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Members of the White Rock team took a number of oral histories in in 2013/14. They have been deposited with West Glamorgan Archives Service. Click on each name for the recording, summary, and in most cases a full transcription.

The team also summarised a number of historic recordings in the WGAS archive. These are of White Rock and more general interest.

Mr. Ken Frederickson, b 1927, recorded 31/10/2013

Ken Frederickson helped to scull the White Rock Ferry boat which his uncle and grandfather worked between White Rock, Foxhole and the Lower Hafod on behalf of the White Rock Estate.   The ferry was operated for the better part of 150 years by two families until 1942 and closed in 1945.   The working of the ferry, its ferrymen and customers is described in detail within the context of life in general for children, residents and workers in White Rock, Foxhole, Pentrechwyth and  Hafod.

Mrs. Frederickson discusses her family service history connection with the Vivian’s at Singleton Abbey.

Mrs. Doris Baddick,  b 1924, recorded 15/10/2013

Doris Baddick has lived in the Foxhole and Bonymaen districts of Swansea all her life and spent the years until her marriage in 1946 with her family in the Quarry Cottages (Samlet Row) at White Rock immediately overlooking the White Rock Works and ferry.

Her childhood experience, financial constraints of her widowed mother, social conditions in general on the East Side of the town and river before WW2 are amply described as well as war service at Cwmfelin Steel Works welding fuel cans, and her husband’s employment history.

Mr. Ian Smith,  b 1955, recorded 2/8/2013

Ian Smith is the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Industry at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.He was born and brought up in the Dublin Arms in the Hafod and had his first job at Yorkshire Imperial Metals. Later he was involved in clearing the Lower Swansea Valley.

Ian talks about his childhood in the Hafod, playing on wasteland industrial sites and in the river, and his early working life.

Mr. Ron and Mrs. Val Williams

The time line has moved forward a little into the fifties. There is an interesting commentary on the Tinplate Mills at Dyffryn, serving in the Merchant Navy out of Swansea, and trade union agitation at Fords in the 1960’s.  And there is a charming description of “dancing” 3 nights a week!

Mrs. Joan Fox (b 1929) & Mrs. Sylvia Davies (1935) of Trallwn, Swansea recorded 22/07/2014

  • Early life in St. Thomas, Foxhole and Kilvey Hill
  • The Clarke family and White Rock Ferry and involvement of eldest son David Clarke in war time.
  • Paddling across the river at low tide.
  • Suicides in the River Tawe near the ferry crossing.
  • Bombed out in Owen’s Row in 1941.
  • Father, David Clarke in Home Guard.
  • WW2 experiences and rationing.
  • Early working lives in Swansea Stores and Clothier.
  • Savings Club/credit/and Provident cheques.

Mrs. Olive Clarke, recorded 1995

Olive Clarke’s story was recorded in 1995 for a Swansea Sound radio programme.

West Glamorgan Archives Service

Historic recordings in the WGAS archive of White Rock and more general interest.


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