Friday, 13 July 2012


There is no documentary evidence that Lowry ever visited Swansea. The Pyrrhus sailed from Swansea to Birkenhead Docks on the 7th May 1927 having been in the port since May 1st 1927. There is no record that Lowry signed on to the ship until it docked in Birkenhead.

He refers to the port in his short story 'Port Swettenham'; "..and it was Norman who adopted the bird which had upon it an explicable message from Swansea." (Pg. 22). This story of Norman's pigeon re-emerges in Lowry's first novel Ultramarine; "It had round its leg a message which no one could understand, for the one word decipherable was "Swansea"." (Pg.27); "It cannot come from Swansea though, that's plain enough," chattered Norman. "It's on the other side of the world." (Pg. 27); "I wonder why it had a message from Swansea round its leg. It makes you think, that, doesn't it? In the Yellow Sea." (Pg. 33) and  “I had the time of my life in Swansea once. I was playing football down there,” smiled Hilliot reminiscently, “and afterwards we all went round the town, well you know how it goes.” (Pg. 33); "He might as well be back in Liverpool - or Swansea!" (Pg. 36); "You don't know Swansea, by any chance-" (Pg. 50); "Then were standing on the wharf, looking up at the soaring stern of the S.S. Leeway from Swansea...." (Pg. 101) and "It came from Swansea". (Pg. 109). Lowry also makes reference to Swansea Jail in his short story 'On Board The West Hardaway'.

Above is a photo view of Kings Dock and Lock Entrance, Swansea Docks : Great Western Railway 8th March 1932 - inc. S.S. Philoctetes.

Kings Dock, no.3 Quay G.W.R 13 March 1930.
Above 2 photos courtesy of Swansea Libraries - Llyfrgelloedd Abertawe

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