Writing Shed

This was the garage for the Boathouse, built by Doctor Cowan c. 1916. It housed Laugharne's first car, a green Wolseley. One woman thought it the devil in mechanical form and chased after it brandishing a pitchfork. Because it needed stilts it cost £750, when average wages were £75 p.a.

Dylan Thomas commandeered the shed promising his benefactor, 'All I write in this water and tree room on the cliff... will be thanks to you'. The hut affords spectacular views of Sir John's Hill, the Llanstephan peninsula (his mother's homeland), the sands of Cefn Sidan, Ginst Point and Gower beyond, where he urged his childhood comrades to, '...build a bloody house and live like bloody kings'!

Dylan wrote several poems including 'Prologue', 'Over Sir John's Hill' and 'Poem In October' in his 'word-splashed' hut. The photo above was taken in 1955, 2 years after Dylan died, and today below.

Dylan liked routine: mornings with the family, crossword with his father, lunchtimes in Brown's garnering material for Under Milk Wood, afternoons in the shed from 2pm 'til 7pm and if facing imminent deadlines, wife Caitlin would lock the door.

Aeronwy, his daughter, remembers her father used to, '...write out loud,' (he's best read out loud too). Caitlin provided inspiring magazine clippings for the walls and pulp fiction lined the bookcase.

Too rotten to preserve during the 1996 refurb, the original front panel - which had no window - resides in the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea. After he left for the USA in October 1953 Gwen Jones of Gwalia House remembered finding dozens of tiny scraps of paper outside the shed in Dylan's distinctive hand-writing. Despite her best efforts, the contents could not be recovered.

Under Milk Wood fulfilled his lifelong ambition to dramatise a Welsh seaside town. He completed the script minutes before curtain-up in May 1953, but cool New Yorkers hung on every word and it was a huge success. The BBC produced a posthumous version in Jan 1954 with Richard Burton momentous as First Voice.

It's been a jazz suite, a ballet, a film, and self-styled 'YouTube Phenomenon'; David Garland Jones even had a viral hit performing it as a mime in the Treorchy Rugby Club in 2010 - 'They said it was a play for voices... this was a play for movements...'.

Jon Tregenna, author of Laugharne Lines and the Under Milk Wood 'update', Buggerall, was educated during the 1970s at Llanelli Boys Grammar School - 'I remember listening to my father's LPs and then wondering why John Donne and Chaucer were taught in school instead of Dylan Thomas'. Jon wrote the BBC ebook on Dylan, which can be read here. It's great fun.

Under Milk Wood appalled repressed Welsh society (still reeling from Caradoc Evans' scabrous My People of 1915) who were unable to see beyond the bawdiness, drinking and innuendo.

After his death, Dylan's manuscripts were snapped up by American universities, but devotees started pitching up in Wales and Swansea's Dylan Thomas Centre and Birthplace opened in 1995 and 2008 respectively. We don't have his papers, but we have Laugharne, '...this black magical bedlam by the sea... there is nowhere like it anywhere at all'.

Here's the interior of the shed...

And here's the reverse view

We've seen many images of Under Milk Wood, but this one somehow really sums it up. It has the air of Peaky Blinders about it...

And finally, the steps down from the shed during the snowfall in 2013. There are 3 ways down to below the castle. This snowy one is second spot. First spot below is outside White Spot which was once called Half Spot. Yes... we know.

They were supposedly the routes smugglers took to avoid the harbour master but would also have been used by cocklers and workers.

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