The Sea

Swansea possesses a fascinating maritime history, from its Elizabethan river-side quay to its years as a popular seaside resort, attracting genteel, middle-class visitors to the town.

From its decision to forego this way of life in favour of a major role in the Industrial Revolution, to its creation of a port and dock system of such immense importance that the Luftwaffe tried to destroy it during the Second World War.

Swansea’s folk-history recalls the courage of the Cape Horners who took Welsh coal around the world in exchange for copper-ore to feed the industries back home.

Tales of smuggling and shipwrecks have been passed down the years, as has the heroism of the crews who volunteered to man the Mumbles Lifeboat. Marine artists and pioneer photographers have recorded these extraordinary times over the years.

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A seaside resort

Fishing

Docks and transport

Ships and seamen

Maritime painters and photographers

Swansea Jack

Walk around the waterfront

West Glamorgan Archive Service have produced a walking trail around Swansea’s SA1 area, moving from the Georgian architecture of Cambrian Place to the docks.  The guide can help you visualise the development of the docks and how they changed Swansea.  Read the online guide to Swansea’s Waterfront here.