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Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - AROUND BRITAIN -

Al­ways re­mem­ber Welsh sur­names are patronymic, and peo­ple with the same sur­name are not nec­es­sar­ily re­lated. Parish reg­is­ters for Wales, in­clud­ing the ones looked af­ter by West Glam­or­gan Ar­chives Ser­vice, are all avail­able on Find­my­past. Ac­cess to both Find­my­past and Ances­try is funded ev­ery year by the Welsh Govern­ment for Welsh ar­chive ser­vices and li­braries. An­drew Dul­ley says: “Swansea was known as Cop­per­opo­lis be­cause of the im­por­tance of cop­per smelt­ing to the town. Al­though the ore later came from An­gle­sey and South Amer­ica, the cop­per was ini­tially sourced from Corn­wall, and it was a Cor­nish fam­ily, the Vi­vians of Ken­wyn and Truro, who were in­stru­men­tal in de­vel­op­ing the in­dus­try here at their Hafod Works.

“There were many other smelt­ing works as well, for the man­u­fac­ture of steel, tin­plate, spel­ter and brass, and a va­ri­ety of chem­i­cal works as a sup­port in­dus­try. Swansea’s works were con­cen­trated in the Swansea Val­ley, be­tween Mor­ris­ton and the docks. Mean­while, a con­stant sup­ply of coal was needed to fuel the works, and col­lieries were dug across the re­gion.”

Ex­pand­ing the docks

Swansea’s docks ex­panded through­out this pe­riod. The North Dock was built in 1852, fol­lowed by the South Dock (1859), Prince of Wales Dock (1881), King Dock (1909) and Queens Dock (1920). An­drew says: “We hold a se­ries of ship­ping reg­is­ters with de­tails of the vi­tal sta­tis­tics of the ships reg­is­tered here, and also many thou­sands of crew agree­ments record­ing the peo­ple who sailed in them.”

The 20th cen­tury saw the grad­ual clo­sure of all the works in the Swansea Val­ley, leav­ing the Mond Nickel Works at Cly­dach and the Port Tal­bot Steel Works as a re­minder of how things once were. Un­for­tu­nately, much of the doc­u­men­tary ma­te­rial re­lat­ing to the smelt­ing in­dus­tries has not sur­vived.

How­ever, you can find out more about the Cop­per Busi­ness Ar­chives col­lec­tion, pre­served at Swansea Univer­sity’s Richard Bur­ton Ar­chives, via the ded­i­cated web­site welsh­cop­per.org.uk.

West Glam­or­gan Ar­chive Ser­vice is a joint ser­vice for the coun­cils of the city and county of Swansea and Neath Port Tal­bot bor­ough. The records held here

Swansea's North Dock was the lo­ca­tion of a se­ri­ous rail­way ac­ci­dent on 29 Novem­ber 1865

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