On this date…18th January 1934 – and the history of the Mumbles Press

The Mumbles Press reviewed the Swansea Little Theatre’s performance of The Way of the World. Dylan Thomas played the character of Witwould but his performance does not receive a special mention within the review. 

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The Mumbles Press was published every Thursday, and sold for one penny. It provided local news, natural history, religious notes and romantic serials. The boys who sold the paper were paid 1d per dozen sold.

The following is a piece by Sylvia Bagley about the newspaper, a fixture of Mumbles and Swansea life for many years until the mid 1930s. Her father was its founder C.E. Tucker.

“For over thirty years, the Mumbles Press was a key institution of Mumbles life. My father, Christopher ‘C.E.’ Tucker, was its founder and driving spirit. In 1956, when he retired, he was described as ‘the man who put Mumbles on the map’ and he worked tirelessly to promote the Mumbles that he loved.”

“He first set up a printing business in the Dunns, where Solo now stands. Then in 1903 he bought No 8 The Dunns. And for over thirty years, until 1936, he promoted Mumbles through the Mumbles Press. At the same time, with my mother, Florence, he ran a local shop for both residents and visitors, with all sorts of seaside materials, smokes – and his very own lending library.”

“He and my mother were married in 1912, and the Mumbles Press chronicles in detail the clothes and jewellery of the bride and the bridesmaids – and all the presents received, and from whom. It was a grand wedding, at Clyne Chapel, Blackpill. And the reception was at the the Ship & Castle Hotel, the site of the present-day Conservative Club. Among the family records is one of continuing interest to present-day Mumbles. In 1916, a young apprentice printer was indentured to my father, to receive 5 shillings for the first year, increasing by one shilling per year for seven years. It was one Richard Cottle, son of Charles Cottle – none other than the grandfather of Tony Cottle known in this generation as the ‘eyes and ears of Mumbles’, and still providing a printing service. Charles Cottle (Tony Cottle’s grandfather) was the last lighthouseman of Mumbles – a real character, who had a cat which could swim and catch fish… Richard did not complete his full seven-year training, and the Indenture was eventually cancelled.”

“The Mumbles Press was published every Thursday, and sold for one penny. It provided local news, natural history, religious notes and romantic serials. The boys who sold the paper were paid 1d per dozen sold.”

“My father was also a Councillor, a Member of Mumbles Urban District Council and was instrumental, following its closure, in getting a Branch Library established on the site. When the Urban District Council was abolished in 1923, and Mumbles came to be run by Swansea Corporation, he used to complain that there was much less local news to report.”

“The Corporation has not done a lot for the district’, he observed in 1956, ‘not as much as they should have. It was different in the old days when we had our own urban council. Things were a lot livelier…”

“He was also for many years a member of the Swansea Improvement Association, publicising the Mumbles area – though his view remained that ‘Mumbles does not properly cater for visitors…”

“The present City Council should think about that – while the Community Council does now try to address my father’s concerns about local interests, local colour and community identity.
My daughter Susan, who lives in Malvern, is carrying on the family tradition: she and her husband run a printing company there. My father would have been very proud to know that the family tradition is being maintained.”

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…17th January 1934

The editor of the South Wales Evening Post, J.D. Wiliiams reviewed the Swansea Little Theatre’s latest production. It was the 18th century William Congreve comedy, The Way of the World. Dylan is not mentioned in the review but is listed in the cast as ‘Witwould.’

In his review, J.D.W remarked, 

‘brilliant dialogue, the cynic touches, the epigrams hard as diamonds and as cruel as fate.’ This is not to say that he hadn’t found fault, he also commented that the players ‘are acquiring a set of mannerisms that too prominently identify them whatever their part. They need to find new graces with hands and shoulders.’ 

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…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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On this date…5th January 1935

Dylan’s friend and mentor Bert Trick writes to the editor of South Wales Evening Post hailing the rising young poet whilst attacking the lack of discussion generated since the release of Dylan’s first book 18 Poems by what he calls the ‘intelligentsia of Swansea.’ Trick asks the question, ‘are these cultural circles so moribund that they cannot see a new star in the literary firmament?’

‘Sir,- One can be pardoned for imagining that the paragraphs concerning the poems of Dylan Thomas, which have appeared in your columns, would have evoked a spate of correspondence from the intelligentsia of Swansea.
Are these cultural circles so moribund that they cannot see a new star in the literary firmament? Are they so cloyed with picking-over the cold coalitions of the academic school that they have no appetite for the red-blood and meat of the moderns?
Or is it due to a distrust of local talent, the phenomenon that compels native artists to assume foreign names to win recognition for their talents?
The early reviews of Dylan Thomas’s volume of eighteen poems have been not only commendatory, but, to a degree, eulogistic. He is regarded in the higher literary circles as the outstanding poet of the last decade, and it is true to say, as was quoted in your paragraph, that he has already outstripped the Eliot-Pound-Auden school, having wrought a technique entirely individual, which is at the same time in direct line of descent from Blake, Webster and Beddoes.’

A. E Trick
69, Glanbrydan avenue
Swansea

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On this date…1st January 1935

Dylan’s first book 18 Poems was mentioned in the ‘Gossip of the Day’ column in the South Wales Evening Post. 

 Mr. Dylan Thomas’s verse is now published and those who want to see what the most modern of poetry is like will be able to satisfy their curiosity in the eighteen poems given in the volume. Mr. Thomas is at the spearhead of the very latest movement. I committed a faux-pas the other day when, mistakingly I referred to him as the T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pounds and Auden school. “Eliot! Pounds! Auden!” the young man said in derision. “They are numbers in the poetical world.” – Poetry moves swiftly these days.


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!