Swansea is a coastal city and the second-largest city of Wales. It lies along the Bristol Channel at the mouth of the River Tawe. During the industrial heyday in the 19th century, Swansea was the center of copper-smelting, earning the nickname Copperopolis. Due to foreign competition, the copper industry collapsed. The port of Swansea also prospered as a port for the anthracite mines of South Wales’ western coalfield. Swansea’s port was linked to the coalfield in the 19th century by a canal built along its valley and railways built during that century. New docks built after 1852 increased the port’s capacity. The coal exports of Swansea peaked about 1913 but virtually ceased by the 1980s. Other nonferrous metals were also produced in and around Swansea, including lead, zinc, nickel, and especially tinplate production, but these industries declined dramatically during the 20th century.
Below are some stunning historical photos that will take you back to Swansea in the 1850s.