Swansea’s famous Big Apple ice cream shack is now a listed building

Some say it looks like a huge concrete Pac-Man, others associate it with an ice cream and a summer stroll at Bracelet Bay.

The Big Apple has been one of Swansea’s most recognisable landmarks for generations, and now it has been given listed status by Welsh Government heritage body Cadw.

The green and red kiosk joins other grade two-listed buildings in Swansea like St Mary’s Church in the city centre, the J Shed in SA1, and Manor Park Country House in Clydach.

Cadw said it had listed the elliptical concrete building for “its special architectural interest as a rare and unusual example of a seaside refreshment kiosk”.

It added: “Important also for its historic interest for being an iconic feature from the heyday of seaside entertainment and the tourist attractions of Mumbles.”

The kiosk was built in the early 1930s to promote a cider brand called Cidertone.

Others materialised in coastal towns in the UK, including Porthcawl.

Still going strong, the Big Apple on March 24 this year

 

Mumbles historian John Powell said the Bracelet Bay kiosk was the only one left standing.

On hearing about the listed status, he said: “I’m very pleased. It’s a wonderful, popular tourist attraction.

“It gives you a lift every time you see it.”

The Big Apple was shaken to its core when a Ford Fiesta ploughed into it in August 2009, causing extensive damage.

But it was rebuilt and repaired, with 27,000 people backing a campaign on Facebook to safeguard its future.

Bert Bollom, of Big Apple and Mumbles Pier owners Ameco, said: “We are really pleased that something which has been so well looked after has got this recognition.”

Mr Bollom said the rebuild job a decade ago was very testing.

“No-one knew how to do it!” he said.

The rear of the Big Apple

Efforts to have the seaside structure listed were undertaken by local supporters.

The Big Apple has appeared in countless photos, including the wedding snaps of a couple from Baglan.

Claire and Matthew Hughes tied the knot in 2006 and had a picture taken there on the big day.

Speaking at the time, Claire said: “I remember the Big Apple from my childhood — I must have bought many a bucket and spade from there. It is a real part of Mumbles.”

That year, controversially, pranksters painted the kiosk orange.

Belgian waffles were sold from the kiosk when it was rented during the spring and summer by Victor Frunza, who lured customers with his display of 27 national flags.

But it has proved hard for some to make a go of the Big Apple, and Ameco is not offering it out to tender this year because part of the adjacent car park may be needed for storage when pier and foreshore redevelopment work gets under way.

Listed buildings and monuments have three categories of significance: one, two and two-star.

Any change which affects the fabric of a listed building is illegal unless approved by the local planning authority. Routine repairs and maintenance are excluded.

Oystermouth councillor Myles Langstone said: “The Big Apple is one of the most recognisable features in Mumbles, as one of our more unique attractions and having been in place for almost 100 years.

“Of course, when we think about history in Mumbles we immediately think of Oystermouth Castle, but this listing by Cadw recognises the Big Apple’s place in its history.”

And Mumbles Community Council chairwoman Carrie Townsend Jones added: “It is so important to make sure we protect all of our historic buildings and their part in Mumbles’ history.”

Article source: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/swanseas-famous-big-apple-ice-16026017