News from Number 5

17th October 2016

Offer on house visits for 'Do Not Go Gentle' festival goers

We are pleased to offer all 'Do Not Go Gentle' festival ticket holders a 2 for 1 offer on all house visits. A voucher must be collected from DNGG ticket office over the course of the weekend by festival goers and it can be redeemed from that time until 21st January 2017. So there you are, we extend our invitation, now come and visit! 

Book your festival weekend or day tickets NOW!

06th October 2016

Do Not Go Gentle festival 2017 line up announced!

Are you coming to this year's Do Not Go Gentle Festival? They've recently announced another fantastic line up 

We'll also have an exclusive offer open to all of this year's festival goers who would like a chance to explore 5 Cwmdonkin Drive...Ooooooh! So book your weekend or day tickets NOW!

05th October 2016

One Summer at Dylan's house...

If you could pick any destination in the world to spend your Summer volunteering where would you pick? For Laura Potts, an aspiring, celebrated and decorated young writer from Wakefield in the North of England it was a mere 250 miles South to the ‘ugly, lovely town’ of Swansea that birthed Wales’ most revered writer. No stranger to literature, Laura is the editor and typesetter for Wakefield’s Currock Press, a regular writer for The Yorker and has received multiple awards for her writing, which includes being crowned Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2012 and 2013. She is also currently on the longlist for the 2016 T.S Eliot Prize for poetry. A seemingly natural fit then? - the second year student of English and Related Literature at the University of York absorbed the atmosphere of 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, taking in its steeped atmosphere and surroundings and enthusing visitors about the ‘boily boy’ poet who once roamed the house, scribbling away at every opportunity. It comes as a surprise then, that she only discovered Dylan’s works by chance as recently as last Summer. It seems that since her first meeting with Dylan, his words have held her transfixed. ‘Love the words’ he most famously said, Laura certainly does. We posed her a few questions to find out how she enjoyed her Summer at Dylan’s house... Matthew Hughes (Curator)


What led you to volunteer at Dylan's?

“Really, I wanted to use my summer productively. I didn’t want to just sit at home waiting for it to end because that isn’t rewarding to me. And I also wanted to gain some self-confidence, which I felt I could achieve if I went away from the comfort zone of home. But most importantly, as an English Literature student, I looked for an environment which would benefit me academically, and Dylan’s seemed like the perfect place. I could teach others while also learning myself, especially because the staff are just so knowledgeable and passionate, and they stand at the forefront of current research on Dylan’s life and work. It was the closest I could come to actually spending my summer inside a university or research centre. I’m also a writer myself, but my hometown doesn’t have anything as creatively-illuminating as Swansea: here there are many groups of local spoken-word artists who find their muse in the city itself. And that for many is testament to Dylan’s legacy.”

Were you a fan of his work beforehand?

“I’d actually had very little contact with Dylan before I came to the Birthplace. He was never studied on my school curriculum or at university, but I stayed with some family members last summer and they took me to the Boathouse in Laugharne. There’s a plaque there with words of ‘Fern Hill’ on it, and that was probably the first time that, academically, I’ve been completely dazzled by a single poem on first reading. Afterwards I read quite widely, especially his poetry and Under Milk Wood. After spending my days in lectures at university, I spent my evenings reading Dylan for pleasure, which is something I rarely do since reading is my full-time job anyway. But I found solace, and something refreshing, in his work. And I say ‘work’ because, really, his poetry is true grit and labour. You only need to read one piece to realise that. Anyone can write, but not everyone can work like Dylan could. So yes, I was a fan, but only a newly-fledged one. Which says quite a lot about the transformative power of his words.”

Has he influenced your own work in any way?

