If you want to see Swansea as it was known by the many Dinas mariners who were apprenticed to masters from that port, have a look at a copy of ‘Finden’s Views of the Ports, Harbours, Coast Scenery and Watering Places of Great Britain’. The engravings and commentary date from the late 1830s and early 1840s.
As might be expected from the date of the publication, the author was much concerned with the dangers of a mariner’s life. There are numerous engravings and discussions of ship wrecks, life boat design (the RNLI had just been founded in 1824) and light houses. The commentary on the Mumbles rocks includes a plea:
The number of ships lost or driven ashore, in 1833, amounted to eight hundred. It is probable, then, that the annual loss by shipwreck is not much short of a million sterling. If one fifth of this loss could be prevented by additional lighthouses, the saving of money would amount to a million in five years, – to say nothing of the still more important saving in human life. We are anxious – not on the store of economy only, but of humanity – to place these lamentable facts before the eyes of Government, from whose hands the mitigation at least, if not the removal, of such disaster is confidently expected.
Volume 1 and volume 6 of ‘Finden’s Views’ (both smelling very strongly of coal dust) are on sale at Oxfam Wilmslow.