Dylan Thomas was born in the upstairs bedroom of 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in the Uplands area of Swansea. The house is located high on a hillside, with a view of chimney pots and the arc of the bay beyond.
The house has now been restored to its condition in 1914 when it was bought by the Thomas Family, and is now open to visitors; see details at Dylan Thomas Birthplace.
Whilst living here, in his late teens, he wrote about two-thirds of his entire poetic output and many short stories.
He 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.
Dylan Thomas attended a private school at 22 Mirador Crescent, where he was taught by a Mrs Hole in ‘the lonely schoolroom where only the sometimes tearful wicked sat over undone sums’ and Swansea Grammar School from 1925-31, where his father was an English master.
He left at 16 to work as a reporter for the South Wales Daily Post, now Swansea Evening Post, becoming a regular at local pubs such as the Uplands Tavern. In December 1932 he joined Swansea’s Little Theatre.
On May 18 1933 'And Death Shall Have No Dominion' was published in New English Weekly – his first poem to be published outside Wales.
In August he 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 ... ]
Dylan Thomas Centre
The Dylan Thomas Centre at Somerset Place, Swansea, houses a permanent exhibition and frequent events including the annual Dylan Thomas Festival in November.