Swansea Bay Business Club was founded in 1949. The aims and objects of the club as extracted from some of its original documentation are:
“…to assist, as far as possible, the general interest and development of the Town and Port of Swansea”
Some of the founder members of the club included Sir William A Jenkins, C. B. Jones, MBE, W. T. Mainwaring Hughes and John Oliver Watkins.
In the early years the Club arranged overseas visits to kindred organisations with a view to the inter-change of ideas and mutual co-operation. Up to 1975 goodwill visits had taken place to France, Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Spain and Gibraltar and had been most successful with new and valuable business and cultural relationships cultural relationships formed.
In 1969 the Club took part in the inaugural sailing from Swansea’s new half-million pound terminal to the city of Cork in the motor vessel Innisfallen.
In 1971 the Club held a city celebration banquet to mark the creation of Swansea as a city. Guest of Honour was the Right Honourable Sir Edmund Davies, Lord Justice of Appeal and Sir Cennydd Treharne, the Lord Lieutenant of Glamorgan.
In recent times the Club celebrated its 50th anniversary with a Golden Jubilee Dinner held in the Brangwyn Hall on May 1999. The guest speaker was Eddie George the Governor of the Bank of England.
Other major luncheon events that have been held at the Brangwyn Hall have included as guest speakers Gerald Ratner and Carol Thatcher.
The Club has also visited the House of Commons as a guest of Donald Anderson MP, and the Welsh Assembly Government as the guest of Andrew Davies AM.
Swansea Bay Business Club amalgamated with the Business Breakfast Club on 2 June 2004.
Seventy years on from its post-war formation in Swansea’s historic Exchange Building, Swansea Bay Business Club is thriving. Club Ambassador Bruce Roberts talks about the history and evolution of the region’s longest-established business club:
Speaking about how it all began, Bruce- who has played a pivotal role in the Club since 2005, first as Secretary then as Club President 2013-2015, then later in the role of Club Ambassador- said: “You’ve got to remember the club was founded in 1949 in the post-war years. This was a time when rationing was still going and there was massive bomb damage. Swansea was a big port, with heavy industry and copper works; so different to today. I think businesspeople wanted a fulcrum, but also a release too.’
Talking about how Swansea has changed over the 70-year period since the Club’s inception, Bruce says the city is almost unrecognisable: “The city has gone from being a dock city based on heavy industry to a professional and service centre with two large universities and an enterprise zone.”
He’s also proud in the current environment that the Club is pretty much 50:50 men and women too. Plus, now that the reach of the Club has expanded across Swansea Bay, more than 20 per cent of the membership comes from the old counties of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, with venues for the monthly lunches spanning right across the Swansea Bay region, from Margam to Saundersfoot.
Bruce is keen to emphasise that Swansea Bay Business Club is more than just an events membership organisation. He says: “We work hard to give members a voice and we have talked to Welsh Government on issues such as the M4 relief road. There is no doubt that Swansea needs better infrastructure and we are here to make sure that the business voice of Swansea Bay is heard in Government.”
Speaking about the benefits of joining, Bruce says: “There is a real sense of camaraderie, empathy and community spirit among the members and the networking helps people forge new allies which has to be good for business. What I’ve noticed is that people are far more open these days and with each board member hosting a table at every lunch, people are sure to come away with some good advice.”
|1948-1968||Sir William A. Jenkins|
|1968-1976||W.T. Mainwaring Hughes|
|1976-1979||John Oliver Watkins|
|1982-1985||Colonel Vaughan Williams|
|1985-1986||Sir Michael Llewellyn|
|1986-1991||Philip R. V. Watkins|
1949Swansea Bay Business Club was founded.
1969The Club took part in the inaugural sailing from Swansea’s new half-million pound terminal to the city of Cork in the motor vessel Innisfallen.
1971Celebration banquet to mark the creation of Swansea as a city.
1975Goodwill visits to France, Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Spain and Gibraltar.
1999Club celebrated its 50th anniversary with a Golden Jubilee Dinner held in the Brangwyn Hall
2004Swansea Bay Business Club amalgamated with the Business Breakfast Club
2019Club celebrated its 70th anniversary at a Gala Lunch at the Brangwyn Hall
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