Swansea, officially known as the City and County of Swansea, is a city and county on the south coast of Wales. The city has a population of over 239,000 making it the second largest city in Wales after the capital, Cardiff. Swansea is in fact the twenty-sixth largest city in the United Kingdom and is situated next to the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan on the beautiful south west Wales coast.
During its industrial heyday, Swansea was a key centre of the copper industry, often being associated with the nickname ‘Copperopolis’ in the 19th century.
When visiting Swansea, be sure to bring a raincoat with you as the Met Office rank it as the wettest city in Britain. But don’t let that steer you away from one of the UK’s most picturesque cities, because during midsummer, Swansea’s temperatures can soar into the high twenties Celsius.
Swansea was once called Sweins ey, which means Swein’s island. The island stood in the mouth of the River Tawe. Who Swein was is not known for sure but he may have been a Norseman who built a fort on the island about 1000 AD and used it as a base for raiding the Welsh coast.
The town of Swansea was founded in the early 12th century when the Normans conquered the area. The Norman lord built a wooden castle on the site of Worcester Place. A town soon grew up by the castle. The garrison of Swansea castle provided a market for the people of the town and all their goods. Many of the townspeople were English immigrants. Around 1158, Swansea was given a charter and King John gave Swansea another charter in 1215.
Additional information on Newry can be found on the City and County of Swansea website and Swansea Council Twitter.
Representation in the media
Swansea has been used as a location for films such as Only Two Can Play, Submarine and Twin Town, the TV series Mine All Mine and in episodes of Doctor Who.
Swansea was the first city in Wales to feature in its own version of the board game Monopoly. The Swansea edition of Monopoly features 33 local landmarks and has been produced in both English and Welsh.
Catherine Zeta-Jones CBE, actress
Bonnie Tyler, singer
Chris Coleman, former footballer and current Welsh National team manager
Rob Brydon MBE, comedian, actor and presenter
WWII bombing flattened much of central Swansea, which was rebuilt as a rather soulless retail development in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. What little remains of Georgian and Victorian Swansea stretches from Wind St and York St to Somerset Pl and Cambrian Way in the Maritime Quarter; this is the most attractive part of the city centre.
The Mumbles have been Swansea’s seaside retreat since 1807, when the Oystermouth Railway was opened. Built for transporting coal, the horse-drawn carriages were soon converted for paying customers, and the Mumbles train became the first passenger railway service in the world. Newly fashionable in recent years, with top-notch restaurants competing for trade along the promenade, the Mumbles got a huge boost to its reputation when its most famous daughter, Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, built a £2 million luxury mansion at Limeslade, on the south side of the peninsula.