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Copperopolis: Regenerating and Transforming an Industrial Landscape

Following the decline of its industries in the twentieth century, the Lower Swansea Valley became a by-word for post-industrial blight. Dereliction and high levels of toxicity in the landscape gave rise to the view among successive generations of Swansea residents that their industrial history was best obliterated.  Consequently, little survived of the area’s copper works and there was no interpretation to inform public understanding of the industry’s past.  Swansea historians Huw Bowen and Louise Miskell have generated new appreciation of Swansea’s copper-smelting heritage, with the location of former smelting works now the target of a heritage-led regeneration plan shaped by their research.

A programme of public engagement persuaded key partners in local government to preserve its cultural heritage. A multi-agency partnership of policy makers, heritage practitioners and historians has since formulated a development strategy for the internationally significant Hafod-Morfa copperworks at the heart of Swansea’s former smelting district.  Regeneration grant income totalling £1,084,000 has been used to secure its 12 listed industrial buildings and to secure visitor access to the site.

“Plans for the Hafod Copperworks in Swansea are a very good example … [of] how heritage can work in creating sustainable places for the future.” Head of Regeneration and Conservation, CADW

Image by: Aerial view of the former Hafod-Morfa Copperworks – Crown Copyright

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