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Graveyard name was no negative thing.

SIR - As a Swansea boy, exiled most happily in Caerphilly for some 50 years, I still take an interest in the fortunes of my "ugly, lovely" native town, so naturally I look forward to Robin Turner's "Way Out West" columns.

However, I must take issue with the conclusion of his article on Swansea's exciting development plans (Western Mail, February 6), where he states: "At one time Swansea was called 'The Graveyard of Ambition' but it could soon be a cradle for it."

Robin has fallen into the trap of inferring that "the graveyard of ambition" is a depreciatory expression.

In fact it is a glowing compliment to the seaside city.

Some have incorrectly attributed the phrase to Dylan Thomas, others to a contemporary poet David Hughes and, in 1992, the words were engraved in the pavement at the entrance to Swansea's High Street Station.

However, the phrase has a much longer history and was probably the work of that prolific author "Anon".

I recall my late brother Clifford H Jones (a former estate agent to the city and county) telling me that the expression was frequently used before the Second World War in reference to the belief that the old county borough council often had officers of a higher quality than might be expected from its size.

Young high-flying professionals would come to take up council appointments in Swansea en route for top jobs in the UK's largest cities.

But when the time came to move onward and upward their families (and often they themselves) would decide to stay put because of the quality of life and the attractions of the bays and countryside.

I hope that the developments Robin Turner describes will make Swansea an even more attractive "graveyard"!

Tudor Jones Caerphilly

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 13, 2015
Words:293
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