Oral History collection: Mathias Dixon (born 15 Jan. 1906) interviewed by K.R. Morgan and E.C. Williams about Early life and schooldays in Plasmarl; school trips; coalminers from local pits - Mynydd Newydd, etc.; work as copperman in Hafod and Morfa copperworks.

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 216 TH 63
  • Dates of Creation
      15 Feb. 1978
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 audio recording

Scope and Content

Track 1. [00:00:05] General: Kevin Morgan and Colin Williams introduce Mathias Dixon, born 1906. [00:00:16] Community: Mr Dixon gives his family background and early life, including his Grandfather dying of Cholera and his Father's work as a Farrier. [00:03:35] Community: Mr Dixon describes being part of a family of 15 living in a 4 roomed house, and how his sisters went into domestic service at age 14. [00:04:53] Community: Mr Dixon describes his Mother's background. [00:06:16] Community: Domestic life and bath time in Millbrook Street. [00:07:44] Education: Mr Dixon describes his schooling in Plasmarl. Also how his brother was taken out and put into work despite being able to progress. [00:10:43] Community: Recreation time as a schoolboy, including swimming in rivers and canals. [00:11:40] Community: The importance of Chuch to the family, including the size of congretations and memories of vicars, such as Reverands Morgan-Jones and Watkin-Morgan. [00:14:10] Industry: Leaving school and starting work, alongside his Father, in the Morfa works. Includes the journey to work. [00:17:24] Industry: Working in Charles's Bakehouse part-time as a schoolboy. [00:19:25] Community: Lack of holidays during childhood, Sunday School trips on the canal and going on long walks with his Father. [00:20:56] Transport: Catching trams in Castle Street and going to Ynysforgan. [00:21:59] Community: Going blackberrying in Pwlldu. [00:22:47] Community: Sunday School trips on the canal. Includes Mrs Dixon's family links to the horses used to draw the barges, and the horses falling in the canals. [00:28:01] Transport: How the barges and steam engines were used for transporting coal. [00:34:11] Industry: Collieries in the area, i.e. Mynydd Newydd, Tir Doncyn, Copper Pit, etc. Also issues with water and flooding. [00:38:45] Industry: Places that other family members worked. [00:39:29] Industry: Mr Dixon describes more jobs that he did in the Morfa works and gives details of the types of furnace that he worked with. [00:49:33] Industry: Seniority in the Morfa works during his time there. [00:49:56] Industry: More details of the manufacturing process. [00:51:06] Industry: Wage levels around 1939 and comparisons with other workers. [00:53:10] Industry: The physical and emotional toll that heavy industry inflicted. [00:54:00] Industry: Lack of clothing provided by the companies and the value of a good apron(!). [00:54:59] Industry: The positive aspects of working at the Morfa works. [00:55:30] Industry: Relations between workers and management. [00:56:13] Industry: Union activities, including weekly meetings in the Elysium cinema in High Street. [00:57:10] Industry: A week long strike and long periods of unemployment due to lack of orders in the 1920s and 1930s. [01:01:20] Industry: Ownership and organisation of the various Copper and Brass works in the Swansea area. [01:02:47] Industry: Pollution from the Swansea industries and the Morfa stack (chimney). [01:07:38] Industry: Mr Dixon gives his views on what he thought of the factory owners and the housing they created and the 'truck' system. [00:70:29] Community: Doing the grocery shopping as a boy, using the bakehouse to bake bread. [00:72:30] General: Recording ends.