Poet’s childhood reopens for the public
Dylan Thomas, one of the 20th century’s most influential poet’s is being commemorated today as childhood home opens to the public for the first time.
On what would have been the celebrated Welsh writer’s 94th birthday, the semi-detached house at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea where he was born is opening its doors following restoration.
Geoff and Anne Haden are the couple responsible for returning the home to its former glory, reflected what it would have looked like in 1924. It was no mean feat for the pair who have spent three years on the project.
Guests visiting the house will see period furniture, household items (including an antique cast-iron toilet) and be given a newspaper of the times. Mod cons like telephones, television and a fridge-freezer have been purposefully excluded.
According to Mrs Haden the house is not just a museum but it also has a another function; as an ‘experiential self-catering holiday home’.
She continued: “The property was lost to the local area for a few years. It had been leased to students and was in a very sad state.
“We felt Dylan hadn’t been fully acknowledged by Swansea, so took the house on as soon as the lease came up.”
It’s a lovely house. We’ve matched the colour of the original plaster, to keep it as original as we can.”
I think it’s stunning. Every morning when I come in, it hits me with something else.”
On 8 November, Dylan Thomas’s daughter Aeronwy will become the first person to stay at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive since the refurbishment.
Upon the opening to the general public young poetry fans will be able to discussion Dylan Thomas’ work in his father’s study, a room in which he spent much of his time with his own friends as a teenager.
There are also plans for Dylan Thomas themed events for the house.
Jo Furber, a previous tenant and representative of the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, which houses a permanent exhibition on the poet’s life and achievements, said: “I think the restoration is great. It adds to the Dylan Thomas experience.
“People can visit the centre, but this now gives them another way of understanding his work.
“So much of his early work was written there and inspired by the local area – part of A Child’s Christmas in Wales is set in the living room.
“It was certainly one of his favourite places.”
To hear Thomas recite his own ‘In My Craft or Sullen Art’, an impeccable example of his work, click below:
Words: Dean Samways