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Welsh tours / travels / migration (18th-20th C.)

A collection of nearly all published tours around Wales, from the 18th century to the 20th century, plus a range of works written by and for migrants from Wales to America and Australia. This constitutes a substantial range of works – from early 18th century discussions on the ‘sublime’ as it relates to the natural world, to 20th tourist guides.

The collection comprises 18th and 19th century travel books, published diaries and personal accounts of visits to Wales, with a others concentrating specifically on North Wales, South Wales or the Marches. Guide books from the period provide information on Wales, either as a whole or for individual regions and localities such as Aberystwyth, St Davids, Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil, Conway, Caernarfon, Snowdon, and the Wye valley. As well as providing interesting perspectives on the landscape of Wales, these travel books and guides contain valuable information about many aspects of Welsh life, social organisation, agricultural practices and trade, communication routes, and culture. They often preserve stories about leading landowning families and local folklore and traditions. Those relating to the south provide an invaluable insight into the progress and impact of industrialisation in the period. The collection also includes nearly 100 volumes of 20th century travel books and a similar number of general guides and guides to specific locations. There is also an extensive collection of picture and photographic guides to Wales and a handful of travel books written by European visitors to the country.    

The Welsh migration material includes many accounts of travel and the emigration experience. The bulk of these books relate to the USA and Patagonia, but a number of other countries are also represented, including Australia, India, Nigeria, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Russia, China, and the West Indies.

Date range:  18th-20th century

Significance:  Significant in Wales and the United Kingdom

Size: c. 600 printed works and 100 microfilm facsimiles.

Languages:  English, Welsh

Keywords:  Wales tours, travels, migrants, America, Patagonia, Australia.

Notes: A very substantial collection of historical travel writing works is held across several collections in the Humanities, of which the Welsh tours collection is one of the strongest. See our research guides for a full listings of Welsh travel works, and Welsh emigration works.