Copperworks Discovery Project 2021

We are excited to announce a new community archaeology project at the world-renowned Hafod-Morfa copperworks, made possible by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We are on the hunt for volunteers! No experience or equipment is necessary, just come along and enjoy digging a piece of Swansea history. To register your interest please email Abbi at

If you missed the virtual launch event on Tuesday 26th October 2021 then you can catch up with a recording of the event on our YouTube channel here.

Don’t forget, the deadline for registering your interest for the archaeological dig is 10am Friday 29th October 2021.

#HeritageFund #NationalLottery #heritageforeveryone #communityarchaeology #industrialarchaeology Swansea Council

Rydym yn gyffroes i gyhoeddi prosiect archeoleg gymunedol newydd yng ngweithiau copr byd-enwog Hafod-Morfa, yn bosibl trwy grant gan The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Rydym yn hela am gwirfoddolwyr! Nid oes angen profiad nac offer, jest dewch draw i fwynhau cloddio darn o hanes Abertawe. I gofrestru’ch diddordeb e-bostiwch Abbi ar

#HeritageFund #NationalLottery #treftadaethibawb #archeoleggymunedol #archeolegddiwydiannol Cyngor Abertawe


Brief history of the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks

View of the Hafod Copperworks – from George Grant Francis (1881), The Smelting of Copper in the Swansea District, from the time of Elizabeth to the present day

During the mid-19th Century the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks employed over 1000 people. Situated in the Lower Swansea Valley, this area at that time accounted for 90% of the world’s copper production. This was made possible by a abundant supply of coal in the Swansea Valley, brought down via the late 18th century canals, and the excellent facilities for shipping, which allowed the import of copper ore from Cornwall, North Wales, South America, South Africa and Australia.

Copperworks in Lower Swansea Valley 1865 Le Tour du Monde
Copperworks in the Lower Swansea Valley 1865 – Le Tour Du Monde

The Hafod Copperworks was established in 1808-9 by the Cornish entrepreneur John Vivian. In 1828 a Cornish firm, Williams, Foster & Co., opened the Morfa works on adjacent land. The works was initially a rolling plant for making bars and plates from copper ingots brought from the nearby Rose Works but smelting is believed to have started by 1835. Both the Hafod and Morfa works amalgamated in 1924 and was subsequently operated by Yorkshire Imperial Metals until it closed in 1980, when it was the last operating copperworks in Swansea.

At least fifteen significant structures, in varying degrees of condition, survive across the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks site. These include the rolling mill (LB 16878) now used as the museum stores, the laboratory building (LB 11690) and the former Morfa Powerhouse and later Yorkshire Imperial Metals canteen (LB 11691). The Hafod Limekiln (11694), Copper Slag Abutment, Pier and Canal Boundary Walls (LB 11692 and 11693). The Vivian Engine House (LB 11695), the Chimney (LB 11696) west of the Vivian Engine House and the Boundary wall for the Hafod Copperworks Canal Docks (LB16881). Finally, the in-situ Musgrave Engine and Rolls (SAMGm483) in the Musgrave Engine House and Chimney (LB 11697).

You can check out some our previous investigations at the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks here!

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