Dylan Thomas Birthplace carries Welsh hopes at top heritage awards.

The Birthplace of Dylan Thomas in Uplands, Swansea is the only Welsh heritage attraction shortlisted for a prestigious Hudson’s Heritage Award with the outcome being announced at a presentation lunch on Tuesday 14th March in Goldsmith’s Hall in London.

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The house which has been restored to its condition as a new house when bought by the Thomas family in 1914 is not only up for an award for the Best Accommodation but also for the Best New Discovery Award.

Geoff Haden, the chair of the Dylan Thomas Society, restored the house and now runs it as a tourist attraction and a unique place to stay overnight and soak up the atmosphere of a place where Dylan lived for 23 years says “This recognition is a tribute to our volunteers and staff who have turned this iconic building into a ‘must visit’ destination for groups and individuals and put this important family home on the literary and cultural map.”

The independent Hudson’s Awards were started in 2011 by publisher Norman Hudson to celebrate the high quality experience enjoyed by visitors to a range of heritage attractions and this year there are ten categories.

In the Best Accommodation category the Birthplace is up against Shropshire duo Western Park and Combermere Abbey as well as Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland while vying for the Best New Discovery with the Birthplace are Blenheim Palace, Eltham Palace and the RHS Lindley Library.

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

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On this date…23rd January 1932

The Herald of Wales ran an article entitled Tragedy of Swansea’s Comic Genius by its junior reporter Dylan Thomas. Dylan looked at the life of Llewelyn Prichard, poet, artist and actor. Prichard was perhaps best known for creating many tales around the Welsh ‘Robin Hood’ figure from Welsh folklore, ‘Twm Shon Catti’

Dylan’s opening lines were eerily self prophetic…

“No one can deny that the most attractive figures in literature are always those around whom a world of lies and legend has been woven, those half mythical artists whose real characters become cloaked forever under a veil of the bizarre.”

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Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

On this date…12th January 1935

An in depth review of Dylan’s 18 Poems appeared in the Herald of Wales newpaper. Reviewer, A. Spencer Vaughan-Thomas B.A. (Oxon) wrote…

‘No one can read his work without feeling that here is a poet magnificently equipped to achieve great things.’

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Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

On this date…12th January 1935

The Onlooker of the Herald of Wales drew attention to its former staff member, Dylan Thomas’ new book 18 Poems. Dylan’s previous articles from 1932 on the poets of Swansea and the responses that were garnered from the late classicist, James Chapman Woods were also mentioned. The ‘Onlooker’ hypothesised how Woods would now view the modern approach of this rising, young, local poet.

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Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

On this date…11th January 1935

A highly complimentary review of Dylan’s first published book Eighteen Poems appeared in The Swansea Review section of the Swansea & West Wales Guardian newspaper.
This seems to be the first instance where the book was reviewed in a Welsh periodical.

The reviewer, “20th CENTURY” says of Dylan…

‘Modern poets fall into two categories, those who are the creatures of their age, and those who are it’s creators. In the latter group we find Auden, Spender and Dylan Thomas. It is a fault of both Auden and Spender, that having perfected their technique as poets, they strain themselves to become perfect media for propaganda. Dylan Thomas is too much the artist to allow politics to bemuse his muse. One knows instinctively his politics are correct, but they hover like a faint perfume above the lines of his poetry; they neither intrude or obtrude.’

He closes with…

‘Mr. Thomas is doing with poetry much the same as James Joyce did with prose. He is making a new language, not a Joyce did by making numerous languages to produce an illegitimate literary off-spring, but hammering new meaning into old worlds and phrases; crowning backs with the alchemy of his essentially poetic imagination.

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Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

 

On this date…10th January 1935

An advert in the South Wales Evening Post gives mention that the first book of poems by Swansea’s Dylan Thomas entitled 18 Poems, will be reviewed in its sister paper the Herald of Wales.

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Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

On this date…9th January 1935

The Listener of the Gossip of the Day column of the South Wales Evening Post talks of a conversation they have had with author Richard Hughes about young Swansea poet Dylan Thomas.

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Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

On this date…9th January 1932

An article entitled The Poets of Swansea appeared in the Herald of Wales Swansea weekly newspaper. Author of the piece, 18 year old junior reporter Dylan Thomas examines the lives of the Swansea literati. The young man also writes poetry. He hopes to one day feature among this impressive list.

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Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

On this date…7th January 1933

Whilst working as a junior reporter Dylan had an interesting article entitled ‘Genius and Madness Akin in World of Art’ published in the South Wales Evening Post.

In his piece he examines the lifestyles and character ‘kinks’ of many prominent figures in history and the present day. At the end of the article he poses the question ‘Who would be a genius after all?’

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Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

Dylan and the whiskered beast of Pwlldu.

At about this time in early January 1934 it is believed that Dylan wrote the following piece detailing a close encounter with a furry ‘beast’ at the beautiful cove of Pwlldu, Gower.

he recounted to Pamela Hansford Johnson…

“I was sitting in the porch of the Pwlldu Inn on a cold, sunny afternoon, eating an unnaturally large sandwich and sipping at a quart mug-both sandwich and mug were almost as large as me. In the midst of my meal I heard a loud stamping (that is the only honest word to describe it), and, looking up, saw a rat immediately in front of me, his eyes fixed on mine. A rat? This was a rat with a capital R, a vast iron-grey animal as big as a cat, with long, drooping whiskers and a tail like an old frayed whip. Normally I am frightened to death by rats, even by mice, and certainly by moths, but this monstrosity of a creature did not alarm me at all. He couldn’t move quickly anyway, he was much too fat. He merely stood there in front of me until I threw him a piece of cheese. He sniffed it, swallowed it, and stamped away. Again ‘stamped’ is the only word: he went away like a fat old soldier from a canteen.Thinking of him when he had gone, I came to the conclusion that he must be the Father of all Rats, the First Rat, the Rat Progenitive, the Rat Divine.”

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*The Inn that he refers to is likely to have been the ‘Beaufort Arms’ which is the building just right of centre in the photograph.*