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Major investment to bring Swansea history to life

A castle and a number of church halls are among the historic structures in Swansea that will soon benefit from a major funding boost.

Swansea Council has awarded grant funding worth a combined £1.37m to a number of schemes and feasibility studies as part of a transforming county anchor project being funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Some of the historic structures set to benefit include:

  • Oystermouth Castle, where the redesign and relocation of existing facilities and spaces is being proposed. This would enable the expansion of the castle shop, the accommodation of more visitors and the creation of more exhibition space.
  • The Unitarian Church on High Street in the city centre, where a feasibility study would seek to develop a sustainable use of the building that reflects the needs of the nearby community. The intention there is to provide a mixed development that includes commercial elements and community use. Ideas include a social enterprise café, the sub-division of hall spaces to enable classes and events, and the restoration of the rear garden for the benefit of the community.
  • The York Place Baptist Church in the city centre where restoration and reconfiguration works will take place. The scheme will include the removal of pews in the existing chapel area to create a flexible community space for events, concerts, exhibitions, meals, community support, parties and other activities. The ground floor space could provide seating for up to 200 people in rows, with further fixed seating for another 200 people in the upstairs gallery.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “We have a proud track record as a council for preserving and celebrating Swansea’s rich history, with recent examples including the restoration of the Hafod Morfa Copperworks site to provide a new operational distillery and visitor centre for Penderyn.

“There are many other buildings and structures throughout the Swansea area that are also in need of conservation work though, why is why we made sure grant funding of this kind was made available as part of our Shared Prosperity Fund allocation from the UK Government.

“All schemes to benefit are very worthy of funding as they’ll not only conserve or revive historically significant landmarks, but they’ll also create spaces for businesses, community use and the enjoyment and education of local people and visitors to Swansea for many years to come.”

Grant funding will also be allocated for design feasibility and restoration works at the barring engine in the Musgrave Engine House at the Hafod Morfa Copperworks. The intention is to restore the engine so it can be brought back into use as a working piece of history, helping support the storytelling of the Friends of Hafod Morfa Copperworks.

A feasibility study will also be carried out on the future restoration and development of the Smith’s canal basin and tunnel which once fed furnaces at the White Rock Copper Works site. Led by the Friends of White Rock, this scheme could then unlock further support to restore other historic structures on site, which date back to 1737. These include the dock and quay wall area that has potential to attract leisure boat and water activity in future.