A Brief History of St Helen's, Swansea
by Andrew Hignell - Archivist to Glamorgan CCC
18th and 19th century cricket in Swansea
© Glamorgan Cricket Archives
By the 18th century, Swansea was a thriving port and the area along the shore of Swansea Bay, developed into a popular and desireabl residential area. The gentlemen used the foreshore for their healthy recreation and there are records from the 1780's of ball games being staged on Crumlin Burrows to the east of the Tawe as well as to the west on the sands near the St.Helen`s convent.
A notice in the "Hereford Journal" for May 1785 also suggests that a formal club was in existence in the 1780`s, with the newspaper carrying a request that "gentlemen subscribers are desired to meet at the bathing house early to appoint a steward for the day and a treasurer for the season."
It seems likely that the members of this early club just practicised amongst themselves, similar to the modern-day membership of a golf club. By the early 19th century, fixtures were secured with teams from Neath, Llanelly and Merthyr, and the club secured the use of part of a field near the former convent. Even so, the departure of leading players, and an outbreak of cholera in the 1840's presented a few temporary barriers to the growth of cricket in Swansea.
The expansion of the transport network in South Wales, and a further increase in trade at the port of Swansea both acted as catalysts for Swansea C.C. from the 1850's onwards. With the increase in trade, and the arrival of more migrants, by 1852 there were enough good players in Swansea for the club to field two teams.
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