Vernon Watkins blue plaque
Dedicated to the influential poet
Location of plaque: 77 St. Helen's Road, Swansea - now a betting shop.
Of the two great poets this city has produced, Vernon Watkins (1906 - 1967) lived vastly the more conventional life. He worked at a branch of Lloyds Bank as a teller for 38 years of his life between 1928 - 1966. This branch of Lloyds is now, somewhat ironically, a betting shop. The stability and structure provided by banking hours gave him the platform for a life in poetry.
His great friend and fellow Kardomah boy Dylan Thomas seems like the obverse side of the same coin who relished the completely opposite way of life. As a result Vernon Watkins more conventional existence has not captured the public's imagination in the same way which is a shame - but does not eclipse the magic or quality of his poetry.
In his lunch hour he would walk down St. Helen's Road to Lovell's café down near the YMCA and seek a quiet table at the back where he could eat a sandwich and read poetry. His role as a teller at the bank would not permit a boozy lunch hour in the pub and nor would he have wanted one.