I had gone to Swansea to give couple of lectures, one to the first year students as part of the bank’s outreach programme to first year students and the second was to the MBA students. Its a pretty good time, love to interact with the students, but Swansea as a city leaves a bit to be desired. Anyway, here are my photographs from the trip.
While on the train platform at Cardiff, I noticed the name of the brewery across the road. Brains. That’s it, i knew nobody could defeat the UK when it can brew brains in a brewery! :).
I reached Swansea around 0950 hours, about 20 minutes early so thought of taking a walk around the train station to see the sights. The weather wasn't as good, it was damp and wet. Perhaps standard for the city but it didn't help the feeling that Swansea had seen better days. Given that first time visitors would see Swansea when they come out of the train station and then would see this rather tired, crumbling set of streets and buildings, I was surprised that the city council hasn't done something about it.
Here’s the church. Interesting structure, quite small.
The first was this rather nice church. Looked like it was Greek Orthodox from the language of the notice.
Nice autumnal walk up into the back of the church.
The graves were well maintained and the carved gravestone lettering was still quite clearly legible.
Nice railings as well.
Here’s the walkway back down to the street.
Then few feet up was perfection!
Selling wedding dresses. I found the entire scenario and situation very depressing. The irony of calling the shop as perfection, in front of a dingy street, with crumbling buildings selling stuff to celebrate such a joyful occasion such as a wedding? Sad.
Then comes the Palace Theatre. This is a building with a good distinguished history. At that time of construction, the place was apparently top of the pile and the road was called as Prince of Wales Road.
And this is supposed to be a Grade II Listed Building. Which means that it cannot be torn down and replaced with flats. It can only be allowed to crumble away. I never understand this concept in the UK. You stick a listing on top of a building but there is no other help. If anybody wants to do something with it, they are ripped off by having to replace it exactly as it was originally. Its bureaucracy gone mad. There should be a statute of limitations. If it hasnt been sold after say 3 years, then its rezoned or reclassified, bring it down and then do something else with it. This is just simply destroying rest of the value of the street.
At this moment, apparently its up for auction for £250,000 but nobody is purchasing it. I guess nobody wants to touch it with a barge pole.
Sir Anthony Hopkins seems to have made his first professional stage appearance here way back in 1960. Even the road sign is all manky and looks leprous. The windows are boarded up. Handsome building but looking horrible.
What a sad sight. With weeds growing out of the top of the lintel and also on the top. You can just imagine how imposing this entrance would have been in its heyday. But now? the facade is crumbling. The rusting iron nails are exposed, the covering seems to have dropped away.
General miserable sight on the front door. Somebody managed to get inside and take some good pics here.
If you want to get some architectural details on this building, then click here.
A group seems to have been formed to protect and renew this building. There’s the map from the site shown above. Quite an interesting architectural plan, eh? I went on walking a bit more.
A great list of documents relating to this church is here.
The churchyard has not been maintained at all.
From the front, they seem to be doing some repairs to the building. But the portico just does not suit the building at all. Again, the looming weather with grey clouds doesnt really do Swansea any favours.
Looking up over the hill
The Swansea bus service. The sheer perkiness of the colours, Purple and Orange and the buses are very eye catching, specially when you compare it with the general dinginess around the place.
Somebody is taking the mickey. Salvation is nigh? With a McDonalds burger? Blasphemy!
Time was getting on, so I wanted to head back into the train station and catch a taxi to the university when this road sign caught my eye. Ebenezer Street leading to the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Looks like this was a hotbed of Baptists here. Here’s the history of this church. I quote from this page:
The area surrounding Ebenezer has also seen some dramatic changes with rundown commercial properties being replaced with blocks of flats. The potential for outreach is great, but there are real problems. In the past we have visited these flats and we thank God for the contacts made, yet so many are now securely closed to casual callers. We find ourselves like the apostle praying, literally, for an 'open door' to reach those who live on our doorstep.
A rather sad indictment of this general area. I tell you, it did depress me..i took off post haste. But I promise you, its much better during summer..I think. Here’s the full slide show.