Recent delving (april 2012) into the Swansea Central Library vaults has unearthed a unique document – perhaps the only copy of the only issue of a sporting magazine published in Swansea in February 1913. The issue of the “World of Sport” was found by Gwilym Games, Local Studies Librarian at Swansea Central Library in the Civic Centre. Gwilym reckons it is the only surviving copy – and quite possibly it was the only issue, as he has never seen any others.
The magazine covered all local sports, and aimed to provide readers with better coverage of minority sports as well as more behind-the-scenes news of the Swans. The magazine set out its stall as follows:
“With the birth of a first-class Association Football Team in Swansea and the lax manner in which the preliminary meetings were reported and subsequent matters relating to the club commented upon by the local papers, came the inspiration that something new in the way of a contemporary Journal was required . Canine Fanciers, Cage Bird Breeders, Trotting and Galloway horse owners and bowls enthusiasts appelaed to have fuller and more reliable reports, and especially local news, than they were able to obtain in their respective organs emanating from the Metropolis. Information respecting the Association and Rugby Junior Leagues has been cast aside for “more importnat” news, and the doings of the Swansea Town A.F.C. Suppoerters Club have never been fully reported in the Press, the result is “THE WORLD OF SPORT” which will deal with every branch of local sport.”
So the aim of the magazine was to fill a percieved gap in the reporting of local leagues playing nationally important sports such as rugby and football; and to cover more obscure local activities. Most of the sports and passtimes listed are recognisable, although Galloway racing is no longer common. The term Galloway referred both to the breed of horses used for racing, and the type of race – a Galloway Race was one in which the horses were handicapped according to size, the taller horses carrying a larger total weight. (Follow this link to find out more about horse racing around Swansea in the early 20th century: http://www.arenapontardawe.com/Equestrianism%20and%20Pedestrianism.htm )
It is interesting that dog- and bird-breeding are considered as one of a suite of hobbies and activities along with football and rugby and other sports. It can be assumed that this range of activities was typical of the range of leisure options exercised by the local population.
The World of Sport went on in its editorial to explain that subscribers were needed to make the porject viable:
“All that is now required is public support. If you are pleased wiht the paper pass it on to a friend, if you have any suggestions to make send them along to the Editor, and if you have any items of news, don’t forget that we are itching to get hold of it. There is no doubt some who expect a lot more than we are giving in this number, but if they will only support us they will eventually get more than they anticipated. We look forward to selling out this number and being compelled to increase our numbers every week.”
Alas, it seems the plea fell on deaf ears, as it seems Issue 1 of Friday February 7th 1913 was the first and last. Perhaps the range of subjects was just too ecelectic!
The first issue did, however, contain the most fascinating material on the Swans – a report on the Supporters’ Club, and the penning of a “War Song”, an anthem for the fans to belt out on Saturday afternoons. Follow this link to find out more: “Swans” War Song
Reproduction of page from the World of Sport (courtesy of Swansea Library).
The magazine is in very poor condition, but the Library staff were able to very carefully scan it. As far as we know, they have the only surviving copy.