Welcome back – “Dai Sam” returns to St Helen’s

Supporters returning this autumn to St Helen’s will be able to enjoy a brand new display of Swansea memorabilia at the club. For the past 12 months the old cabinets have been stripped back to the wood, renovated and refilled with new themed displays. The last one has just been completed and we are pleased and proud to announce that the international jersey and the cap collection of Swansea and Wales forward David Samuel  is now featured in a display of its own.

On display is the jersey  “Dai Sam” wore in 1891 during his first appearance for Wales at Llanelli, against Ireland 130 years ago. He went on to play in Wales’s first ever Triple Crown winning side of 1893, wearing the same jersey. With the help of the Samuel family in Swansea, the Swansea RFC Memorabilia CIC have put together a display of memorabilia from the time Dai and his brother Jack Samuel played as forwards for the club.

Speaking on behalf of the Samuel family, Chris Samuel commented: “Swansea RFC have a rich sporting and social history and now, from first-hand experience we can say that the display at St Helen’s is well worth a visit. Shirts, caps, clocks and watches, programmes, cups and other memorabilia, domestic and international are on display, covering very nearly 150 years of rugby history, the players who made it and their stories. the stories come from our own community as we in our family are aware, but also from all around the world, sports being the common thread. The informative historical commentaries and information boards are helpful and put the displays items into context.

Having been guided by the archivist through the aims and future aspirations to continue bringing the collection closer to the community, we were more than happy to loan the items to the St Helen’s Archive and were proud to see them ‘where they belong’ – in a sense where they originated from in the first place.

In doing so, we have learned so much more as a family, about our great-grandfather David Samuel and his brother Jack and their playing careers both for Swansea and Wales. I am sure they would have approved.”

JY121: Dai Samuel’s Welsh Jersey 1891-93

The Samuel brothers played in the pack for Swansea between 1889 and 1893. It was a successful period for the club with back to back Welsh Championships (‘Premiers of Wales’) under skipper and Welsh cap Billy Bowen and Dai Samuel’s jersey and caps form the centrepiece of a display highlighting that success and his role in it.

This completes the final segment of the lengthy main display cabinet, which now contains some permanent displays and some that will be changed in due course to allow other material to be exhibited from the huge treasure trove that is the St Helen’s Archive.

The addition of the Dai Samuel jersey and caps to the archive bring back to life one of the earliest periods of success for the Swansea club and we are very grateful for the long term loan of these items that have been in the Samuel family for so long. In bringing the Dai Samuel collection to the archives the family have ensured that the wider community will be able to enjoy the sight of what is the oldest jersey in the collection and a reminder of Wales’ first ever Triple Crown success.

The participation of the Samuel family in this project has highlighted the value of sports in bringing people together with a common thread. “Dai Sam” and his brother Jack would have been proud!

To see the whole display and the other themed displays on show, you will have to come to St Helen’s.

There is much work being done to prepare St Helen’s to operate again as a club venue, so watch this website and our other social media hubs for news of the opening up of St Helen’s for business.

 

OT073 Feb 1891 – the oldest image of the ‘All Whites’ playing a match.

OT132 Billy Bowen’s clock gifted by the people of Swansea – Welsh Champions 1890-91.

CP038 Dai Samuel’s Wales cap 1891

OT026 Harry Bevan’s Presentation watch, Welsh Champions.

Swansea & Welsh team photos 1889-93.

 
   
The renovation project:
From a wish to better protect the memorabilia and better inform the community about our wonderful collection, came the project to renovate the long set of display cabinets at St Helen’s. beginning on 26th May 2020, tired old backing cloth and curtains were removed. Repairs to the structure were carried out and new approved materials fixed for a ‘clean’ background that would enhance the collection housed within.
 
Each display was carefully chosen and researched. Some have been deemed permanent by the club management as cornerstones of our history.  Other temporary displays will rotate with new subject matter and we encourage the public to engage in the choices ahead as we look to keep the displays ever fresh and interesting. The large story boards give overviews and smaller information cards aim to entice the curious observer to closer inspection.
 
In tandem with this work is another project, to build an online website as a reference point, open resource and educational tool for schools and the wider community. We are working hand in hand with Swansea University to record and upload more and more of the unique collection at St Helen’s. we will also be looking to restart the popular and much loved Sporting Memories fortnightly sessions at St Helen’s as local restrictions are relaxed and in line with government guidelines. If you haven’t been to one yet, come and join us.
 
HEY! If you would like to find out more about the St Helen’s Archive, what we do and the exciting projects going forward, email us at [email protected] If you think you would like to join us and help discover, protect and describe this amazing collection, we are always pleased to welcome new volunteers and have a wide variety of roles you can choose from as we bring the collection closer to the community.

Stripping out the old cabinet furniture.

New covering delivered.

Recovering and making good.

Museum approved storage methods are used to protect fragile items.
All new and waiting to be populated again. Every item is recorded and given its own location

 

 

TEAM P W D L PF PA PTS
Aberavon 2 2 0 0 70 31 10
Llandovery 2 2 0 0 42 15 8
Carmarthen Quins 2 1 0 1 48 36 5
Bridgend Ravens 2 1 0 1 36 56 4
Llanelli 2 0 0 2 35 64 1
Swansea 2 0 0 2 19 48 0