“Yes, I’ve grown much more attentive to syntax and the juxtaposition of particular words. There’s a difference between ‘windshake’ (‘After the Funeral’) and ‘the wind which shook’, or ‘Bible-black’ (Under Milk Wood) and ‘black like a Bible’. Dylan is much more succinct and economical, probably more so than any other writer I know, so that a whole plethora of images is captured in just one or two words. I think this is where James Joyce’s legacy in Dylan’s work is really manifest. A common response from many people who have read (or attempted to read) Ulysses is that the language is just so esoteric, so hard to understand, because Joyce works in free association: that is, for both Joyce and Dylan, the work seems to author itself. It is as if they were just handed a pen and told to write whatever verbal combination came into their heads, letting themselves be ruled by the subconscious mind. Dylan’s poetry can often seem quite decentring: one image quickly succeeds another without much explanation. But actually, if it is studied closely, the images all link however tenuously together, so that the ‘experience’ of reading is really an insight into a moving mind. In this, most of all, Dylan taught me subtlety. Not everything needs to be expanded or explained, and sometimes just two concrete images, like ‘windshake’, which is an action translated into a noun, are enough to defamiliarise the reader - to make them sit up and think, ‘well that’s different’.”

Can you see similarities between yours and Dylan's work?

“In parts, yes. In sound mostly. Dylan fully exploits the mimetic power of sound: that is, its ability to ‘mimic’ the world. If you’ve heard him read with that great sonorous voice which could fill cathedrals, it’s impossible to not notice the importance of sound in his work. Caitlin Thomas, in a late-life interview, remarked on how Dylan would mutter and stutter his way through reciting his work to fully engage with its potential in sound. This is something I try to do too. Literature has always been an oral art, and its ability to capture audiences is largely dependent on combinations of certain sounds, rhythms, and repetitions. With Dylan, attention to patterns of sound is a constant. Take ‘The Hunchback in the Park’. A pattern present throughout the poem is the ‘-er’ word ending: ‘water’, ‘enter’, ‘mister’, ‘sombre’, ‘newspaper’. The repetition is an aural manifestation of the poem’s content, which is full of sound and music itself: the Sunday bells, the stream of running water, the park birds, the roaring children. Put both together, and Dylan has made a representation of sound on the levels of both poetic form and content. And in simple terms, it’s really about making the reader ‘feel’ the scene itself, about making it as mimetic to reality as he can. He’s definitely made me more attentive to sound and rhythm in my own work. He made me realise that poetic form and content aren’t so separate at all, and that they can both mutually reinforce each other. One comment I sometimes get after giving a reading is that the audience can still hear rhythm in my work even though I don’t use poetic metre. It’s the same principle that Dylan worked with: sound patterns can be subtle, not monotonous or laboured, and still extend right out from the page to touch the reader.”

What have you learnt most from your time at Dylan's?

“l think, really, the whole experience has been a lesson in under-estimation. Don’t underrate someone before you know what their mind can do. Dylan was really a very poor school student who skipped classes and who left with only one qualification. But that qualification mattered: 98% in English. And though there were those who were disappointed in such a bright young boy, they failed to realise that Dylan knew from the outset where he wanted his life to lead, and he didn’t need chemistry sets or calculators for that. There’s a statue of a pencil in Cwmdonkin Park which I think perfectly represents the boy Dylan’s childhood hope: the one hope being to write, which stood as a beacon to any other.”

Most memorable moment?

“I remember one day especially. A woman visited the House and told me she considered herself a ‘Dylanologist’. Great, I thought. Someone who’s as passionate as me about the big DT. I expected some engagement from her when I gave my short talk, but she just sat in the parlour, looking very unnerved and puzzled, but patiently listening to my talk on Dylan and his time in Swansea. Afterwards, her friends asked plenty of questions. Who did he marry? How did he die? Did he have children? Precisely what height was Dylan when he was fourteen-and-three-quarters years old? Still the woman sat there. I spoke to her friends for about an hour, and after no mention of music, of pianos or the USA, she finally said: ‘so... which was Bob’s room?’ So here’s a tip for you, friends: try to read the big, blue, unmissable plaque outside before entering the house and thinking you’re about to meet Bob Dylan.”


What are your future plans?

