Dylan Thomas was born in 1914 in Swansea, an industrial
city 25 miles east of Laugharne. Despite the many advantages afforded
him, Dylan left school in 1931 with a most undistinguished academic
record. He went to work as a reporter on a local newspaper but by
December 1932 he had left the only regular employment he had during
his life. His interest lay in the theatre and in poetry. By 1934
his poems had appeared in print and on the B.B.C.. By 1936, he had
published two volumes of poetry, and was well known in literary
By 1936 he had also met the two women who shaped his
life. Margaret Taylor, the wife of the historian, A.
J. P. Taylor, became Dylans most generous patron. Caitlin
Macnamara, a dancer and an erstwhile lover of Augustus John, became
his wife in 1937.
In 1938, Dylan came to Laugharne. The 5 months spent
there were among the happiest and the most productive of his life.
For many years, Dylan and Caitlin drifted, moving when circumstances
became too difficult, or when another opportunity presented itself.
When a new collection of poetry appeared in 1946,
Dylan became the commercial and popular success that he has remained
ever since. From 1949 to 1953 he made four trips to North America
where he was immensely successful. Commissions flowed in and he
commanded massive fees.
Yet his personal life became increasingly difficult,
and his relationship with Caitlin was at breaking point. He died
in hospital in New York in 1953, shortly after the first performance
of Under Milk Wood. He is buried in St Martins Churchyard,
Laugharne. Caitlin is buried alongside him.
In Dylans short life he wrote an extraordinary
amount of letters that amply annotate his broadcasts, filmscripts
and radio scripts, poetry and prose, his colourful and often reckless
life. Yet they also reveal that Thomas was a master craftsman of
poetic complexity and passionate explorations of the body and soul
at the threshold of our multimedia age. To many his poetry and his
prose are among the greatest artistic achievements of the twentieth
century and certainly the most written about poet of the twentieth
DYLAN THOMAS AND LAUGHARNE
Laugharne has surprising artistic connections. Richard
Hughes, the novelist and author of A High Wind in Jamaica,
lived in Castle House, while Charles
Morgan, a prominent writer and critic, with his wife the novelist
Hilda Vaughan, and Augustus John,
the eminent painter, visited regularly.
After a brief visit in 1934, Dylans next visit to Laugharne,
in 1936, was to have lunch with Richard Hughes, together with Augustus
John and Caitlin Macnamara.
In 1938, Richard Hughes found long term accommodation for Dylan
and Caitlin, firstly in "Eros" and then in "Sea View".
Dylan stayed for 5 months and wrote both poems and prose, especially
pieces collected in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog.
In May 1939, Dylan and Caitlin returned to "Sea
View" for several months, and he returned briefly in early
1940. From December 1940 they lived in Castle House, and Dylan wrote
in the summerhouse perched on the old castle walls.
Dylan lived for many years in houses provided by Margaret
Taylor: from 1946 to 1947 in a summerhouse in the garden of the
Taylors house in Oxford and from 1947 to 1949, in a house
in South Leigh, Oxfordshire. In 1949, Margaret Taylor sold the Oxfordshire
house and bought the Boat House.
Water and electricity supplies were installed, and
in May 1949, Dylan and Caitlin moved in. Despite her own precarious
finances and the failure of her marriage, Margaret Taylor provided
a home for the rest of Dylans life.
After Dylans death, Margaret Taylor put the
house in trust for Caitlin and the children. In 1973 Caitlin sold
the house, and in 1975 it was opened as a memorial to the great