brothers have opened a museum – recreating the blitz in Swansea
Bay. The exhibition, called 1940s Swansea Bay, focuses on the three-night
bombing raid of the south Wales city in February 1941, and shows
what being at war meant for ordinary people on the home front.
Dylan Thomas wrote about Swansea after the bombing
raid in his broadcast: “Return Journey.” Much of Swansea
was destroyed, with the only street in the city centre left more
or less intact being Wind Street. Visitors to the attraction 1940s
Swansea Bay can imagine for themselves what it was like to live
then, by taking cover during an air raid, and walking along a reconstructed
street. They can also track the course of RAF bombers.
Brothers John and Huw Thomas, who opened the
attraction in 2005, said visitors could also try authentic clothes
and helmets on. Houses, shops, a war operations room, railway station,
air raid shelter and a pub have been created to help kick start
the imagination of visitors. Huw Thomas said: "This is not
a museum of glass cases and 'do not touch' signs.”
The brothers want people to get a glimpse of life at the time through
the displays, and think the museum appeals to visitors of all ages.
"People who are old enough to remember the 1940s can share
their recollections with us, whilst children and their parents are
amazed at the heavy weight of many of the clothes and army helmets,"
Collating the exhibition took the brothers three
years. Black and white photos, showing the city before and after
the bombing have been provided by the West Glamorgan Archive Service.
Short films and displays show how local people coped with the devastation.
Also on display are rations books, gas masks and military uniforms.
The museum brings history alive and is ideal for children studying
the war in history lessons... What was it like to live then? And
what was on the menu? You can ‘enjoy’ a spam sandwich
and a camp coffee in the shop.
Further information may be obtained from the
Swansea Bay Museum website.