“At the moment I’m still an undergraduate at university, but recently I’ve managed to open some doors which look promising: I’m a new columnist with The Yorker where I run The Poets’ Nook, a platform for aspiring writers to gain some publicity. Too often spoken word is damned to dusky bars and crumbling pubs, and it’s time that changed. I strongly believe the creative arts scene can be invested in, but unfortunately it’s down to small-town writers like me to push that, since little funding is supplied from elsewhere. I’m hoping to publish my first poetry anthology next year too, which has been many years in the making, and I also have the vague ghost of a plan to establish my own publishing house, but let’s see where that one goes. And with academia, I’m aiming for a Masters after my undergraduate degree, possibly in Cape Town where I’ve recently studied. You’ve got to have something to anticipate, or all your creative potential will just simmer away in stale rooms.”

Where can people find your work?

“Generally, the internet is the best place. A quick search of ‘Laura Potts poet’ will practically bring up my whole life history and a good deal of my poetry. I’m on YouTube too, or you can follow me on Twitter @thelauratheory_. I’m always looking for new places to visit too, so if you run or know a spoken-word event somewhere in the UK (please, anywhere will do: there’s only so much university box-room I can take) please get in touch and I’ll try to come along. Other than that, it’s just a matter of time waiting for my first anthology to be published. Which, really, I’m striving for more than the words I have will let me say.”


Throughout her month as a volunteer, Laura has been an incredible help. She has helped make a visit to Dylan's birthplace the highlight of many a visitor's trip to Swansea. Some from near and some from far. She has played a valuable role in helping people discover Dylan's life and works and also reinvigorated those that discovered him years ago. We wish her all the luck in her future endeavours both in literature and in life. We are sure that they will always run parallel. Thank you Laura - we'd love to have you back through our big green front door in the future!

11th July 2016

Dylan Thomas New York apartment is saved after nine-year legal battle

THE apartment at New York's famous Chelsea Hotel where Dylan Thomas fell into a fatal coma before his death has been saved for posterity - following a nine year legal battle.

Developers had planned to refurbish the Manhattan building, which would have affected the layout of Apartment 205, where the writer and poet was staying before his death aged 39 on 9 November, 1953.

The apartment's tenant, Arthur 'Artie' Nash, leased the property twenty years after befriending poet and biographer John Malcolm Brinnin, who had bought Dylan to America.

Mr Nash maintained control of the Thomas apartment, where Dylan spent his last night alive, in spite of successive owner who have sought to evict tenants so the building could be redeveloped as a boutique hotel.


Nash, who alleged strong-arm tactics during the dispute, said "Over the years, I offered to vacate in exchange for written assurances that the Dylan Thomas apartment wouldn't be destroyed like the majority of the Chelsea's historic guest rooms, but all these offers were snubbed by developers. Until now."

Last year, an appeal was launched to help Mr Nash stop the work going ahead, which was supported by Swansea's Geoff Haden, who restored the poet's Swansea birthplace on Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands.

Mr Haden, who is chairman of the Dylan Thomas Society, said: "Although Mr Nash had a protected tenancy, a series of owners and developers used all means to move him and others out of the building and in doing so would have lost the last piece of history of which the hotel has more than its fair share with Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen among its past residents.

"I'm absolutely delighted that the birthplace and society were able to help raise the awareness and pressure the authorities as well as petitioning the Registry of Historic Buildings in the US and contacting President Barack Obama and other politicians in the United States and this country."

The new owners of the property, BD Hotels, have agreed a deal with Mr Nash to save Apartment 205 with a legally binding agreement.

The agreement was reached through Ira Drukier of BD Hotels, who is a business partner of US actor Robert DeNiro. Mr Drukier agreed to preserve the footprint of the Thomas apartment including the kitchen and private bath. All items not included, such as doors and windows, will form part of a future public exhibition about Hotel Chelsea's history.

A bronze plaque will be permanently placed outside the apartment by Mr Nash, who added: "This is a site where countless Dylan fans have paid homage. After such a long battle I'm thrilled that more of this great writer's heritage will be preserved for future guests of Hotel Chelsea"

When the Chelsea Hotel was built in 1883 it was the tallest building in New York and became known as a haunt of writers and artists including Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams, Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Eugene O'Neill, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead.


