A World of Welsh Copper

We are preserving our heritage

Old photo of Hafod Copperworks

The Challenge

The Lower Swansea Valley was at the heart of the global copper trade for over 200 years. When the industry declined in the twentieth century, much of the valley was left polluted and the abandoned copper works were largely demolished.

Only a few buildings belonging to the former Hafod Morfa Copperworks survive as evidence of Swansea’s significance in the story of this global industry.

The Method

For over a decade, researchers at Swansea University have developed a programme of research, community engagement and heritage-led regeneration around Swansea’s globally significant copper industry.

With funding and support from Cadw, Swansea Council, the National Waterfront Museum, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, and UKRI researchers have been able to explore how this heritage can contribute to the future development of the city, and engage local communities.

The Impact

  • Swansea University entered into a formal partnership with Swansea Council in 2012 in order to embark on a heritage-led regeneration of the former site of the Hafod Morfa Copperworks.
  • Research conducted by Swansea University staff has established the global historical significance of South Wales’s copper industry.
  • Research now underpins an ambitious programme of restoration and regeneration in the Lower Swansea Valley which, in turn, has led to a greater engagement with the copper story among the wider public making the ‘copper’ brand an attractive theme for SMEs.
  • The regeneration project Cu@Swansea has reclaimed much of the Hafod Morfa Copperworks site and created a destination for people to visit and understand the site and its history.
  • The project team ensure local school and community groups remain at the heart of the research being undertaken on the Hafod-Morfa site.
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