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Travelling exhibition helps mark Swansea's first 50 years as a city

Schools are to display banners outlining the rich history of Swansea as the city's 50th anniversary celebrations gather pace.


The six panels take readers on a journey from medieval times, through the Swansea of the early 1900s right up to the present day and into the future.

They include detail of the town becoming a city in 1969 and a glimpse into developments to come.

They have been created by officers at West Glamorgan Archives, jointly run by Swansea Council and Neath Port Talbot Council and are now set to tour Swansea schools.

The travelling exhibition was jointly prepared with Swansea Museum and Swansea Libraries with funding from Welsh Government's Museums, Archives and Libraries Division.

Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "It will be great to see this exhibition visit schools around Swansea.

"They tell a compelling story of a community with self-belief, drive and ambition. Even though several bids for city status were thwarted we got there in the end!

"That triumph half a century ago is worth celebrating and I do hope the public of Swansea enjoy the celebrations.

"Swansea is celebrating 50 years as a city and we want them to be part of it.

We want to celebrate the people, places, events and businesses that have contributed to Swansea's history, particularly during the past 50 years.

"And we want to look forward to the many exciting developments planned for the city's future."

The bilingual banners are on display right now at the entrance to West Glamorgan Archives in Swansea Civic Centre. You can see them there from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday until the end of May. You can visit the Archives to find out more about this and other parts of the local history from Tuesday-Friday.

Further activity by West Glamorgan Archive Service for Swansea 50 includes the offer to schools of a teaching session all about the anniversary.


How Swansea became a city

Swansea first petitioned the Home Office for city status in 1911. It launched other campaigns in 1918 and 1935.

In the early 1960s, when the town centre had been rebuilt after wartime bombing, local councillors started to petition the Government again.

In 1967, Swansea's two MPs canvassed the Home Office that the upcoming investiture of the Prince Charles was the perfect time for Swansea to be made a city. 

Success came when the new Prince of Wales visited Swansea on July 3, 1969, and announced the news to the crowd on the steps of the Guildhall.

On December 15, he returned to Swansea to present the city charter at a ceremony in the Brangwyn Hall. Newspapers ran special editions, souvenirs were produced and children were given a day off school.

Swansea has grown since then - it's now the 25th largest in England and Wales and includes Gower and areas north of the urban fringe from Loughor to Clydach.

We are a more diverse population, equipped with skills some of which were not even imagined 50 years ago.  Students come here from all over the world to study at our two universities.

Swansea is now looking to build for the next 50 years.


Photo West Glamorgan Archives archivist David Morris, left, and archive trainee John Moffat with some of their Swansea 50 display panels which will be heading for city schools.




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