Dylan Thomas in Swansea

Dylan Thomas was born in the front bedroom of the family home at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in the Uplands area of Swansea , on October 27th 1914. The house is located high on a hillside, with a view of chimney pots and the 'long and splendid curving shore' of the bay beyond.

He lived here for the first 20 years of his life, and it was in this house that Dylan wrote a large proportion of the poems that would make up his first three published collections, 18 Poems (1934), Twenty Five Poems (1936) and The Map of Love (1939).

He recorded the poems in a series of notebooks, the first of which he started in April 1930 (when he was fifteen-and-a-half), continuing the notebooks until 1934. 

And death shall have no dominion

On May 18, 1933, ‘And Death Shall have No Dominion’ was published in New English Weekly. This was Dylan’s first poem to be published outside Wales.

Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not
And death shall have no dominion

The following August (1933) Dylan made his first trip to London, visiting editors of literary magazines, and in November 1934 took lodgings at 5 Redcliffe Street, Earls Court, with friends from Swansea, the artists Fred Janes and Mervyn Levy.

Whilst frequently returning to his parents at Cwmdonkin Drive, Dylan quickly became a prominent figure in the bohemian pubs and clubs of Fitzrovia, Soho and Chelsea. [Read more ... ]

Cwmdonkin park

Dylan was inspired by leafy Cwmdonkin Park, which he described as a ‘world within the world of the sea town … full of terrors and treasures’. The park features in the 1939 short story, ‘Patricia, Edith and Arnold’ and in the July 1941 poem ‘The Hunchback in The Park’, inspired by a character he saw in his youth.

The hunchback in the park
A solitary mister
Propped between trees and water
From the opening of the garden lock
Until the Sunday sombre bell at dark

Eating bread from a newspaper
Drinking water from the chained cup
That the children filled with gravel
In the fountain basin where I sailed my ship
Slept at night in a dog kennel
But nobody chained him up. 

5 Cwmdonkin drive

After his parents moved out in 1937 the house was neglected and slowly began to fall into disrepair until acquired in the 1990s by Geoff and Annie Haden who set about painstakingly restoring the house to replicate how it would have looked in 1914 when the Thomas family lived here. 

To questions of why he restored the rapidly decaying house, Geoff Haden provides the spirited response "…because I'm mad - mad about Dylan's writings and mad that I didn't have the chance to restore the house sooner!"

Read more, including details of visiting times and events, at Dylan Thomas Birthplace.

dylan thomas in swansea

The Dylan Thomas Centre at Somerset Place, Swansea, houses a permanent exhibition and frequent events including the annual Dylan Thomas Festival in November.

There is also now a self-guided Dylan Thomas walking tour of Swansea available as an app. See details here 

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