Apartment 511 shares the same balcony as Dylan Thomas Apartment 205 and it was there that Bob Dylan, who took his name from Thomas, spent four days writing Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.

Apartment 100 was where punk Sid Vicious was alleged to have killed his girlfriend Nancy Spungen by stabbing her.

Playwright Arthur Miller got over his break up with Marilyn Monroe in Apartment 614. Dylan met them both on his visits to America.

Leonard Cohen and Janis Joplin spent time in Apartment 415, which was immortalised in Cohen's song Chelsea Hotel #2.

And Jack Kerouac wrote his Beat Generation classic "On The Road" at the hotel during a 3 week long drug induced session, while Arthur C Clarke wrote his scifi novel 2001:A Space Odyssey at the hotel

In 2007, a corporate takeover sought to oust tenants and create a boutique hotel. It has since changed hands several times and remains closed to the public.

13th April 2016

'Dylan Thomas Week' (6th May - 15th May)

The 2nd annual International Dylan Thomas Day or 'Dylan Day' (14th May) supported by Literature Wales draws nearer. There are events scheduled near and far designed to celebrate and create further interest in Wales' most revered writer. Read on for all the relevant links on how you can take part.

Here at his birthplace, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in Swansea we have a very special week running the week of 'Dylan Day.' A host of eclectic events which span the arts spectrum - from poetry, creative writing, painting and performance. These are designed to bring visitors that much closer to the man himself and discover some of the talented people that inhabit Dylan's 'Ugly, Lovely town' today.

Please see our event calendar for all events and ticket information

07th January 2016

Special offer on January & February 2016 guided tours!

We have a special reduced rate offer on guided house tours running throughout January & February. Book your tour of the most creative setting in Dylan's life - NOW! - A 'must do' experience for any fan of the great Welsh bard.


Call us on (01792) 472 555 or email info@dylanthomasbirthplace.com

04th January 2016

Our last guests of 2015 and first of 2016!

Cardiff based couple Kate and Mark saw in the New Year in real style as they chose 5 Cwmdonkin Drive as the place to stay to welcome in 2016. In doing so, not only were they our final guests of 2015 they also became the very first of this exciting New Year!


Photo by Matthew Hughes

They wrote in our visitors book...
'What an honour to have spent the night in the home of one of my favourite poets. One can almost picture him climbing the stairs and wandering through the corridors. Thank you so much for your wonderful tour, it added so much life and colour to our stay. Happy New Year Dylan Thomas' Birthplace! We'll be back soon for sure...'

Kate & Mark, we look forward to seeing you both again, have a great New Year!

For information on staying overnight at Dylan's Birthplace please visit http://www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com/accommodation

01st January 2016

On this date...1st January (1935)

Dylan's first book 18 Poems was mentioned in the 'Gossip of the Day' column in the South Wales Evening Post - 'Poetry moves swiftly these days.'


31st December 2015

Happy New Year !

All of us at Dylan Thomas Birthplace, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive would like to wish you a very Happy New Year! Thank you for all of your support throughout 2015 it is hugely appreciated, you all help play a vital part in highlighting the importance of this historic house as a place to celebrate, learn and experience. Liking and sharing our page helps spread the word.Here is to seeing more of you passing through the doors of No.5 into Dylan's world in 2016. Cheers!

Image of Dylan Thomas © Nora Summers / Jeff Towns - Dylans Mobile Bookstore

30th December 2015

On this date...30th December (1903)

On this date....30th December
Dylan's parents David John Thomas and Florence Hannah Williams were married at the Castle Street Chapel on Castle Street in Swansea in 1903 in front of three witnesses. The then 26 year old DJ Thomas was boarding in Cromwell Street, Swansea and 21 year old Florence was living at her family home at 29 Delhi Street with several of her siblings.



In November 1908 the Castle Street Chapel was deconsecrated and sold for a price of £6,000 to Kardomah Cafe Co.
This then would be immortalised by Dylan in many of his short stories and broadcasts. It was the site of many gatherings by Dylan and his creative circle 'The Kardomah Gang/Boys' as well as being a favourite haunt of his mother and her gossip loving friends.

