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Former “Cricketers”

Former “Cricketers”

Nothing sums up my Gafnu Cymuned:Hollowed Community project more than the sight of The Cricketers public house now shut and boarded up. It is just across the road from the St Helens Rugby and Cricket ground where sport has been played for over 140 years. On 19 June 1928 the ground was the venue of a mile race, for Swansea Grammar School’s Sports Day, won by a teenage Dylan Thomas; he carried a newspaper photograph of his victory with him until his death. Seven years later, Swansea RFC defeated the New Zealand 11-3 at St Helen’s, becoming the first club side to beat the All Blacks.

A famous cricketer, Gary Sobers, once hit six sixes in a row, in one over, during a cricket match in the nearby St Helens cricket ground in 1968. The final ball of the six sixes supposedly sailed through the air and crashed through the window of the Cricketers pub. In later years this great sporting feat was commemorated with a cricket ball drawn in the window that the ball supposedly crashed through all those years ago.

Sadly, an important piece of local and international history, has been bulldozed by the march of Swansea University. Now this window is boarded up and like much local history rubbed out by the advancement of student houses (HMOs) and the student ghettoisation of Brynmill and Uplands. Its rather curious, that despite being surrounded by students in Bryn Road and King Edwards Road, that this pub was not a viable business. A rather telling piece of evidence against those who always claim that more students bring more money to the city. They didn’t bring enough money to this local business.

Recently, stories have appeared in the local press claiming that discarded needles have been found around the back of the pub. These claims have been fiercely rejected by locals who see the newspaper reports as fake news planted by the developers, in order to strengthen their case for another massive HMO. I don’t think Dylan Thomas would have approved of the passing of this historic pub.

Newspaper cutting of Young Dylan Thomas’s triumph at St Helen’s

6 thoughts on “Former “Cricketers”

  1. Your paintings are so evocative. I am pretty sure that this spot is just around the corner from where my daughter lived as a student (in the pink house in Bryn Road). She loved it there and these are such happy images. Ceri

    1. Thank you – yes, its just round the corner from Bryn Road. Did she live in the Shocking Pink house? If so , I know that one by sight. Bryn Road has become a lot more colourful in recent years! I am glad your daughter enjoyed her time at Swansea University.

  2. Yes, studentification is an issue around there and I too wondered why the Cricketers was not thronged with students – I think that Tesco and others selling beer so much more cheaply than in the pubs is one of the causes. Students do bring money into an area but not necessarily into the tills of the very local businesses unfortunately. I never heard of any drugs related goings on there either (but the corner of Brunswick Street where she also lived – that’s another matter). My father was at Swansea as a student in the 1950s and remembers the sports ground fondly. And that Bryn Road was the upmarket home of the professors, including for a time one Kingsley Amis. Ceri

    1. Fancy that – I didn’t know Amis had lived in Bryn Road. I think he drank in many of the local pubs (probably the ones that Dylan Thomas didn’t drink in). Yes, I think that Brunswick Street may well have has more drug related problems than Brynmill. The Sports Ground is still there and used for Cricket, Rugby and the annual fireworks display. I love the fact that most of Swansea doesn’t pay to see the display but stands on the prom across the road opposite and watch for free. Many of students have camp fires on the beach afterward (weather permitting, of course).

  3. Light source, contour, highlights, and transitions are all on point. The color choice is strong, too. The muted pinks and greens contrast against a vibrant sky. My favorite detail is the upper-window of the green house, you can see the light bending through the window and illuminating the dark-tan wall.

    1. Thank you – I think details can make a picture. Paradoxically, I decided not to include many details (e.g. of brickwork) in this series of painting but the windows are an exception. They are the eyes of the buildings. I love the reflections and curtains!

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