Careers in Libraries and Archives – June 2nd

Research Institute For Arts and Humanities

‘Careers in Libraries and Archives’ 

Dr Katrina Legg, Archivist, Richard Burton Archives, 

Elen Davies, Librarian, Swansea University 

Venue: Glyndwr Room A, Glyndwr Building,

Swansea University

2 June 2015 – 2-3pm  

Don’t miss the upcoming masterclass 

Focused on: Enhancing Employability – Career Development

The session will be informal and will offer a chance to pick the brains of an  experienced working professional and to ask questions and gain advice. 

The session are open to all students and non-students. 

Places are limited.

Reserve your space today: 

Contact Kate Spiller, Project Coordinator:

White Rock Digital Trail Project – Update

An update on clearance at the site:

On 2 April the project team cleared some of the excess vegetation from the river dock. Jean spotted differences in the structure of the dock walls and an underground stream emerging near the back of the dock.

The dock was clearly built in three different styles at three different times. The earliest section, a single wall or quay, is made of mainly undressed stone. The second section extends the quay toward the river with a butt joint. The third section completes the other two sides of the dock and joins the quay extending north along the river bank. The two later sections are in different styles of dressed stone with some infill.

The east corner of the ‘ramp’ is square, the other rounded. The corners are not aligned. These may not be their original forms.

Phone photos are at

For further information visit the project page here or the website here.

The 1736 White Rock lease mentions the state and use of the site at the time the lease was drawn up. I have highlighted evidence of existing structures pre-1736. These are the river dock, the ‘key’, the ‘ruinous’ corn mill, and some possibly derelict houses. It is not clear where the houses were but they would probably have been at or near White Rock on the east side of the river. There is no mention of a ferry. A large part of the lease is to do with giving Bussy Mansell a market and free passage for his coal, including use of the dock.

R.O. Roberts referred to the lease extensively in The White Rock Copper and Brass Works, near Swansea, 1736-1806, published in Glamorgan History Volume Twelve (1981). Roberts corrects some spelling errors and fills some gaps in our own transcription of the lease. The paper concludes with the next important White Rock lease in 1805, which as far as I know we have not examined yet.

Surveys of Gower and Kilvey was published in 1861. It reproduces the surveys carried out in the seventeenth century at the behest of Bussy Mansell and others. The Duke of Beaufort features prominently. There are two chapters on Kilvey, 1650 and 1688. Leaseholders, tenants and land are listed, but there are no maps. I haven’t worked through the survey in detail, but some of the place names in the leases do seem to be present. I have a (very large) pdf if anyone would like to burn some midnight oil.

History of the Port of Swansea (1922 and also on pdf) has various references to the roads, tramways, canals and railways along the Tawe as well as White Rock itself. They are not all accurate but make interesting reading.

Where does this take us? The river dock was complete in 1736, not constructed when the works were built. It was modified over the life of the works, and indeed it temporarily disappeared on the 1897 OS map. The dock was constructed in three distinct stages, starting with what was probably the ‘key’. The dock was in use by Bussy Mansell for transhipment of coal before 1736.

The corn mill and its associated water supply from Kilvey Hill is already known. There may have been derelict houses on the site which were repaired by the White Rock lessees for their workers. They could have been on the site of later houses we know about. From photographs I don’t think any of the later houses date back to the early eighteenth century. It is possible some remains exist under the copper smelter locations, though it is more likely the stone was reused.

An underground stream runs into the dock.

One theory is that there was a small community at White Rock which was abandoned some time before 1736, possibly when the corn mill closed. A tributary may have run into the Tawe and the ‘key’ was built alongside it for loading coal-carrying vessels. At least one building would have been in use, for paperwork and sheltering from the elements if nothing else. The tributary was rerouted along the leet and to its current entry to the Tawe when the corn mill was built in the seventeenth century, leaving an inlet. The ‘key’ was then completed as a dock. Various timelines are possible.

The community may even have had a small boat-building operation, common in Welsh ports and rivers, but there is no evidence for this.

An archaeologist may be able to date the three sections of the dock. Research may identify places, individuals and businesses/occupations at White Rock in 1650 and 1688. The ferry may go back even further . . . Never-ending isn’t it!

John (Project Manager.)

Connected Communities Exchange – June 25th 2015

To be added to our mailing list please email Kate Spiller, Project Coordinator:

AHRC Festival 2015

Connected Communities Exchange – June 25th 2015 

Celebrating, Consolidating  and Expanding Community Research Across the Swansea Valley

Hello everyone,

We have been awarded a grant from the AHRC  to put on an event to celebrate, consolidate and expand community research across the Swansea Valley. We are proposing to run this on 25th June 2015 at the Swansea Museum Collections Centre.

This event creates an opportunity to ask how you, existing and aspiring community groups, historians and researchers, wish to engage with industrial heritage in and around the Swansea Valley in the future.

The event will, celebrate existing research, strengthen networks, and set an agenda for future community historical research in the Lower Swansea Valley. This will inform future funding bids and specifically a forthcoming application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a living history laboratory at the Hafod-MorfaCopperworks. It will address the following questions.

•             How would you like to celebrate, consolidate and expand the portfolio of community research completed to date?

•             How can the development of a living history laboratory facility at HMCW facilitate further community history research in the Swansea Valley?

•             How can community based research contribute to the heritage led development of the HMCW?

•             How can digital and cultural innovations expand the reach and impact of community heritage projects and research?

A major part of the day will be workshops to explore how research and community projects might develop around key themes such as the following, which we have extrapolated from existing community research interests.

•             Movement of goods and people

•             Human Impact, disability and human disaster

•             Conservation and preservation of the physical and natural landscape

•             Community, social change, faith and identity

•             Identity, achievement and aspiration

Please download an agenda for the day and the registration form here:

Please return the registration form to this address by 5 pm Monday June 15th 2015.

We hope you’ll be able to join us.

Best wishes,