Project Summary

ESRC LogoThe Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) awarded Swansea University and its partners £95,000 to raise awareness of the rich heritage of a once internationally-famed Welsh copper industry. This partnership embraced academia, the heritage sector and local and global communities to tell the story of Welsh copper through a national travelling exhibition, websites, social media, 3D animations and a host of events.

Weekly statement of copper purchased, 1912. Vivian Papers LAC/126/J/1 (Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University)Through high-quality research from a range of scholars, the Copper Project explored and communicated the development of Welsh copper as the first fully integrated global industry. It examined its role in multiple aspects including technological innovations, international trade and Atlantic slavery, cultural and social consequences, and its aftermath in reclamation and regeneration.

Vivian and Sons copper ingots (© National Museum of Wales)Situated in the region that was at the heart of the industry, the project sought to have a positive impact on local policy making in urban regeneration, heritage and education. This placed particular emphasis on contextualising the interpretation and care of the extensive industrial archaeological sites of world significance that are located in the Lower Swansea Valley, and contributed to the ongoing development of the knowledge economy in the local area and more broadly across Wales.


Principal Investigator: Prof. Huw Bowen 

Research Officer: Dr. Tehmina Goskar

Welsh Copper in less than 2 mintues

With audio soundtrack, 1:51mins

Key Facts

Impact factors

  • Interdisciplinrary academic-heritage collaborations
  • Influencing public policy on the heritage-led regeneration of Swansea copperworks sites of world significance
  • Powerful knowledge exchange initiatives through exhibitions, free events and online publishing
  • Creation of high-quality, free to use resources for teaching, learning and continuing professional development