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'I Can Find it Here'

This year is the 10th Anniversary of Swansea City of Sanctuary and I have been exploring archival material to find who, when and where people have taken sanctuary in Swansea.  The archives reveal a long history of generosity to groups and individuals in need of a place of refuge and safety.  Many people stayed and many people returned to their homelands, evidence of both are witnessed in the archives.  In 1941 Swansea suffered a three day bombing blitz from Hitlers airforce and some residents of the town found themselves in need of sanctuary.   Swansea became a City of Sanctuary in 2010 and today Swansea voluntary groups continue to offer hospitality and sanctuary to people from all over the world, seeking safety from war torn countries, political asylum and natural disasters.  


A short video accompanies this piece and can be seen at:

This video is made with the voices of contemporary asylum seekers and refugees from Swansea


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The ‘Basque Children'  


Following the first ever sustained 3 hour air bombing over Gernika, in April 1937, by Franco and the German Nazi Luftwaffe, 4,000 lone children were transported to Southampton Docks.   Arriving on 21 May aboard the SS Habana, fleeing war, seeking sanctuary and safety.   The British Government refused to get involved at the time and it was left to voluntary groups to organise and welcome them.  400 of those children came to Wales and 80 of those were welcomed to Swansea. They were given accommodation at Sketty Park Hall and their images recorded and numbered.  These images are in the the Glamorgan archive, showing them with their number hanging around their necks.  There are several duplicate numbers.

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#1 Places of Sanctuary

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32,000 Basque children were evacuated following Franco’s bombing of Gernika in 1937

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#1 Places of Sanctuary

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#2 Places of Sanctuary

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‘Sanctuary I think is a place. 

It’s not a special building or not a special house. 

I think it is a country, is a city. 

Is an area without any worries, fears, concerns.’

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#3 Places of Sanctuary

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