Contains draft, unexecuted and copy deeds, with associated law papers, correspondence and plans relating to Strick and Bellingham's (solicitors) professional duties on behalf of one of their most prominent local clients, Messers. Vivians and Sons, particularly in relation to Vivians and Sons' mineral and industrial properties.
Strick and Bellingham Collection
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
In c1800, John Vivian came to Swansea from Cornwall and set up a copper smelting works at Penclawdd, Glamorganshire. In 1809, the works moved to Hafod. The company of Vivian and Sons was established and operated both the Hafod works and the White Rock Copper Works in the Lower Swansea Valley. The White Rock Copper Works were established in the Lower Swansea Valley in 1737 by John Hoblyn. After various operators, they were operated by Williams, Foster and Company and Vivian and Sons until 1870-1874 (working lead and silver), and just Vivian and Sons c1874-1924.
By the 1830s, Vivian and Sons held a 20% share in the copper market, rising to 27% in the late 1830s.In 1835, John Henry Vivian, John Vivian's son, introduced zinc smelting, and in 1838 the firm took over the smelting works of the English Copper Company at Margam. In 1842, John Vivian's grandson, Henry Hussey Vivian entered the business, and improved the art of zinc smelting by the introduction of new furnaces and helped to develop the firm's collieries.
Demand for non-ferrous metals rose in the 1880s and 1890s as copper was used in the generation and transmission of electricity, which ensured the growth of Vivian and Sons. They secured their own ore supplies and invested in mining, but they mostly turned out to be failures. In the 1890s-1900s, traditional smelting companies such as Vivian and Sons suffered as competition from companies working with their own sources of ore supply.
Vivian and Sons became a limited company in 1914, and although they made large profits during World War I, they suffered heavy losses afterwards in the post war depression. In 1924, Vivian and Sons amalgamated with the other major copper smelting firm in Swansea, Williams Foster and Company and Pascoe Grenfell and Sons Limited, to form British Copper Manufacturers' Limited. This was taken over in 1927 by Yorkshire Imperial Metals Limited, a joint company of Yorkshire Metals and Imperial Chemical Industries Limited (ICI).
The Vivian family were an influential family in Swansea and owned both Clyne Castle and the Singleton Abbey estate, which was the Swansea home of the Vivian family, After the death of Henry Hussey in 1894 the Vivian family's links with both Swansea and Singleton Abbey began to loosen, especially after a terrible fire at the Abbey in 1896. Finally the house and estate were sold in 1919.
Divided into 5 subfounds; partnership and employment agreements, mineral properties, industrial properties, miscellaneous properties, manufacturing agreements.
Conditions Governing Access
Access unrestricted unless stated otherwise.
Deposited by Messers. Strick and Bellingham in January 1986.
Finding aid encoded by Julie Anderson April 2003 with reference to Vivian and Sons, 1809-1924: A study of the Firm in the Copper and Related Industries by Robert R Toomey (London: Garland Publishing Inc, 1985).
Other Finding Aids
A paper finding aid is available.
Conditions Governing Use
A photocopying service is available. Contact repository for details. No publication without written permission from the Archivist.