Swansea’s Penderyn attraction taking shape

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

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

Main contractor John Weaver Contractors, based in Swansea, has forged ahead with work in line with government restrictions throughout the pandemic.

Fellow South Wales firm Hayes Engineering & Cladding Ltd has fabricated – and is putting up – the steel framework that will recreate the powerhouse’s original clock tower.

The shell of a new-build Penderyn visitor centre is now up. A new 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.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “It’s great to see the restoration of this historic site leading the regeneration of the lower River Tawe corridor. It’s a demonstration of how seriously we take protecting our heritage for future generations.

“It’s wonderful to see significant progress being made on site – once complete it will be home to a visitor centre and distillery for one of Wales’ best known brands – Penderyn.”

Construction began in summer 2020 and is part of the council’s £1bn regeneration programme that will help see Swansea lead the way out of pandemic.

Neil Quigley, chief operating officer (COO) of Penderyn Whisky, said: “We are pleased to be making progress on this exciting project that will provide us with essential additional distilling capacity as well as a brand new modern and contemporary visitor facility to complement our distilleries in the Brecon Beacons and Llandudno in North Wales.”

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 Whisky and Swansea University – to create the National Lottery Heritage Fund bid.