A pretentious title I know, but I do like a bit of alliteration.
As a contribution to these strange times through which we are living I have been putting on my page on Facebook a story a day from my collection of the many oddities I have found from Swansea’s history. Many of them, like the example I have placed below, have never been published before – generally because they haven’t fitted neatly within the books I have written.
Here is one of them, the story of the Swansea Pedestrians
The Swansea Pedestrians – 1895
The Cambrian reported in August 1895 that Edwin Louden was back at his home in Swansea with his parents, after suffering a total physical collapse in Algiers which had forced him to abandon his attempt to walk round the world. ‘He is very ill and is being- carefully treated by a doctor.’ His companion, Herbert Field, had abandoned the adventure in January. They were known as the “Swansea Pedestrians” and they believed that they would be able to fund their ambitious plan by working as they went and by writing newspaper articles of their adventures. They hoped to be in Tibet by 1897 and to eventually write a book ‘illustrated with a very large and varied collection of photographs taken by an Eastman’s Kodak.’ However, the only work they could find when arriving in France was cleaning knives in a kitchen, polishing shoes outside theatres and harvesting potatoes. In November they arrived in Paris ‘with 10d and very hearty appetites.’ By the time he arrived in Algiers, Edwin had walked through France, Spain and Portugal covering 2,200 miles ‘unfrequented by tourists.’
The press felt that it was fortunate that he abandoned the walk when he did in Algiers.
‘Had he gone on to Cairo it is very probable he would never have reached England again – he had planned to walk during the night. His physical strength completely gave way, and he was absolutely forced to abandon a tour upon which he had set his heart to accomplish. To-day he is only a shadow of his former self, but under the care of his parents and the skilful treatment of one of our best local doctors, it is hoped he will be sufficiently recovered to do some slight walking in the course of another three weeks.’
The Cambrian ended by saying that ‘Swansea’s indifference to (his) welfare has been very unkind.’