University of Leicester
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Seaport, society and smoke : Swansea as a place of resort and industry c.1700 to c.1840

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:44 authored by Charles Robert. Anthony
This thesis seeks to examine the process of development of Swansea from Norman planted town, with a market and a harbour, to an industrial centre and port of international significance. It will consider the impact of industrial and commercial growth on the infra structure of the medieval settlement, and the pressures and stresses on life in the town arising out of the influx of a largely Welsh-speaking body of immigrants in search of work. It is argued that Swansea was special in the Welsh urban context, because of the strategies it was forced to develop at the end of the eighteenth century to cope with enforced change, and also because of its multifunctional nature. Additionally, the town is of considerable interest because of the presence of two apparently conflicting functions - industry and resort - the interaction between which may illuminate the relative importance of each. These issues are approached in this thesis as follows. First, an attempt is made at estimating the rate of growth of the population of Swansea from about 1700 (the consequence of economic and industrial development) and the proportion and provenance of immigrants. Secondly, the motivation of those leaving the land and the difficulties awaiting them in a Swansea ill-equipped to receive them are examined, as are the strategies adopted by the town to assimilate them. Next, the incidence of disease and causes of death in conditions of urban overcrowding, or food shortage, are investigated. Lastly, a modest evaluation of the appearance and economy of the town, and its marketing strategy, is attempted through an examination of contemporary plans, pictures, topographies and trade directories and these sources are considered in the wider context of an emerging consciousness during the eighteenth century of the culture, language and history of Wales.


Date of award


Author affiliation

Urban History

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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