Photographer’s unusual Swansea images revealed after being gifted to archive
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
They are everyday scenes of Swansea and also those unusual ones when something unexpected trundles down the street.
Like an elephant, or a supersonic car.
These photographs are an excerpt from a collection from the 1960s onwards which has been donated to the Swansea-based West Glamorgan Archive Service.
They include a circus parade in the 1970s, shoppers on the junction of College Street and High Street with FW Woolworth in the background, and crowds celebrating Swansea City’s promotion to the old First Division in May 1981.
They are among many items which are gifted to the archive service every year.
County archivist Kim Collis said he was particularly pleased with the photographic collection, which was courtesy of published photographer Derek Gabriel.
“We are absolutely delighted to receive more photographs of Swansea to add to our collections and these albums created by Mr Gabriel show how everyday Swansea street scenes, which most of us would never think of recording, acquire interest through the passage of time,” said Mr Collis.
Time has certainly moved on for the old Woolworth building, which more latterly was an Argos store.
Other archive deposits in recent months include First World War diaries, photographs of soldiers of 248 Battery stationed at Blackpill during the Second World War, slides taken by Afan Camera Club of the Passion Play staged in Port Talbot, and a programme about the the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to the borough of Neath in 1937.
Swansea is changing, like many other towns and cities, but it is those images of ordinary life that many people gravitate to, according to historian and author Gerald Gabb.
“Undoubtedly,” he said. “If you go on social media there are lots of them.
“In Swansea there is a whole series of photographic books by David Roberts which came out every year at Christmas, and sold very well.”
Mr Gabb, of Swansea, and a member of the Royal Institution of South Wales, said: “It’s that sort of history that ordinary people really tend to be into.”
He added that the FW Woolworth building used to be the Cameron Hotel.
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