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Sunday 15 Sep

The History of Killay House

It’s 2021, and on the main road where Sketty becomes Killay, passed the petrol station on Gower Road, now stands a housing estate.

What you may not know whilst on your daily walks along this road is that this is where a mansion once stood, of 365 Gower Road. It was often referred to as The Orphanage, its name was Killay House.

The mansion was built in open countryside in 1878 – 80 by Morgan Bransby Williams, who was a civil engineer. After the completion of many railway projects in Russia, he retired at the age of 45 and returned to South Wales where he later became the director of Swansea Bank, later becoming the Metropolitan Bank of England and Wales in Wind Street.

Guests at Killay House in 1896 included the Home Secretary and future Prime Minister Herbert Asquith. Morgan Bransby Williams died aged 89 in 1914, and was buried in Penmaen churchyard.

After his widowed passed away in 1922, Killay House’s upkeep became difficult following wartime losses and taxation.

It was let for a few years before being sold in 1926 to the Swansea Orphan Home for Girls. The purchase was aided by a bequest from Roger Beck, philanthropist and steel magnate who had died in 1923.

During the Second World War an Air Raid Precaution post was sited there, and after a cessation of hostilities, responsibility of Killay House was taken over by the National Children’s Home, with the 21 girls gradually being joined by boys to make a family group of ten children each.

In 1985 the Children’s Home closed and the house was used for respite care for children with additional needs. It eventually became uneconomical to run and was put up for sale. In 2003 the mansion was demolished and the houses of Stephenson road, Millwood Gardens and St Nicholas Court were erected.