Original Swansea Market of 1799

Swansea Market, Wales

1799

Swansea's first covered market was built on the site of present day Castle Square in the shadow of Swansea's medieval castle. A trading market has existed in Swansea for almost a thousand years since the original Norman castle was established - demonstrating the early town's significance as a focus for a wide region of scattered communities. The above painting, from the collection of Victorian Swansea industrialist John Dixon, depicts a lively market scene; it would suggest the market was a social as well as a trading occasion for its participants. Swansea was a rapidly growing city at this time, a boom town at the heart of the industrial revolution. The old town centre was seeing innovations emerging in industry and commerce which would take Swansea's huge fleet of ships around the globe, bringing a new purpose and momentum which would carry the city through to the 20th Century. A few decades later, the second market was built where the present day Grand Theatre stands; it featured a disproportionate clock tower, perhaps a reminder that time is money in the new order of world trade.