Nick - The Swansea Devil
The story of Old Nick is a fascinating one. The wooden icon came into being after a famous architect (so famous I dont recall his name) was snubbed when St Mary's church was rebuilt. The architect was so incesed at God's representatives to decision not to use his Lego skills he switched alliances to Satan and bought some cottages opposite the church, demolished them and built his own building and then carved and mounted Old Nick onto it to keep a constant eye on Jesus's lot in St Marys. Legend has that the architect was said to have stated at the time: "When your church is destroyed and burnt to the ground my devil will remain laughing." And sure enough he was right...
After the Luftwaffe leveled St Mary's during the blitz - it is unsure if Nick was involved in the precision bombing - Nick became unemployed and finding very few job opportunites in the High St Job Centre went into retirement for a few years.
Nick came out of retirement and was mounted on the Whitewalls entrance to the quadrant with the purpose of not only keeping an eye on the re-built St Marys Church but also a new threat... the Evening Post Smuttos!
Nick remained in his new position for many a year but eventually pressure from God's Gang and the Smuttos and the re-building of his new vantage point saw him go into a second retirement where he remains to this day.....but for how long?
Here is a report from the EP which this site believes is amongst the best it has ever printed and agrees with 118%! BRING BACK NICK!
tale of a devil in hiding By David Robers
Many people will remember the Swansea Devil, some even in his original perch opposite St Mary's Church where C&A stands today.
If the wooden sculpture needed a claim to fame, what better than being about the only piece of fascinating street architecture to survive the 1941 wartime blitz when the centre of Swansea was erased?
The wicked character himself vanished during the post-war rebuilding programme and disappeared until some historical detective work resulted in his return and eventual installation in the Quadrant shopping centre. That brought protests from some church people, though others remained impassive, while the refurbished timber troublemaker continued to leer at passers-by.
Old Nick was unseated again when redevelopment of the Quadrant took place with a promise that he would be restored to his perch when it was complete.
That has never happened, and currently far from being replaced the character remains hidden from view almost
For when asked about Old Nick, Alan Wallace, the Quadrant centre manager, revealed that if you look carefully he can be seen peeping out from a lofty perch high above the Whitewalls entrance to the shopping centre.
"He is virtually looking in the same direction that he was originally towards St Mary's," said Alan.
Meanwhile a Swansea photographer with a passion for local history has called for Old Nick to be put on display again.
Roy Kneath, of Mount Pleasant, who has a diploma in local history, said: "When you consider the destruction heaped upon Swansea during the blitz this figure is one of the few surviving remnants of the proud old town .
"Whether people like it or loathe it, it is part of Swansea's heritage.
"I can't think of a better time than hallowe'en to flush out the character and draw attention to the fact that if we are not careful his wicked grin is destined to vanish forever this time."
Roy believes it is very sad that such pieces of Swansea's history jigsaw are being lost. He lists other items that have quietly disappeared, including the bell of the original Swansea Grammar school which once hung in the David Evans store and an ancient horse trough which stood at the top of Walter Road.
"Swansea people seem content to let such things slip away," said Roy.
"Buildings like the Siemens laboratory at Landore and the Mumbles Railway all stand as testimony to that.
"People don't seem to be aware of what is happening.
"The religious uprising when Old Nick was put in the Quadrant some years ago was laughable. The people at St Mary's, which it overlooked, thought it was a bit of fun.
"The Quadrant is an ideal site. It is easily accessible and protected from the weather. If they don't want him he should be put on display in Swansea Museum or somewhere where he will be safe."
For Alan Wallace, who is Swansea born and bred but cannot remember Old Nick on his original building, said: "He has been watching shoppers slyly from a high perch for some time even facing St Mary's Church but we are hoping to find him a safe, permanent spot soon.
"He had to be moved for the redevelopment and we didn't want to replace him in a position where he might be vandalised. Most staff think he is a charmer.
"I am fascinated by how he came into existence. Occasionally someone will ring up and ask where he is, but once we find somewhere he will be returned to view."
Pictured: Roy Kneath with the Swansea Devil.