Alfred Swash, Mayor of Newport 1916 - 1917

Photo reference number: 1432

Text and photo from THE NEWPORT CHRISTMAS ANNUAL 1916.

ALFRED SWASH is a native of Neath, and a son of the late Mr. John Swash. He received his early education at the feet of the present Bishop of Llandaff. Later, he went to Shebbear College, North Devon, and came to Newport in 1877, and was articled to Messrs. Habershon, Pite and Fawckner, Architects. He remained with them for 12 years and then started in practise on his own account. In his profession he has achieved considerable success, and won several commissions in open competition. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects; and has designed quite a large number of buildings in various parts of the country amongst which may be mentioned Newport Museum and Art Gallery, Market Hall, Abertillery, Hotel Gwalia, London, Hotel Gwalia, Llandrindod, "Abernant" Hotel, Llanwrtyd Wells; a large number of schools and places of worship at Newport, Abertillery, Risca, Newbridge, etc.; and the Monmouthshire County Council's Training College, at Caerleon. He is also architect to the Fields Park Estate. In 1889 he was appointed a member of the Newport Free Library Committee, of which today he is Chairman. A photo by comparison of that Library, Museum and Art Gallery to-day with what it was then, is evidence of how, step by step, these institutions have been improved and kept up to date, particularly since the Mayor took over the Chairmanship.
When the Borough Wards were rearranged in 1902, the Mayor was invited to represent St.Woolos and was elected, and the fact that he has retained the seat ever since is evidence that his constituents are well satisfied with his services. More than this - his colleagues on the Corporation recognised his services by electing him as Chairman of the Works and General Purposes Committee; Chairman of the Technical Institute and School of Art Committee; Deputy-Chairman of the Education Committee; a member of the Court of Governors of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire; a member of the Central Welsh Board, and the Council?s representative on the Board of Governors of the National Museum of Wales - no mean record for one member. With an eye on the problems which have arisen as a result of the War, he has for some time pleaded for more technical education, so that our young people may be well equipped for the 'war after the war.' That he has to some extent been successful, is evidenced by the large number of munition and other workers who have been trained at the local "Tec.," and that the London Authorities, in the early stages of the War, included the Newport Institute as the only Technical School in South Wales and Monmouthshire where munition and other workers could be trained. Only recently a member of a well-known Newport firm at a meeting of the Newport Chamber of Commerce stated - "If the Newport Technical Institute has done nothing other than the training of young people to meet the new circumstances of the War, it has well justified its existence." When the Welsh National Eisteddfod visited Newport in 1897, Mr. Swash was even then strong on the Art side of the historic institution; and while acting as Hon. Secretary of the Art section of the Eisteddfod, designed the artistic frontispiece of the List of Subjects.
For his services the Gorsedd honoured him with the title of "Arlunydd Casnewydd." Since his election as Chief Magistrate of Newport, he has sacrificed neither time nor labour in pushing forward its many interests. In his Mayoral address he said - "A town without a vision must perish." As with his personal ideals, his Mayoral ideals are high; and there is every reason to believe that, when he discards the robes of office, Newport will have passed another milestone in its progress towards the ideal municipality. In all his duties he is very ably assisted by Mrs. Swash - a daughter of the late Mr. Edwin Holt, a famous wool stapler and originator of public libraries - and a niece of the late Sir Thomas Holt. She is not of the "new woman" type, but has a charm of manner which endears her to all her associates.

List of Newport's Mayors