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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 March, 2005, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
Museum recreates Swansea's blitz
Fiery shell of Ben Evans department store (West Glamorgan Archive Service)
A blaze at Ben Evans department store after a bombing raid
A museum telling the story of life in Swansea during World War II has been opened by twin brothers.

The exhibition, 1940s Swansea Bay, focuses on the three-night blitz of the town in February 1941, as well as ordinary people on the home front.

Visitors can follow the course of RAF bombers, take cover during an air raid and walk along a reconstructed street.

John and Huw Thomas said visitors would also be given the chance to try on authentic clothes and helmets.

It took the brothers three years to put together the museums exhibits, which include rations books, gas masks and military uniforms from the period.

A collection of black and white photos, taken around and above Swansea before and after the bombing and provided by the West Glamorgan Archive Service, show the devastation it caused.

Aerial picture of Swansea (West Glamorgan Archive Service)
This old picture shows bomb damage in central Swansea
Houses, shops, a war operations room, railway station, air raid shelter and event a pub have been mocked up to help visitors feel like they are living in the 1940s.

Huw Thomas said: "This is not a museum of glass cases and 'do not touch' signs.

"We want people to get a real glimpse of life at the time through the displays, and we even encourage them to try on authentic clothes."

His brother, John, said they wanted to attract people 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," he added.

The permanent exhibition, 1940s Swansea Bay, is at Elba Crescent, Crymlyn Burrows on the outskirts of the city.

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