Work has begun to restore and transform Swansea ‘s historic copperworks into a distillery and visitor attraction.
Over the next few years, Hafod-Morfa Copperworks in Plasmarl, will be renovated for Wales’ Penderyn Distillery to move in and welcome visitors, and see historic buildings restored.
The distillery plans to open its Penderyn Experience whisky tour on the site to educate visitors about distilling and the site’s history.
Plans for the disused listed site, opposite the Liberty Stadium, include a visitor centre with shop, tasting bar, exhibition space and toilets, along with the creation of a distillery, offices and VIP bar in the fully refurbished grade two Listed powerhouse building.
Other features would see a new barrel store in part of the grade two listed rolling mill, a new-build covered walkway connecting the refurbished powerhouse.
There will also be a new visitor centre, a barrel store and parking spaces. Once finished, i t’s hoped the transformation could attract more than 50,000 people a year.
Swansea Council is overseeing the transformation as part of its plans to regenerate the lower River Tawe corridor. Construction is due to start this summer.
John Weaver Contractors is main contractor for the redevelopment. The company has previously worked on the copperworks site, restoring the iconic Musgrave Engine House and Vivian Engine House.
Terry Edwards, managing director of John Weaver Contractors, said: “We are delighted to be moving on site for this prestigious project which is so close to our headquarters in Hafod.
“Our embedded conservation teams are focused on ensuring existing landmarks and heritage buildings such as the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks are brought back to life and enjoyed by future generations for years to come.
“The local knowledge of our in-house craftsmen and artisans means they understand not only the finer technical details when it comes to conserving buildings, but also the heart and soul of the structures that are temporarily in our care.
“We look forward to partnering with Swansea Council and Penderyn Distillery on what will be another landmark for the city for years to come.
“The copperworks was key to Swansea’s great industrial past; we’re glad to be playing a role in ensuring it offers the city big things in the future.”
Take a tour of the Penderyn distillery:
Deputy minister for housing and local government, Hannah Blythyn, said: “Supporting towns continues to be at the heart of our regeneration work and our commitment to the future of our communities.
“I am pleased to see how Welsh Government Transforming Towns funding is breathing new life into an existing landmark that is rich in history and transforming the waterfront location. I look forward to seeing this building transform and benefit generations.”
Construction work is expected to take place through this year and next, with Penderyn Whisky planning to open there in 2022.
The council secured a £3.75m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant for the expansive Hafod-Morfa site’s transformation work, with additional works to other historical buildings in the vicinity funded by the Welsh Government Transforming Towns funding.
The council worked with partners – including Penderyn Whisky and Swansea University – to create the National Lottery Heritage Fund bid.
The copperworks site dates back to 1809 and comprises 12.5 acres on the west bank of the Tawe.
Copper ore from as far afield as North America, Cuba, Australia and South America was once smelted at the site.