Sadly the building was razed to the ground during the 3 night blitz on Swansea in February 1941. A new Kardomah opened in Portland Street after the war.

*The wonderful image of Dylan's parents in their younger days is a composition created by Jeff Phillips of Glamscape Art based on two photographs.

29th December 2015

Lilliput Magazine - December 1941

74 years ago a fascinating insight into some of the leading British poets was published in 'Lilliput' magazine. The piece was penned by a poet himself, the great Stephen Spender a wonderful poet and champion of up and coming poets. Spender's article also showcased: Cecil Day Lewis, Louis MacNiece, Alun Lewis, Anne Ridler, Laurie Lee, William Empson and of course Dylan Thomas.



Spender said of Dylan...
"he is the most strikingly original of the younger poets. His poetry erupts in a torrent of violent, imaginative, sometimes distorted language, drunken with imagery and sound. It suffers from being extremely personal, and often it is as difficult to understand as are other people's dreams. Sometimes the sheer force of an emotion breaks down the barriers of Thomas's world, and his poetry has a far more personal significance. Thomas has also written a volume of short stories entitled 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog.' He likes pubs; his world of fantasy is rooted in them and in the coal-mines and mountains of Wales."

The photograph that sat above these paragraphs is one that has become one of the most iconic of those taken of the Welsh poet. Photographer Bill Brandt captured the then 27 year old Dylan in splendid check jacket amidst the surroundings of the beautiful 'Salisbury' pub in Covent Garden.

28th December 2015

Aspects of Modern Poetry by Edith Sitwell

Amongst the discarded cigarette packets, empty sweet wrappers and manuscripts underneath Dylan's desk here at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive you will find a book that had upset Dylan in December 1934.

Published by Duckworth in late 1934, 'Aspects of Modern Poetry' by Edith Sitwell was savagely critical of New Verse, a periodical ran by poet, novelist and critic Geoffrey Grigson. In her scathing review she used Dylan's poem 'Our Eunoch Dreams,' which had been published in New Verse in April 1934 as one of its bad examples. As an added insult she didn't even mention the author of the piece by name!



She wrote...
'An appalling affair! Metaphysics have not helped here. The idea is really of no importance, and the thick squelching, cloying, muddy substance of the "which," "itch," "shapes," "starch," "welshing rich" verse, and the equally, or almost equally hideous, "kicks," "sack," "trash," "quick," "cock," "back," "smack," affair - these defeat criticism. In muddiness and incapacity, they leave T.E. Brown's "God wot plot" arrangement at the starting post.'
Dylan wrote the following in a letter dated December 1934 to his friend and fellow writer and poet
Glyn Jones

"So you've been reviewing Edith Sitwell's latest piece of virgin dung, have you? Isn't she a poisonous thing of a woman, lying, concealing, flipping, plagiarising, misquoting, and being as clever a crooked literary publicist as ever. I do hope you pointed out in your review the real points against the book (you did, I know, but I like being dogmatic) The majority of the book was cribbed from Herbert Read and Leavis, actually and criminally cribbed. She has misquoted Hopkins at least twenty times, reprinted many poems without the permission of the publisher or poet. Yes, that was my poem all right, reproduced without my name, misquoted at the end, and absurdly criticised. I duly sent my protest to Gerald Duckworth and he replied to the effect that so many protests of a similar sort had been received, that he could as yet do nothing about it. It is being hoped that he will have to withdraw the book."

In less that a few months Dylan and Sitwell would change their respective tunes about one another. Fierce critic and fellow poet Edith Sitwell would become a patroness and champion of the young poet from Swansea....

27th December 2015

18 Poems - How it came to be...

81 years ago Dylan was at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive about to travel to London, he was still awaiting the first reviews of his first published collection of poems '18 Poems.' It had been published over 10 days earlier. Seen here on Dylan's desk is a 'true' first edition, first issue, first printing of his life changing book. It had finally come to fruition from many years of meticulous craft and hard work from the surroundings of his tiny bedroom and Father's study and was about to set him on his course as one of the greatest poet's of the twentieth century.

