Photos - Mumbles and Southend

These photographs taken in Mumbles, invite us to gaze into the world of our ancestors.

Victorian Mumbles, by Harvey Barton, c1880

Taken from an album by Victorian photographer Harvey Barton (1833 - 1912) this photograph shows the old Mumbles foreshore, with some of the many Oyster Skiffs which operated from the Horsepool Harbour. The first building on the seaward side of The Dunns was Eley's Butcher’s Shop, established in 1865, with the small White Rose Hotel, nearby, in the centre foreground.

The view to the Pier, 10 August 1909, includes the quay or breakwater at Southend, built to shelter the Oyster Skiffs, a close up of which is seen in the photo below.

The breakwater was damaged in a storm and rotted away.

A Mother and son are ready to enjoy time on the beach next to the wooden breakwater at Southend. Photo by M A Clare, 1920.

A Mumbles Steam Train at Southend, with the remains of the old breakwater in the background, 1925.

A boat is stranded at the old breakwater. Photo from Mr Hullin.

Diving off the 'Piles', the remains of the old breakwater, off Promenade Terrace, Southend, 1957

The remains of the breakwater, can be seen at the Village Lane Slipway , Southend.

On the sandbank at Southend

In the 1870s, a group of Mumbles people gathered on a sandbank off Southend to pose for the comparatively new invention of photography. Exposures were lengthy and required the position to be held - hence the images of three boys are blurred as they were obviously restless!

In the background are working oyster skiffs, two in full sail; the quarried hill devoid of vegetation and the new partly-made road reaching a dead-end.

But what is also fascinating is what is not in the photo — the ‘Cutting’, the track of the Mumbles railway and the Bristol Channel Yacht Club (BCYC), which would become part of the future.

What was once an area of working oyster skiffs, fishing and limestone-carrying boats has in the intervening years, been transformed into a haven for leisure craft and a place of relaxation for locals and tourists.

Southend Shoreline: Raft Race & Regatta

These two photos taken approximately 85 years apart at the same spot at Southend, show the differences between days out at the Regattas in the 1920s and watching the Raft Race in 2007. In the colour one, people are casually dressed, mostly in tee shirts and shorts, while in the black and white one, everyone having arrived on the Mumbles steam train is dressed in their 'Sunday Best,' replete with hats.

The quarried Limestone awaits loading onto ships, near The Geoge Hotel, Southend, Mumbles. A boat and Bathing Machine require repair. Photo marked 1860 and the properties on the seaward side of the road were demolished around 1887

Men loading limestone onto a horse and cart at Southend, Mumbles

One man is loading limestone onto a horse and cart at Southend, Mumbles

Taken in June 1922. Although little over a decade separated these two photos, momentous changes to life and fashions had taken place as a result of The Great War.

Capturing street life near the Marine Hotel and Prince's Fountain in June 1910, picture taken by M A Clare.

Princes Fountain, Southend

This photograph of Mumbles was taken by Bristol photographer William Harvey Barton around 1885. It is the 'perfect' landscape picture: focussing on the rocky coastline below Mumbles Hill; moored oyster skiffs and the bustling village are in the distance. In order to take this photograph Barton had carry his cumbersome photographic equipment from Southend along the narrow path at the foot of Mumbles Hill, careful to avoid getting not only his feet, but also his expensive apparatus, wet.

If you have any twentieth-century photographs, taken within the Old Parish of Oystermouth,

which you would like to share, please contact the Editors