Swansea and Mumbles Railways Limited (including Mumbles Railway and Pier Company Limited)

Scope and Content

Corporate papers 1879-1955; Accounts and finance 1901-1937; Legal papers 1838-1953; Secretary's files 1885-1960; Plans c1890

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1804 a group of Swansea pioneers promoted a parliamentary bill to build a railway line from Swansea to Mumbles. The act was passed, the Oystermouth Railway and Tramroad Company was incorporated and work began on building the line. In 1806 goods traffic began to pass over the line in wagons pulled by horses, limestone being the most common form of goods. In 1807 the line became unique in providing the first regular rail passenger service in the world. The railway was hit by massive competition when a road was built between Swansea and Oystermouth in 1826. The passenger service was closed, and the line remained unused except for the traffic from a few goods trains.

The ownership of the railway passed to George Byng Morris, the second son of Sir John Morris (one of the original shareholders) in 1840. The line was re-laid with edge rails in 1855 and the passenger service between Swansea and Oystermouth was re-opened by 1860. In agreements dated 19 Oct 1864 and 15 May 1865 George Byng Morris agreed to sell Mumbles Railway to John Dickson, a railway contractor for £20000. The purchase was not completed as Dickson was declared bankrupt and the railway remained in Morris's hands. In 1877 it was eventually sold at auction and bought by friends of John Dickson for £31000.

On 31 Mar 1879, Dickson registered his business as a limited company, called the Swansea and Mumbles Railway Company Limited. In 1884 the company leased the railway to Sir John Jones Jenkins and Robert Capper, who then sub-leased it to Swansea Improvements and Tramways Company. Capper later assigned his interest to Sir John Jones Jenkins, who secured a very large financial interest in the company.

In 1889, an Act of Parliament was obtained incorporating a new company, the Mumbles Railway and Pier Company, with powers to build a new railway extending to Mumbles Head, and a new deep water pier. Work started and the new line and pier opened on 10 May 1898.

The undertakings of both companies were leased to Swansea Improvements and Tramways Company by an agreement dated 16 Dec 1899 for 999 years (as sanctioned by the Oystermouth Railway or Tramroad Act of 1899). The companies remained as freeholders, collecting rents under the terms of the lease. In 26 Jul 1893 the Swansea and Mumbles Railways Limited was registered to acquire the business of the older company of almost similar title.

In 1958 the South Wales Transport Company Limited bought both the railway and the pier from the Swansea and Mumbles Railway Limited and Mumbles Railway and Pier.

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