Swansea Copper Stories
The valley was the site of huge environmental changes as a result of the profitable metal industries that began to emerge in the late eighteenth century. Over centuries the river and its landscape was transformed into an incredibly dense production and transport infrastructure consisting of factories, railways and canals. During its heyday, the Hafod-Morfa works was one of many factories to change the landscape in this area. Hundreds of chimneys billowed out smoke of noxious pollutants, including large amounts of arsenic and sulfur swept on the nearby hills. The river Tawe drained pollutants from the surrounding works, which would ebb and flow with the tide. Although the copper industry declined in the 20th century, by the 1960s the Hafod-Morfa area was part of the largest site of industrial dereliction in Europe. Its relatively green and serene appearance today is the successful result of an ambitious and collaborative project of regeneration throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Click on the clips below to find out what the environment was like in this area during the 20th century.
What was the valley like?
Alfred George Clarke describes what the valley was like in the 1930s.
Slag heaps and housing
Matthias Dixon and Mrs Dixon talk about the slag tips in the area, and the quality of the workers housing.
What was your first experience of the site?
Ted Beaumont describes what he thought of the site when he arrived in 1980.
What was the air quality like in the works?
Matthias Dixon discusses the air quality inside the casting shop in the Morfa works in the mid 20th century.
What was the air quality like in the valley?
Matthias Dixon and Mrs Dixon discuss the quality of the air in the valley in the mid 20th century, and the stack that was built to carry the fumes away.
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Do you have stories to share about your experiences of Hafod-Morfa copper works? Or would like to help? If so, please get in touch.