In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Swansea like this:
Swansea.-- parl. and mun. borough, seaport, and par., Gower Peninsula, Glamorgan, at mouth of river Tawe, at its entrance into Swansea Bay, Bristol Channel, 32½ miles SW. of Merthyr Tydfil and 213 W. of London by rail - par., 6880 ac. and 1983 tidal water and foreshore, pop. 55,417; mun. bor. (extending into Llangafelach and Llansamlet pars.), 4363 ac., pop. 65,597; contributory parl. bor. (including a further portion of Llansamlet par.), 4777 ac.,pop. 73,971; parl. bor. (including the contributory bors. ...
of Aberavon, Kenfig, Loughor, Neath, and Swansea), 15,085 ac., pop. 100,590; 3 Banks, 5 newspapers. Market-days, Wednesday and Saturday. Swansea is called by the Welsh Abertawe, from its position at the mouth of the Tawe. Copperworks were first established in 1719, and Swansea is now the principal seat of the copper trade in the country; it possesses an abundant supply of coal for smelting, and copper ore is imported from all parts_ of the world. In addition to copper it has extensive mfrs. of tin-plate, iron, steel, zinc, alkali, and patent fuel. The harbour and docks are extensive and commodious, and there is an active trade with the principal British and Continental ports, coal and patent fuel being largely exported. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) One of the principal objects of interest is the massive tower of the castle, originally founded in 1099, and long garrisoned by the English and Flemish colonists who were settled in the peninsula of Gower. Swansea is the home of the Royal Institution of South Wales. It was chartered by John, and incorporated by Henry III. The Swansea Boroughs (Aberavon, Kenfig, Loughor, Neath, and Swansea) returned 1 member to Parliament till 1885. Swansea now returns 2 members to Parliament (2 divisions - viz., Swansea Town and Swansea District, 1 member for each div).
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Swansea has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Swansea. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Swansea and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Swansea in Glamorgan | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th August 2014
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