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Iconic Swansea site given new lease of life

Swansea's historic Powerhouse building within the Hafod Morfa Copperworks site will be transformed thanks to £3,567,400 from the National Lottery.

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The multi million pound grant will pave the way for world-famous Welsh brand Penderyn Whisky to expand - whilst keeping their current base near Aberdare - as a key tenant of the revamped site, which is expected to attract up to 100,000 visitors a year.

Baroness Kay Andrews, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said: "This will be a monumental change for this historic site. The Hafod Morfa copperworks, once a thriving industrial centre, will be given a chance to return to its former glory thanks to National Lottery players.

"It will further conserve the copperworks site by making use of historically significant buildings in a sensitive and sustainable way, while playing a vital role, once again, in the fortunes and history of Swansea and its community."

The site, comprising 12.5 acres on the west bank of the River Tawe, dates back to 1808 and is linked to the city centre by the new 1.7km Morfa Distributor Road.

In its 19th century heyday, copper ore from as far afield as North America, Cuba, Australia and South America was smelted at the site, putting Swansea - or "Copperopolis," as it was fondly known - at the centre of a global web of copper trading connections.

Its multi-million pound transformation will include:

  • The creation of Penderyn's Whisky Distillery, offices and VIP bar in the fully refurbished grade two listed powerhouse building
  • A new-build Penderyn visitor centre with shop, tasting bar, exhibition space and toilets
  • A new barrel store in part of the grade two listed rolling mill
  • A new-build covered walkway connecting these buildings

It will also be home to the Penderyn Experience whisky tour that will encourage people to learn about the site's rich history and global significance.

Swansea Council leader, Rob Stewart, said: "This exciting scheme will create jobs, attract visitors and boost the on-going regeneration of the River Tawe corridor.

"We're determined to work with partners to maximise the river's potential to develop housing, walks, restaurants, water-based activities, landing stations and boat trips between the city centre and the Liberty Stadium.

"This is just the beginning. The transformation of this site is part of a bigger picture. Major transformation now being seen across the city centre includes preparatory work for our 3,500-capacity digital arena as part of the £120m Swansea Central Phase One scheme.

"Today, it's great to see money from the National Lottery - which many people play in Swansea - being used to preserve our heritage at the Hafod Morfa Copperworks."

Penderyn owner, Nigel Short, added: "Penderyn wants to be a part of the regeneration of the copperworks and to repeat the success we already have with our Welsh single malt whisky and other products. These plans are incredibly exciting for us as a business and for Swansea as a forward-thinking city."

Professor John Spurr, head of the College of Arts and Humanities at Swansea University, said: "We're delighted that this exciting and ambitious project has taken another major step forward. It will give an opportunity for more people to learn about Swansea's illustrious copper heritage and provide a home for our work in heritage research, teaching, and public engagement."

Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, said: "This significant investment of National Lottery money is great news for Swansea as it will contribute to the rejuvenation of an area that was once recognised as an important industrial centre. I look forward to seeing the development take shape and see the Copperworks play a key role in the city's future." 

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