History and Heritage

The study, interpretation, and representation of the unique interaction that occurred between local and global processes to create the mature copper industry lie at the heart of this collaborative project.

The last remaining chimneys of a Swansea copperworks, Hafod (Tehmina Goskar)All the partners in this project either hold significant collections of material relating to the Welsh copper industry, particularly that of South Wales, or have conducted historical research on the subject, particularly its international dimensions.

This project tests the relationships between history, heritage and urban regeneration by combining the fresh approaches of recent academic research with contemporary issues that have arisen as a consequence of the Welsh copper industry.

How do we interpret this industry in a public context, for example, in our museums, libraries and galleries? How do we raise awareness of the richness of collections relating to copper to new audiences, both academic and public?

Perhaps most importantly of all, how can a project like this encourage better communication between different parties, local residents, visitors, local government and businesses to preserve aspects of this heritage that will otherwise be lost forever? While this last question primarily concerns the physical remains of the industry, such as those that still dot the Lower Swansea Valley, it also concerns the educational importance of understanding this industry and the effect it has had on communities and the environment.

What we will do 

The project takes a holistic approach and will have collaboration at its heart. In addition to its major partners, Swansea University, the University of Glamorgan, the National Waterfront Museum, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, and the City and County of Swansea, we will be working closely with an advisory group of archaeologists, students, local history and community groups, politicians, business people, and heritage organisations from across Wales and beyond to bring about its objectives.

Our programme of initiatives and events is being devised to have a significant impact on all those who take part in them. We hope this project will be a positive influence on practice and policy developments in the fields of heritage and urban regeneration, as well as serving to contextualise and explain the world-significant sites and history of the copper industry, especially those located in the Lower Swansea Valley. Not only will this project contribute to the ongoing development of the knowledge economy of Wales, but it also has the potential to improve a sense of place and cultural identity in the localities in which the copper industry was once situated.

Our programme has included:

Events 2010-2011

Museum Exhibition

  • 2 July-16 October 2011: Byd Copr Cymru-A World of Welsh Copper, National Waterfront Museum, Swansea. A bilingual exhibition presenting insights into the historic Welsh Copper industry, illustrated with photographs, documents, objects and extracts. Based on our latest research on the global domensions of the Welsh copper industry. Free exhibition guides here.
  • October 2011 onwards: Byd Copr Cymru-A World of Welsh Copper. A travelling panel version of the exhibition will tour around various venues in Wales and the UK. 
  • If your organisation is interested in hosting an 8-12 panel pop-up banner style exhibition on this subject please contact us.

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