River Tawe Ferryboat 1900
Ferry boats had been used for crossing the river Tawe for many centuries connecting Swansea West with Swansea East, linking trade, commerce, businesses and families. Before the bridges were built it was the only way to cross the river Tawe. During the 19th and 20th centuries, there was an increase in industrial development in the lower Swansea area. Many factories were built for the copper, zinc and tinplate industries along the banks of the River Tawe on both sides. The River Tawe ferryboat became very busy taking people across the river back and forth to work or attending business meetings. The Ferryboat was a flat-bottomed boat that would carry up to 20 passengers at a time and even though the conditions were cramped, uncomfortable and dangerous it was the only means of crossing the river. With the coming of the railway, road, foot and railway bridges were built crossing the North dock entrance and the river Tawe. However, at the bridges toll gates were installed and it was expensive to cross them. To cross on the ferryboat each way there was a fee of half a penny while on the bridges there was a toll fee of one penny and a half one way. The demand for the ferryboat was still strong and it continued to operate carrying passengers across the Tawe until 1945. The licences to run the ferry were owned by Vivian and Son’s the copper works owners and throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries the ferryboat was mainly run by two joint families from the St Thomas area. The operators were the Owen and Leyshon families and later the Llewellyn and Clark families. With the removal of the tolls on the bridges and the event of the second world war the ferryboat was no longer needed and ceased trading in 1945.