South West Wales

Swansea's Hafod Copperworks wins £540,000 grant

Hafod Copperworks site as it looks today
Image caption The site lies on 12 acres of land near the River Tawe, Liberty Stadium and Parc Morfa retail park

Swansea's historic Hafod copperworks site is to open to the public thanks to a grant in the region of £540,000.

The Welsh government has announced funds to help bring the site, which closed in 1980, back to life.

The money from Welsh heritage body Cadw will be used to restore some of its features and create tourist trails.

The copperworks opened in 1810 and it was the largest copper works in the world during the 19th Century. The site lies over 12 acres by the River Tawe.

The remains of the Grade II listed building is close to Swansea City and the Ospreys' Liberty Stadium home and the parc Morfa retail outlet.

The copperworks was owned by the Vivian family and by 1886, Vivian and Sons was employing 3,000 people, 1,000 of whom worked at the site.

Last year the land was put on the market by Swansea council with the hope of developing a waterfront hotel, restaurant and homes.

The council admitted the response was been disappointing but said the potential for commercial development remained.


Image caption Swansea's Hafod copperworks closed in 1980

In January, Swansea University was named as Swansea council's preferred partner in developing the site.

The university said at the time there was potential to develop some of the buildings into "a significant educational and research facility".

Work could start early next year on the scheme that will include tourist trails, a visitor gateway and an annual on-site event that will celebrate the copper industry and both its local and global history.

Archaeological work will also be undertaken to reveal any of the site's hidden features and interpretation will be added to highlight buildings of importance.

The works will be phased and should be complete by the end of 2013.

The Welsh government is contributing £277,000 to the scheme through regeneration funding and targeted match funding and £244,000 has been provided from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Welsh government's £19m heritage tourism project.

Swansea council has also contributed to the project. Leader Chris Holley said there was a "huge opportunity" for the footfall through the site.

Councillor Holley said: "The Hafod copperworks has largely fallen into dereliction since its closure in 1980 but this project will breathe new life into one of the UK's most important industrial revolution sites.

"We've been working closely alongside Swansea University on plans that will help conserve the site and celebrate its past and this scheme will act as a stepping-stone for other exciting developments in future.

"There's a huge opportunity for footfall through the site because of the worldwide interest in our industrial heritage and the proximity of the Morfa retail park and premier league football at the Liberty Stadium."

In March, a festival was held to mark the 200th anniversary since the first copper ingot was produced at the site.

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