An Age of Concern…

Does Being Dropped on Your Head at Birth Make You Stupid?

A mother expressed concern for her son who ‘is not as other boys’ to Dawn‘s Agony Aunt in 1932. She explained how he was dropped on his head at an early age, believing it had effected his work capabilities. The reply read: ‘Let him read a couple of books of law, and make a traffic commissioner of him’. [Dawn, 1932]

The S. U. C. Executive Officers, 1936-37

Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

Swansea University’s Sports Pavilion

Swansea University’s proposed plans to build a Sports Pavilion were first shown in Dawn in 1930. It was constructed to be in direct competition ‘with any recently erected University Sports Pavilion in the Country’. It cost £5,300 to build, making it the attractive Georgian-style building it still is today. [Dawn, 1930-1931]

The League of Nations Society

The League of Nations Society was a Student Union-established community in which members discussed international politics and read ‘representative plays of other countries’. The society aspired to accomplish world peace, much like the aims of the League of Nations itself. [Dawn1933]

Our Award-Winning Rugby Team, 1930-31

Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

World War Two: Fighting versus Education

In 1939, at the start of World War Two, a woman wrote to the student newspaper; ‘doesn’t it make one feel ashamed to be living in ease and comfort when so many fine young men are fighting and suffering for civilisation?’ A male Swansea University student put her in her place by replying; ‘I would have you know that I am the civilisation for which these young men happen to be fighting’. [Dawn, 1939]

‘Y Chwarelwr’ / ‘The Quarryman’

In 1935 the first film to ever be produced in Welsh, ‘Y Chwarelwr’ (‘The Quarryman’), was met with an abundance of enthusiasm by Swansea University goers. Subsequently, in the Student Union newspaper at the time, Dawn, a student passionately commended the film, saying it ‘cannot be worthy of anything but praise’. [Dawn, 1935]


The 1930s was an age of concern in Britain. After extensively researching the newspapers from the decade, it became increasingly obvious that students at Swansea were worried about life in Britain leading up to, and around, the Second World War. Newspaper material from the 1930s effectively express public opinion in Britain at large during the decade and is easily accessible in the Richard Burton Archives. The Researching and Re-telling the Past module on offer to second year history students at Swansea University is extremely fascinating to be a part of as it has helped me to understand the cultural history of Swansea in greater depth than would have been possible through secondary reading of any kind. 

[Victoria Bodington]


3 responses to “1930s

  1. Oli

    A great website, funny and informative, didn’t know our student union was so interesting!

  2. Caz

    Hahaha at the student’s reply to fighting in WWII! Really entertaining website, amazing how much history Swansea University has!

  3. Catherine

    This is really interesting, I have enjoyed reading through the different stories. How times have chnaged! I would love to read the other responses from Dawn’s agony aunt

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