The Adelphi, Swansea

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The Adelphi, 18-19 Wind Street, Swansea

This Victorian building was long known as The Adelphi Hotel. Previously shops occupied the site. In 1854 a tea dealer and grocer called Josiah Cock traded at no.18.

In the later years of the Second World War, the bar was busy with overseas servicemen, camped locally before the D-Day landings in 1944. A young American called Rocco (“Rocky”) Marciano was among them. One night at the Adelphi, he fought with an Australian sergeant who had insulted him. It was said that the Australian made fun of Rocky for not drinking alcohol. Rocky reminisced to a newspaper reporter: “The Aussie finished up in his warm beer. The pub was called the Adelphi. I wrote the name down, just in case the Aussie had anything to say about the matter.”

He became a boxer after the war, being heavyweight champion for four years in the 1950s. In 1951 he beat former champion Joe Louis, who was also based in Wales (in Bangor) during the war. Rocky died in a plane accident in 1969.

In 1907 a farewell dinner was held at the Adelphi for Monsieur Goddard, one of the most popular members of Swansea’s French colony, who was moving to Le Havre to manage a coal business. That year the hotel hosted a “unique gathering” of Cape Horners – men who had sailed the ferocious seas around Cape Horn. One of them, Captain Odie of Briton Ferry, had done so 21 times. A newspaper noted that the menu included “such weird items as jibboom-spirit sauce, salt horse [and] spotted dick”.

The Adelphi Air Rifle Club was based here. In 1910, landlord David Evans laid on a complimentary “supper and smoking concert” to celebrate the club winning the Swansea & District Air Rifle League and Police Challenge Shield. Mr Evans died in 1918 of Spanish flu, which he may have contracted while helping the Red Cross to deal with the epidemic. He had been a special constable and rugby referee.

The building had other guises in the 20th century before the Adelphi name was restored by new landlady Norma Grey in 2000. The bar upstairs is named Marciano and contains photos and other Rocky memorabilia, including personal recollections.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: SA1 1DY

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