Uptown House (as it was formerly known) was a grand 18th century building with a gothic doorway and fine gardens. The building collapsed in the late 1980s when workmen excavated too closely to the shallow footings and a faux-Georgian multi-occupancy dwelling was constructed in its place. For 10 years from the mid-1950s it was the home of Stanley and Min Lewis. Caerleon-born Stanley trained at the Royal Academy, became Principal at the Carmarthen School of Art and illustrated wife Min's celebrated tome, Laugharne & Dylan Thomas. Stanley was finally 'discovered' at the age of 101 when the Bedford Gallery agreed to show an exhibition of his life's work. By the 1970s Uptown had evolved into the Coracle Guest House, known for the rather curious sign that read 'Bed & Licensed Breakfast'.
In the early 50s a Mr and Mrs Jenkins ran a cafe on the ground floor. One day Mrs Jenkins was convinced she'd served Katherine Hepburn and kept the lipstick smeared cup for many years afterwards. Arthur Jenkins was famously the owner of the Rolls Royce fish and chip van as mentioned in a Dylan Thomas broadcast on Laugharne which was transmitted on the 6th November 1953, the night Dylan slipped into a coma in New York. The Roller was formerly a military ambulance used in the First World War. The late 80s drawing of the legendary vehicle parked up outside the Town Hall (by local artist Steve Treacy) was copied from the only known photograph, which is now sadly lost.
Stanley Lewis on BBC Wales Arts TV Show
This film was recorded by BBC Wales at the Royal College of Art in 2010. Stanley had died on the 9th September 2009 so did not live long enough to see his first public exhibition, 'Stanley Lewis The Unknown Artist' at The Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Museum in Bedford. However, he was involved in the planning of the show and asked that champagne be drunk on the opening night.
More Stanley Lewis videos can be found on Jennifer Heywood's Vimeo Channel
by Dylan Thomas
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