The Trickster Prince

Matt Houlbrook: mobile historian; beard growing, head shaving; occasional cycling.

A convalescing miner writes home from Mumbles Bay (1927?)


Thomas Marriott sent this postcard of Mumbles Island and Bay to his wife and children at home in Mexborough, a small mining town in South Yorkshire. Thomas wasn’t on holiday: he had come to the Club Union Convalescent Home in nearby Langland Bay for respite — a brief stay to give his body at least some chance recover from the physical demands of working underground. Although the postmark is illegible, my guess is that he sent the postcard at some point in the mid-1920s. Originally known as Llan-y-Llan and built in grand style as the summer residence of the wealthy Crawshay family, the house was briefly part of the Langland Bay Hotel before it became a convalescent home for miners in 1922. Thomas would send a similar postcard in 1929: he wrote to his daughter Edna, by then in domestic service in Bradford rather than living at home, on the back of an image of Lake Windermere while he was staying in another convalescent home in Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria. What look like idyllic images of the English landscape and coastline are bitterly ironic markers of one workingman’s struggle with recurrent ill health and industrial injury.

This is what he wrote:

Dear Wife & Children

Arrived here safe about 8 o’clock going on nice its a grand place the photo is were we are close to sea hoping you & Children are all right writer a letter later just had photo Photo taken in a group Tommie

Neither Tommie’s visit to the Lake District nor his brief chance to take in the sea air made any real difference in the long-term: he died in 1936 when he was in his forties.



6 comments on “A convalescing miner writes home from Mumbles Bay (1927?)

  1. lesleyhulonce
    January 17, 2014

    Hi Matt, lovely post as usual. The postcard is of Langland Bay, I’ve no idea where the ‘Mumbles Island’ comes from on the front of the postcard, Mumbles is a bay and a village , but as far as I know was never called an island. However, there is an ‘island’ in Mumbles when the tide goes out on which is the lighthouse.

  2. Peter
    April 4, 2014

    It was interesting to read the article & see the postcard. My Grandfather also stayed there & I have a ‘Group’ photo dated 18th September 1927, sadly he died later that year. Found the information very helpful, thank you.

    PS: it’s, ‘Mumbles, Langland Bay on the front of the card.

  3. Colin walton
    August 3, 2016

    Just wondered if you would be interested in photos of postcards sent to my Mum from my Dad who converlested at Llanglan Bay, it shows my Dad’s bedroom in the tower and the Snooker room. Love to share and it would interesting to see the room today. Many thanks

    • The Trickster Prince
      September 1, 2016

      That would be wonderful — thank you!

      • colin walton
        September 1, 2016

        Thanks for the reply, I will dig them out as soon as I can. Colin.

        Colin walton’s iPhone


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