The History of the Branch.
The RSPCA Branch was established by animal-loving volunteers in the Swansea and Neath areas nearly 200 years ago.
The earliest records record from 1871 show that a Mr T. Jeffreys was representing the RSPCA as secretary of the branch.
Sometime Margaret Llewellyn Bevan, affectionately known as Portia, led the Branch for 26 years. Other remarkable characters in the development of the branch and delivery of animal welfare include the Nash family. Inspector Nash was very active in the Swansea and Neath areas, supported by his wife and daughter Pam. They were instrumental in setting up the Neath Clinic which Pam ran for many years.
The first animal centre, was in Singleton Park and was leased from Swansea Corporation in 1935 and was able to house 31 dogs and 18 cats. It was run for many years by Bill Deane who rescued thousands of animals. Bill was awarded the British Empire Medal for his work and became known as Mr RSPCA in Swansea.
The old Swansea Dogs’ Home was leased from Swansea Council and the lease expired in the early 1990s. The branch for many years prior to that had raised money to buy its own premises. In 1994 the branch bought the old Llys Nini farm in Penllergaer. The old farm house was an historic Welsh long house but unfortunately in a very poor state of repair.
It took 3 years to build the Centre and to open. The administration building was built on the footprint of the old farm house and retains much of its character. Llys Nini opened to animals in April 1997 and was formally opened by Alun Michael the then Secretary State for Wales 1999.
In 1997 the animal centre comprised just the Administration Block, Cattery and A and B block kennels. Phase 2 of the build added C block kennels and the Miscellaneous Block and much later the new Inspectors’ cattery and the Ferret House were added.
The Branch has had many names since it was formed, including; In 1906 it was Swansea and District; by 1899 it had changed its name to RSPCA West Glamorgan and has undergone several name changes since, including, RSPCA Glamorgan West and Swansea Branch; RSPCA Glamorgan, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot; RSPCA Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot, RSPCA Llys Nini serving Mid and West Glamorgan, RSPCA Llys Nini and currently RSPCA Llys Nini Cardiff to Swansea.
Llys Nini Farm:
The old farm was a Welsh long house comprised of an animal barn and human living quarters in one building. The door was centrally placed, when you entered Llys Nini, you turned left for the barn and right for the human accommodation.
Llys Nini was special, as unlike other Welsh long houses which had the fire place in the end wall, Llys Nini had a large fire place in the centre of the building with stairs to the hay loft behind.
Llys Nini Farm is recorded as being ancient in the 1507 Quit Claim. Whether Llys Nini was in existence before that is unknown but at least one local person says that he remembers a Roman Fort on the site and if true that could have formed the basis of the later Llys or Court.
The Llys Nini RSPCA Administration Block is built on the foot print of the old house. It is possible that a Roman practice fort existed there and that it was used by Prince Einon ap Owain ap Hywel Dda, in the 10th Century’ He was the Penteulu (translated as head of the family but was probably the leader of his father’s war band) of Owain of Dinefwr, King of Deheubarth in the 960/70s. It is probable that he established a Llys (court) on the site and that it was called Llys Einon or Llys Enniaun in the Latinised form and that in the interim the name has become Llys Nini.
The quit claim of 1507 says the deceased owner was Gwilym Thuy ( probably Ddu) who was a direct descendent Gryffydd Gwyr, Lord of Gower in the 13th Century who was a a descendent of the House of Deheubarth.
Find out more about the ancient history of the site www.gwlad-nini.co.uk