Page last updated at 09:53 GMT, Sunday, 5 July 2009 10:53 UK

Swansea marking city anniversary

Prince Charles annoucing Swansea's city status in 1969
Prince Charles made the announcement on the steps of the Guildhall on 3 July, 1969. Image: West Glamorgan Archive Service.

Events are being held in Swansea to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the announcement it was to become a city.

Just two days after his investiture at Caernarfon Castle, Prince Charles stood on the steps of the Guildhall on 3 July, 1969 to break the news.

Today's schoolchildren will bury time capsules while those born or wed on this day 40 years ago have been invited to functions with the Lord Mayor.

City status was officially granted five months later in December 1969.

Catherine Zeta Jones, Bonnie Tyler, Sir Harry Secombe and Dylan Thomas
1969: Catherine Zeta Jones was born
1973: The DVLC in Swansea introduces the yellow reflective number plate for vehicles for the first time
1977: The Queen opens the Swansea leisure centre
1978: The Quadrant shopping centre opens
1981: Swansea City FC promoted to football's First Division
1983: Bonnie Tyler reaches No 1 with Total Eclipse Of The Heart
1992: Swansea RFC beat world champions Australia at St Helen's
1995: Former US president Jimmy Carter opens The Dylan Thomas Centre as the city hosted its Year of Literature. Author Kingsley Amis dies
1997: Cult film Twin Town, set in Swansea, is released
2001: Entertainer Sir Harry Secombe dies
2003: Catherine Zeta Jones wins Best Supporting Actress Oscar
2005: The Liberty Stadium and the £33m National Waterfront Museum both open
2008: The Queen opens the refurbished leisure centre
2009: 2,510 people break the world record for being dressed as smurfs, at a city nightclub

Swansea-born musician, writer and broadcaster Mal Pope said while many aspects of the city -now regarded as the second Welsh city to the capital Cardiff - had changed during the past 40 years - much of its character remained the same.

"It's a city by name but a village by nature," he said.

"It's gone from being filled with hills barren from the waste of the copper industry to a green, self-confident city by the bay.

"It's known as the graveyard of ambition because people who come here never want to leave.

"But as someone once said about another great city - if you can make it there you don't care about making it anywhere else."

On Friday, babies born in Swansea will be given a silver coin specially minted by the Royal Mint to commemorate their birthday and the anniversary.

The West Glamorgan Archive Service has put together an online exhibition marking the day.

On 11 July, a freedom ceremony for 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Cavalry) including a march through the city centre will also be part of the celebrations.

For those reaching their 40th birthday or 40th wedding anniversary on Swansea's big day there will also be a series of garden parties being hosted by the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House.

So far 11 couples celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary between 3 July and 10 December, when city status was officially granted, have come forward to join in the events.

Lord Mayor Cllr Alan Lloyd said: "I am delighted to be Lord Mayor in such an important year in the city and we hope that this date will be celebrated by young and old."

Mal Pope will be broadcasting live from Swansea between 1900 and 2130 BST on BBC Radio Wales on 3 July.

We asked for your opinions on the best thing about Swansea as a city. Here are a selection of your responses.

I grew up in Swansea and stood proudly on the Kingsway as a scout, lining the way, when Her Majesty came to visit in 1977. Its definitely "my ugly, lovely town" as Dylan would say. My son and I are still avid Swansea City FC followers and we look forward to a new era in the promising hands of Paulo Sousa.
Paul Phillips, Horsham, England

I was 9 years old when Prince Charles came to Swansea and remember going to the Guildhall to watch him. The big black car drove past and we managed to get a glimpse. As a 9 yr old it was hard to imagine the significance of the occasion. I moved overseas with my family in '94 but my hiraeth runs strong! Happy Anniversary Swansea - I miss you!

Christine Stuart(nee Solomon), Sydney Australia

i moved to swansea 2 months ago and it is the best place ive ever lived. ive lived in places such as glasgow,newcastle,liverpool,cardiff and edinburgh and this place is by far the best. a good mix of historic old buildings as well as modern city buildings, great nightlife, great beach, a fantastic rich history of film, poetry, music and theatre and friendly people and a football and rugby club really going places. if my home city of edinburgh was even half as good as swansea i might never have left
graeme james , swansea,wales

"Swansea, oh Swansea, oh City, said I. I'll stand there on the North Bank until the day I die". I'm not old enough to remember the change from town to city but I have many happy memories of my beautiful, ugly hometown. Waving to the Queen when she opened the leisure centre (first time round) is just one of them. Having lived in various places, I'm now only a 50 minute drive away but the urge to go back is still there. The town centre seems to have become of late an experiment for eccentric town planners but they can't make a worse job of it that the Luftwaffe did.
Sara Williams, Cardiff, Wales

40 years? There's tidy. What I miss: The Big Apple in Limeslade, Joe's ice-cream, cricket at St Helen's, lack of traffic, the Dylan Thomas Theatre. What I don't: rough nightclubs, the bus station, two-lane motorway full of Sunday drivers, being three hours from London, oh those flat Swansea vowels
Steve, in exile in the Midlands

I spent my teenage years in Swansea and it was the best time ever - hanging out in Mumbles, Llangennith, Caswell Bay etc. Have never understood the bad reviews it sometimes gets.Very happy memories indeed. I would move back if I could....
Deborah, Bristol

A pleasant city, bit baffled by some of the planning aspects, to me the beach is one of the city's best assets but it isnt used to its full potential. Also how does Zeta Jones's oscar qualify get on the list?
Phillip Jones, Horsham

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary, Swansea. I've visited you three times, lured first by a search for the essense of Dylan Thomas. Later by two lovely friends who live in Mumbles. Each time, I'm tempted to stay, longer or maybe forever.
Carol Jeffery, Swanzey, New Hampshire, USA


stephanie , london

Swansea is a big university town with nearly twenty thousand students making up nearly ten percent of the population so it stays lively. that combined with its natural pull as a tourist destination keep Swansea very vibrant city.
Jon Ayers, Swansea

I traveled to and stayed in Swansea many times over the years for work. What a wonderful city, amazingly friendly people and beautiful beaches. I spent many days and weekends there on business trips, far from my home and family but the delightful people never failed to cheer and charm with their friendly personalities. Congratulations Swansea...a great place to be.

Alex, Komoka, CANADA

Being born and bred in Swansea, I can shamefully say it does not feel like a city anymore and should lose its city status unless it can revamp its city centre with vibrant shops and create descent high paying jobs so graduated would be forced to work/relocate elsewhere and improve the 3rd world railway service which takes a disgraceful 1hr to go to Cardiff and an outrageous 3-4 hours to reach London Paddington.I guess the only positive thing Swansea has now got is its univeristy, and has thus being a Student City.
Abdul, Swansea

Having travelled to Swansea and lived in Wales for a number of years I remember in the 60's it was on the verge of being developed. The Mumbles was changed forever when they did away with the pre-fab houses used during the war and put in place ugly concrete boxes. I remember the quadrant being built and how glizty it was and living in the country it was 'the place to go' as a teenager. Swansea when I went back in the mid 90's had grown up and the optimism it had during that time seemed to have levelled out. I hope that if I ever go back to Swansea again, I can take my family on tour around the sites I knew when I was a child and have the same enthusiasm for the unspoiled way Swansea was at that time.
Karen, North Battleford, Saskatchewan

Print Sponsor

Swansea: Lovely or ugly town?
26 Nov 04 |  South West Wales


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific