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Clock tower reinstated at historic Swansea powerhouse building

A key Swansea regeneration scheme has celebrated a landmark moment.
Credit: Swansea Council

A highly visible clock tower has been reinstated at the historic powerhouse building at the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks.

In the coming months, the restored building and neighbouring structures will be an additional new home for Welsh drinks specialists Penderyn.

The site is being revamped by Swansea firm John Weaver Contractors on behalf of Swansea Council.

Council cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies said: “It’s wonderful to see a new clock tower on this very special old building – the tower will become an iconic new landmark for this site.”

Credit: Swansea Council

Work continues on the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks site that’s due to become a new visitor attraction for Penderyn Whisky this year.

The council scheme will bring new life to the historic site’s powerhouse and outbuildings. An on-site distillery will add to the company’s existing facilities.

The powerhouse roof is well advanced, meaning a weatherproof space for Penderyn’s future on-site distillery. In due course, a clock will be installed.

South Wales firm Hayes Engineering & Cladding Ltd fabricated – and put up – the steel framework that recreates the powerhouse’s original clock tower.

Much of the new-build Penderyn visitor centre is now up. A walkway will link this to an expansive part of the site’s historic rolling mill, where Penderyn will have a barrel store.

The work has been made possible thanks to a £3.75m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales.

Cllr Francis-Davies said: “Great progress is being made on site. It’ll soon be home to a visitor centre and distillery for one of Wales’ best known brands – Penderyn.

“This work shows how seriously we take protecting our heritage for future generations. It’s great to see the restoration of the historic copperworks site leading the regeneration of the lower River Tawe corridor.

“Nearby heritage sites also being saved include the Palace Theatre building and the Albert Hall.”

Construction at the copperworks began in summer 2020. The council aims to hand over the site for Penderyn’s fit-out this year. The scheme is part of the city’s £1bn regeneration programme that will help see Swansea grow.

The Lower Swansea Valley became the world leading centre for copper smelting in the 18th century. The Hafod-Morfa Copperworks site is of international importance, becoming the world’s largest copperworks in the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century.

The council secured the National Lottery Heritage Fund grant for the expansive Hafod-Morfa site’s transformation work, with additional works to other historical buildings in the vicinity supported by Welsh Government Regeneration funding.

The council worked with partners – including Penderyn and Swansea University – to create the National Lottery Heritage Fund bid.