No Sign Bar, Swansea
No Sign Bar, 56 Wind Street, Swansea
This building has a long history in the wine and spirits trade. It dates from the 17th or 18th century, and the wine cellars are said to be even older. It was not required to display a sign, like ordinary public houses, when it was licensed as a wine bar, and came to be known as the No Sign Bar.
The No Sign Bar was the prototype for the “Wine Vaults” in Dylan Thomas’ short story The Followers.
The wine and spirits business here was in the same family through most of the 19th century, having been established in 1830 by William Clarke. His nephews worked there and eventually ran the business. One of them was Frederic Evan Williams, an art lover who had taken part in amateur productions at the Theatre Royal, which stood in Temple Street. When he died in 1901, the Cambrian newspaper reported: “In Wind Street, a particularly familiar figure has now passed away, much to the regret of a host of friends, among whom can be included the very best known families of Swansea and district.” His son Fred continued the Williams & Co wine and spirit business on the premises.
Other trades were practised in the building. In 1908, George Ace & Co was granted a licence “to store carbide of calcium” at 56 Wind Street. Calcium carbide was used industrially and as lamp fuel in mines and on early cars.
Postcode: SA1 1EG View Location Map