Dylan however, would have to wait until January to read the first of a steady stream of encouraging reviews..
1934 had been a busy year for Dylan Thomas, his work being accepted and published in ‘The New English Weekly,’ ‘Adelphi,’ ‘New Verse,’ ‘John O’London’s Weekly,’ ‘New Stories,’ ‘The Bookman,’ ‘Criterion,’ and the BBC’s ‘Listener.’ One of Dylan’s key admirers and regular publishers was ‘The Sunday Referee.’



How the 18 Poems came to be....
The Sunday Referee had launched their 'Poets Corner' feature in April 1933 inviting contributions with the line of 'We care nothing who holds the stylus'. A deluge of poems would flood into the Referee and tasked with selection was literary journalist Victor Neuberg. On September 3rd 1933 he selected Dylan's 'That Sanity Be Kept' and described it as 'the best modernist poem as yet I have received.' On October 29th 1933 he also published Dylan's 'The Force That Through The Green Fuse' and called it 'cosmic in outlook....a large poem, greatly expressed.' Dylan became a staple poet of the Referee in 1934 with a further five poems crafted by the young man from Swansea featuring in the publication.

As a result of the adulation of Dylan's poetry from Neuberg and the editor Mark Goulden it was decided that the young poet from Swansea would have a collection sponsored by the newspaper. Dylan was to be the second in what the Sunday Referee envisioned to be a long line of prize poets. The first was a young lady from the London upper middle classes, Pamela Hansford Johnson. Dylan and Pamela had struck up a correspondence after his poem from 3rd September had been printed.

Publication of the book had been a drawn out affair with the Referee newspaper encountering difficulty finding a commercial publisher for it. Eventually David Archer of the Parton Bookshop, a young man with a love of poetry, who owned a bookshop and occasionally printed books agreed to help. Above all, David Archer had a desire to help young poets succeed. It was finally published on 18th December 1934. 500 copies of the book were produced with only 250 of them being bound at the time of publication. The cost of the book was 2s.6d. The book was published as a joint effort with The Sunday Referee periodical and the Parton Bookshop sharing the printing costs. The Referee provided £30 and the Parton Bookshop £20

*What happened to the other 250 unbound copies of the book? They were bound up and made available on February 21, 1936 and made up the second issue of the book*

18 Poems consists of...
I see the boys of summer
Where once the twilight locks
A process in the weather of the heart
Before I knocked
The force that through the green fuse
My hero bares his nerves
Where once the waters of your face
If I were tickled by the rub of love
Our eunuch dreams
Especially when the October wind
When, like a running grave
From love’s first fever
In the beginning
Light breaks where no sun shines
I fellowed sleep
I dreamed my genesis
My world is pyramid
All all and all

26th December 2015

The Year's Poetry 1934

81 years ago this December 'The Year's Poetry 1934: A representative collection compiled by Gerald Gould, John Lehmann & Denys Kilham Roberts' was published by John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd, London.

Seen here residing on Dylan's desk, it has been acknowledged by bibliographers and biographers as being the first occasion where a poem of Dylan's appeared in book form.



*This however, is if we do not include 'The Second Best' a poem that Dylan, using only his first and middle name (Dylan Marlais) had published in one of his favourite boyhood reads 'The Boy's Own Papers.' It featured in the February 1927 paper but then appeared in the bound 'Boy's Own Annual' of that year.*

The poem in 'The Year's Poetry 1934' was 'Light' or 'Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines.' It was a bold move by the publishers to include it due to the uproar that it had caused when it first appeared in BBC's 'The Listener' magazine earlier in the year due to its imagery with sexual undertones. The poem would also feature in Dylan's first collection of poetry '18 Poems' (Poem 14) which was published on 18th December 1934, just a matter of days later.

25th December 2015

Merry Christmas

We'd like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, thank you for your continued support this year, keep spreading the word about the 'hidden gem' that is Dylan Thomas Birthplace, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive - You won't know the real Dylan Thomas without a visit!



