The Historical Association
Swansea Branch

Travels in the Valleys
by Robert McCloy

Here is the illustrated story of the neglected but ubiquitous bus in the half-century following the First World War, told not through rose-tinted glasses but by an ex-council chief executive seeking to put the record straight. The focus is south Wales’s largest towns, whose councils generally succeeded in their stewardship of public transport.
As a moving barrage, attention first fixes upon Merthyr Tydfil in depression, when the bus helped to make life tolerable by providing cheap mobility. Then to wartime Swansea where, amidst blitz and debris, the bus sustained essential movement. Thence to Cardiff in post-war austerity where, in the absence en masse of car and television, passenger numbers peaked as the population travelled to more widely-dispersed employment and recreation. Lastly, the focus is on Newport in ‘prosperity’, with the car usurping the bus, as equity of provision, of a sort, yielded to economy, of a sort.
Throughout, mincing state regulation is castigated as malign, except in wartime austerity. The popular calumny of councillors suborning officers is challenged. The stringencies of war are shown to have produced benefits to which an environmentally-concerned age can only aspire.
The bus helped to change society. For good, it provided freedom of movement; and for bad (possibly), compromised local communities with their hitherto relatively stable institutions of chapel, local amenities and confined social networks.

Historical Association Swansea Branch, paperback,
ISBN 978-0-9574178-0-9.
Available at all HA events and at selected outlets.
Or order direct from:
John Ashley,
The Historical Association,
6 Cefn Glas, Tycoch, Swansea, SA2 9GW.
£12.99 plus £2.50 p&p, delivery 2–3 days.
Cheques and cash only; cheques payable to
The Historical Association, Swansea Branch.

In 2012, the Swansea Branch of the Historical Association was asked by Swansea City & County Council to provide tour guides for the castle’s open days in September of that year. The branch was happy to do so, providing, over a very busy weekend at the castle, not only tour guides but also administrative staff, all leading to a very informative and pleasurable experience for visitors, much to the satisfaction of the City & County Council. The consequent remarks from visitors to the castle were especially favourable, so much so that the the Historical Association’s Swansea Castle Group felt that the castle should receive far greater publicity than it had hitherto gained. To that end, this audiobook, written and read by Colin Wheldon James and produced by Pastoral Audiobooks in collaboration with the Swansea Branch of the Historical Association, is the first step. The current audiobook is the second edition.

The Story of Swansea Castle

An audiobook produced by Pastoral Audiobooks

in conjunction with the Swansea Branch of the Historical Association