Swansea Copper Stories

Working Lives

The Hafod-Morfa site provided a variety of livelihoods to the community. There were a variety of jobs and positions, and workers could often expect to do a variety of different work at the same site. Knowledge and professions were often handed down to each generation. Various specialised jobs existed for the processes roasting the hot molten metal, rolling the copper into sheets and hammering them into shape. But this could also include working at the laboratory to test the purity of the copper, administration, or looking after the famous Musgrave engine which powered the site for much of the twentieth century. The site also supported a number of other professions such as carpenters, blacksmiths, fitters, and even someone to collect urine  to clean the copper sheets. Through daily routines, common practices, and anecdotes, these interviews give an interesting glimpse onto the lives of these workers.

Was it hard work?


Were there any stern managers?


What was it like to operate the ferry?


Using urine to clean copper sheets


Which furnaces did you work with?



What was it like during the depression?

Were the workers protected?



How did you empty the furnaces?


What was the pay like?


Who was 'becca pee'?


Fetching jugs of beer for the furnacemen


How did you roll the copper?


Themes