First impressions

I first saw inside 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in October 2003 when the house was open to visitors during the Dylan Thomas Festival on the 50th anniversary of his death.

At the time the house was leased to City and County of Swansea. As I walked up to the door I didn’t really know what to expect. The outside had the same drab, down at heel look as it done for many years before.

Inside it was much the same. This was a student bedsit house with that unloved look of thousands of houses in Mount Pleasant, the Uplands and Brynmill. A little had been done to show that the middle room was Dylan’s father’s study and in the back bedroom – by common mythology ‘Dylan’s bedroom’ – had a bed (without mattress) and chair to go with the white painted cast iron fireplace.

Elsewhere there were rooms with pale blue 70s fitted carpets, grey plastic tables and chairs and a computer desk! 

It was clear that the city fathers were happier pouring millions into the Dylan Thomas Centre – a refurbishment of the first Guildhall which Dylan would never have visited – than a few thousand into the place where it all happened, the house of inspiration that inspired the young poet and author to produce 2/3rds of his published work.

It was a lack of respect that troubled me for a number of years but one that was to provide me and my wife Anne with the biggest challenge of our lives – but we had to wait nearly two years for our opportunity

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