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Where is the site?
The Hafod and Morfa Copperworks site is on the west bank of the River Tawe in the Lower Swansea Valley, between the Neath road and the A4217. It contains the Landore Park and Ride car park and neighbours the Liberty stadium.
Why is the site so important?
The site is the last remaining copper works and metal works site in the Lower Swansea Valley, which was once the centre of the international trade in copper, the world’s first globalised industry. Copper was transported from Cornwall Anglesey, Cuba,Chile, North America Australia and Europe to Swansea and then smelted copper was shipped back out to Europe,India,China,Japan, Africa, and North America.
It is of local as well as international importance and many Swansea residents either worked at vthe site or have ancestors who worked in the copper industry.
What is the plan to enhance the site?
The first stage, running until December 2013 and funded by the Heritage Tourism Project is to start to bring the site back into use as a place that people want to visit, whether Swansea residents or visitors and make sure that anybody who is interested can get involved in some way. Plans include;
- Protecting some of the listed buildings
- Clearing vegetation to open up the site
- Establishing walking trails around the site
- Installing interpretation and information
- Community archaeology digs
- On-site events
We’ll be doing a feasibility study in early 2013 to inform future applications for funding.
The long-term aim is to preserve and bring back to life the buildings to protect their central role inSwansea’s history by developing a vibrant, multi-purpose place for work, education, leisure, and commercial activity, the nature of which will be informed by the feasibility study.
Where are funds coming from?
The Welsh Government is contributing £277,000 to the scheme through the Swansea Regeneration Area programme and the Targeted Match Fund. A sum of £244,000 has also been provided from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Welsh Government’s £19m Heritage Tourism project. The City and County of Swansea is providing £20,000.
Who is responsible for the site?
The site is owned by the City and County of Swansea. The funding to develop the site has been won by Swansea Universit, which is involved as the Council’s preferred development partner.
Why is Swansea University involved?
Swansea University is uniquely positioned to provide a highly innovative and very real interplay between history, science, and heritage that can be most effectively advanced by focusing on the copper industry in general and the Hafod site in particular. A digital arts/science hub will be located on the site in what might be described as a ‘Living History Laboratory’ (conceptually connected with the existing Morfa Laboratory Building). A range of digital, virtual reality, and hand-held mobile technologies being developed within the University can be applied to the interpretation of Swansea’s key contribution to the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of the modern global economy.
Swansea University has close links to the site and the Lower Swansea Valley. In 1960 the University established and led the Lower Swansea Valley Project which transformed the area from being the biggest industrial wasteland in Europe.
The Hafod and Copperworks was established by the Vivian family who also built Singleton Abbey, which they donated to the university in the 1920’s.
How can the local community be involved in the project?
We want to make sure that this site retains its function as a place for work and activity that Swansea residents can be involved with and benefit from.
The broad vision is for a vibrant site to benefit all sections of the Swansea Valley community. We also want to make sure that people can be involved actively and meaningfully in the process. Funds spent on the regeneration can be used to engage schools and provide training and work experience for people not in employment education or training.