Image of Dylan Thomas © Nora Summers / Jeff Towns - Dylans Mobile Bookstore

23rd December 2015

The Brown Family from London

The Brown family from London took in the festive Edwardian atmosphere of the home of 'A Child's Christmas in Wales.' as they toured Dylan's Birthplace on the eve of Christmas Eve. A marvellous bunch bound for a very Merry Christmas!


22nd December 2015

Tony & Claire from Coventry

It was wonderful to spend a few hours with Tony & Claire who were on their way back home to Coventry after a short stay in the Gower. Claire is a former student at Swansea University and now they have visited the house of Swansea's most famous son.

21st December 2015

Bryn Road, Swansea in Edwardian times

Here's a snowy Swansea scene from Dylan's youth, reminiscent of his wonderful recollections in 'A Child's Christmas in Wales.'
The photo, which was a postcard of the time, appears to have been taken facing up Bryn Road in Brynmill, just a short hop from the poet's home in Cwmdonkin Drive.


09th April 2015

BIRTHPLACE OF WELSH POET DYLAN THOMAS SEEKS AID FOR LEGENDARY NEW YORK LANDMARK HOTEL

Staff at the birthplace of Dylan Thomas, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in the Uplands of Swansea, Wales are hoping to highlight an ongoing struggle to save a legendary New York hotel that is also synonymous with the Welsh bard.

Thomas slipped into a morphine induced coma at apartment 205 at the Hotel Chelsea on November 5th 1953. That event would lead to his untimely death four days later at the age of just 39, robbing the world of one of the 20th century’s greatest literary talents.

The longstanding battle between residents and owners of the Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan has been raging for nearly a decade with previous owners looking to oust long term rent stabilised tenants from apartments to convert the property into a boutique hotel. Even though a settlement was met to allow the tenants to remain living at the site, major renovation works are still threatening to change the landscape of the famous landmark forever.

The building which is now in its 132nd year has been home to a who’s who in popular culture from Mark Twain, Arthur Miller, Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol to name but a few.
Some of the most iconic works in literature, art and music have been inspired and penned between its four walls.

Curator of the Dylan Thomas Birthplace, Matthew Hughes said ‘Bob Dylan famously penned songs for his album Blonde on Blonde in apartment 211, sadly that room which had remained largely untouched since those days was destroyed in 2008 through illegal renovation work and now it seems that Dylan Thomas’s room is to be next if help can’t be found.’

Geoff Haden, the man responsible for saving the Welsh writer’s home after it was abandoned by Swansea City Council in the early 2000s said ‘"Time is of the essence, the developers of the Hotel Chelsea have told the occupant who leases apartment 205 that they will be blocking the doorway and tearing up parts of the apartment to make way for a maintenance stairwell.”

Arthur Nash, the occupant, has tirelessly fought to preserve the apartment as it was when Dylan stayed there but now seeks further assistance to save not only his home but a piece of literary heritage.

Arthur has been campaigning to save the apartment since 2007 and had met a volunteer tour guide from the Dylan Thomas Birthplace, Phil Pardoe some years ago when Phil was on holiday in New York. Arthur welcomed Phil to take a tour of the preserved apartment and Phil has corresponded with Arthur since then to keep abreast of Arthur and the resident’s plight.

Said Arthur, "This is the site where Thomas last worked, where countless fans have payed homage to an artist who sparked the Bohemian element Hotel Chelsea was renowned for. They could have planned this stairwell elsewhere; it's a punitive strike against the audacity of seeking to preserve heritage in spite of the owner’s wishes."

In closing Mr. Haden said “all assistance that members of the public might lend whether financial assistance or legal assistance is being sought on behalf of this preservation effort and interested parties can get in contact with us at the Dylan Thomas Birthplace.”

27th May 2014

'A Shrine to a Literary Legend' - Daily Mail

A wonderful piece about No.5, Dylan and his Swansea by Gareth Hugh Davies. Please follow this link