Minister gives thumbs-up to copperworks regeneration

Friday 13 June 2014

A major project to breathe new life into Swansea's historic Hafod Morfa Copperworks site has been given the thumbs-up.

  • Picture of the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks site

    Hafod-Morfa Copperworks site

  • Picture of Hafod-Morfa Copperworks tour at launch

    Hafod-Morfa Copperworks tour at launch

  • Picture of local schoolchildren performing at the Hafod-Morfa Copporworks site launch

    Local schoolchildren performing at the Hafod-Morfa Copporworks site launch

John Griffiths, the Welsh Government's Minister for Culture and Sport, visited the site on Thursday June 12 to take a look at all that's been achieved during the first phase of an extensive regeneration scheme there.

The first phase of the Cu@Swansea project being led by Swansea University and Swansea Council has now finished. Work has included the preservation of at-risk listed buildings including the power house and laboratory, the clearance of vegetation and the introduction of pathways.

Artwork has also been introduced as well as an audio trail that tells the stories of people who would have worked at the site in its heyday in the 1850s.

The Cu@Swansea project is funded by Cadw's Heritage Tourism Project, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. It's also funded by the Welsh Government's Regeneration Area programme and Swansea Council. In the last two years, £916,000 of Welsh Government monies have been allocated by the Heritage Tourism Project and the Regeneration Area programme to fund a range of schemes on site.

Mr Griffiths said: "I have been very impressed with the work so far on the Cu@Swansea project. The Hafod Morfa Copperworks are a vitally important part of Swansea's industrial heritage and breathing new life into the site which has been lying dormant for so long will benefit the area in so many ways. It will make a significant contribution to the regeneration of the area and provide excellent opportunities for both local people and visitors to the city to learn more about the history of Swansea as well as protecting a number of at-risk listed buildings."

Cllr Nick Bradley, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: "This is a site that's of significant international historic importance because it once played a pivotal role in the world's copper trade when Swansea was at the beating heart of the industrial revolution. It's a site that's lain derelict for too long but working in close partnership with Swansea University and the Welsh Government means we've started to breathe new life into it. This is vital because we have a duty to protect our heritage for future generations to enjoy and benefit from."

There was also a Living History festival where visitors watched copper being made and struck their own commemorative coins. There was also live music and dance performances, community films and talks on the Welsh copper industry. Other activities included a brass band on the new 'Copper Jack' Swansea Community Boat and talks on the connection between copper and beer. Copper-themed workshops, puppet-making and story-telling was arranged for children.

Visitors also enjoyed the artwork that has been recently installed and hear the noises once generated by the copperworks thanks to an interactive sound exhibit developed by Swansea University. The artwork includes a miniature version of the many dozens of chimneys that once dominated the Lower Swansea Valley in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Have a look at the Welsh Copper website for more information. You can also follow @copperhistories on Twitter or like Hafod Morfa Copperworks on Facebook.