SWWIAS Programme of Meetings continues into 2023

Firstly, apologies that the publication of this post is a little later than intended, largely due to the horrible flu that’s been doing the rounds this winter and which comprehensively got the SWWIAS web editor. Nevertheless, a few gallons of lemsip later, the Society is pleased to confirm that the current programme of meetings is to continue into 2023.

A programme covering January to April 2023 has been scheduled, following on from the meetings held in Autumn 2022. Full details of the expanded programme can be perused at our Programme of Meetings page. Please note that meetings continue to be held on the amended day of the third Wednesday of each month.

In other news from the past season, with matters returning to normal, the Swansea Local History Book Fair made a welcome return at Swansea Museum on 29th October 2022. It was most pleasant to meet with all the other groups and individuals who had tables at the event, which had last been held in 2019. The SWWIAS table is seen below, with chairman, Nigel Wassell, and treasurer, Paul Reynolds, ready to make a quick sale.

Nigel Wassell and Paul Reynolds sit behind the SWWIAS table with a selection of books, at the Local History Book Fair
Nigel Wassell (left) and Paul Reynolds sit at the SWWIAS table

Recommencement of SWWIAS Meetings Programme

The South West Wales Industrial Archaeology Society has great pleasure in announcing that its programme of monthly meetings will recommence in September 2022.

After the enforced Covid-19 break, the Society has arranged a short programme for the remainder of this year:

21 September 2022: Nigel Wassell will present a talk, The last days of steam in South West Wales

19 October 2022: Paul Reynolds will speak on Fire Engines: The first colliery pumping engines in Swansea

16 November 2022: Professor Louise Miskell will speak on Aspects of Swansea copper industry

The keen eyed will have noticed that the meetings day has changed from the third Tuesday in the month to the third Wednesday, due to hall availability. The venue has also changed due to the closure of Bethel Chapel.

Please note that the evening meetings will now be held at Sketty Community Church Hall, 36 Carnglas Road, Sketty, Swansea SA2 9BP (opposite Tycoch Post Office). They each commence at 7.30pm and are of approximately one-and-a-half hours duration. Carnglas Road is one-way from Tycoch Square to its junction with Gower Road. Sketty Community Church is near Tycoch Square.

The below map shows the location of Sketty Community Church Hall. Off-road parking is available in front of the church hall.

Sketty Community Church Hall location

Please do try to attend these three events. Covid social distancing will still be observed (but masks not compulsory). We look forward to seeing you again!

Merry Christmas and looking forward

What a year it has been. I hope this message finds all members and readers safe and well as we approach the end of this year and head into 2021. Things have certainly been quieter than usual this year in terms of SWWIAS activities, due to the effect of the ongoing pandemic and lockdowns on our programme of meetings since March this year, and sadly the suspension of our meetings will continue until what would have been the end of our current season in April 2021.
We hope to be able to resume our programme and welcome members back to our meetings for our next season commencing September 2021, should it be possible to do so, depending on how events unfold over the coming months. We will keep our website updated with news of our next programme as and when details become known. In the meantime, we will periodically be adding further papers from past Bulletins to the Articles page for the enjoyment of readers while other Society activities remain on hold. In the absence of any other Society news to report at the moment, it just remains to wish all members and readers a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, a happy holiday period to all, and a safe and happy New Year.

April Meeting Cancellation

Due to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, this month’s meeting scheduled for 21st April 2020 has regrettably been cancelled. As this would have been the final meeting of the 2019-2020 programme, the society wishes all members and readers well until we are able to reconvene. In the interim, the website will continue to be updated with any news and announcements as they arise.

AGM Cancellation

In light of the current guidance on Covid-19/coronavirus, the AGM scheduled for tomorrow, 17th March 2020, has been cancelled. Apologies to those who were planning to attend.

A decision regarding the meeting scheduled for 21st April will be made in due course according to the development of the situation, and we will provide updates to members and via this website when a decision has been made.

We hope that our members, readers and their families and loved ones are as safe and well as can be in these difficult times.

The Swansea and Gower Coalfield 1301-1968 : an extended gazetteer

The Society is pleased to announce the publication of The Swansea and Gower Coalfield 1301-1968 : an extended gazetteer by Paul Reynolds. Please see below a description of the book’s contents along with details of how to purchase a copy.

The cover of the Swansea and Gower Coalfield 1301-1968 by Paul Reynolds, depicting a recent colour photo of Scott's Pit, Llansamlet, set against a background of a section of an old map of Swansea in grey monochrome
The book’s cover, depicting Scott’s Pit, Llansamlet, photographed in 2015

The Swansea and Gower Coalfield 1301-1968 : an extended gazetteer

By Paul Reynolds

Swansea has come to be known as ‘Copperopolis’ and for many years it was indeed the centre of the copper-smelting industry in the United Kingdom.  But long before the copper industry arrived Swansea had a flourishing coal mining industry which can be traced back to the Middle Ages.  By the seventeenth century Swansea was one of the largest coal exporting ports in the Kingdom, and in the eighteenth century its coalfield was probably the most productive in Wales.  It was the existence of this well established and successful coal industry that led to Swansea becoming ‘Copperopolis’.

The present work comprises a gazetteer of all recorded collieries both in Swansea itself and on the northern side of the Gower peninsula, in its time an equally important coalfield.  An account of the history of each colliery is provided, presented as a continuous and connected narrative so far as the sources make this possible.  These entries are grouped by sub-region, each of which is prefaced by an introductory section which briefly describes the overall historical trends and the economic development of that region in order to supply context for the gazetteer entries.

The present work makes full use of the well known official records, newspapers and maps of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but it also draws extensively on the records of the various landed estates which owned the mineral rights which were exploited so enthusiastically.  In many cases these manuscript sources clarify the record of the printed sources; they also shed considerable light on the industry in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

A full bibliography and list of sources and an index are included.

Book Details

400 pages, hardback, A4 format.
Price £22.00 + £5.00 p&p (if required).
Copies available at SWWIAS meetings or from the author.

RISW Local History Book Fair

SWWIAS will be attending the Royal Institution of South Wales’ annual Local History Book Fair at Swansea Museum on Saturday 26th October 2019. Entry is free. Please do come and say hello!

Please see the flyer below for an idea of what the day will have in store. More detail about the event can be found at the RISW’s website.

Neath Abbey Ironworks Open Days

We are pleased to share details of the forthcoming Neath Abbey Ironworks Open Days, hosted by the Friends of Neath Abbey Iron Company with CADW, on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September 2019, 10.00am – 4.00pm. Admission is free.

Please click to download the Open Day poster [PDF file], containing further information about the event.

More information is also available from the Friends of Neath Abbey Iron Company’s Facebook page.