enduring benefit of the Town and the general well being of the Community."

Some facts and figures:

  • The tower is 160 feet high, and each face slopes inwards by 12 inches towards the top.
  • The clock was presented to the council by J. T. Morgan of Swansea, 'as a token of his high regard for the town of his adoption and of his appreciation of the civic pride of its people.'
  • The council chamber seats 60 members, along with officials, members of the public and press. The columns are 22 feet high and are constructed of Australian walnut.
  • The bronze busts in the area outside the council chamber depict David Matthews, David Williams and Percy Morris, MPs for Swansea East 1919-22, 1922-40 and 1945-59, and David Rhys Grenfell, MP for Gower 1922-59.
  • The municipal halberds housed in the mayoral suite date from the 18th century and have been used ceremonially in all three Guildhall buildings described in this exhibition.
  • The Brangwyn Hall is 160 feet long, 62 feet wide and 44 feet high. It can seat more than 1300 people.
  • The floor of the Brangwyn Hall can be adjusted to be sprung for dancing.
  • The Brangwyn Panels took seven years to complete, and measure a total of 3000 square feet.

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