As you travel around Swansea you are likely to see a dark, slightly shiny, textured stone in walls and structures, very often coping stones, or sometimes in lumps on the ground. If you were to inspect this more closely you would see hues of reddy browns, dark greys and shiny onyx black and a texture of swirls and bubbles as you see in volcanic rock. This is copper slag, a by product of the Copper Industry and is likely to have emanated from coppersmelting in the Lower Swansea Valley.
Copper Slag helps to tell part of the story of the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks and other surrounding copper works. It shows how the industry innovated in order to survive, how they turned waste products into valued by-products and how the Copperworks were connected to other parts of the city.
Copper slag was produced as a by-product of the Copper industry. Most of the copper slag was piled up in huge slagheaps on or near the various Copperworks sites (like this one at the end of Aberdyberthie street in the Hafod, but some was poured into moulds directly from the furnaces to make the blocks that are found around Swansea. The slag heaps were removed in the 1960’s and the slag used in construction of foundations and roads.
Over the last few years, The Swansea Copper Slag Project has involved 20 volunteers in locating and recording as much of this copper slag as they know of in and around Swansea. The work was co-ordinated by GGAT and funded by Cu@Swansea Project with funds from Cadw’s Heritage Tourism Project (ERDF and WG funded). GGAT are currently producing a map to show all of the sites and this will be presented soon as a storymap on this page.
The information is also logged on the Historic Environment Record and presented here as a story map. It is hoped that these sites can be added to in perpetuity. If you have seen a site that should be recorded in here please send get in touch.