Lower Swansea Valley Project Records

Scope and Content

Minutes of project committees, working groups and of meetings with individuals and societies connected with the project 1961-1966; reports and papers 1958-1966; financial records 1961-c1965; personnel records 1961-1966; correspondence 1936-1967; press and public relations 1961-1966.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Lower Swansea Valley is sited to the East of Swansea city centre and runs along the valley floor and valley sides of the River Tawe. It was once an attractive valley but due to the local reserves of coal it started to attract the copper smelting industry in the early 18th century. The industry grew dramatically and other metal industries in turn were attracted to the valley, for example those of zinc, nickel, iron and steel and tinplate. However following steady decline, by the early 1960s almost all of the industrial activity in the valley had ceased and a landscape of industrial decay - derelict works and mills, spoil heaps and severe pollution was left behind. The Lower Swansea Valley Project was born out of the desire of Swansea Council and other interests after World War Two, to remove the industrial dereliction and pollution of the valley and return the area to active use. However due to the costs involved it was not until 1961 that the project was able to get under way when several departments of the University of Wales Swansea became involved. The project was sponsored mainly by the Nuffield Foundation, the Welsh Office, Swansea Council and the former Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. Surveys of the valley floor where all the industry had been sited and the valley sides which are mainly residential were carried out in order to get an accurate picture and analysis of the valley in terms of physical environment, social environment and economic situation. A final report was produced in 1967. It recommended that derelict areas in the valley should be acquired by a single authority (ie Swansea Council) in order to allow regeneration and development of the area as a whole. Swansea Council produced a Draft Development Plan and reclamation of sites, levelling of land, introduction of a flood prevention scheme, new roads and river crossing and regeneration of the area has been going on since 1967. Integrated industrial and amenity areas have been created. Research into the valley is still being carried out by the University of Wales Swansea.

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Geographical Names