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Welcome to Swansea Past, Present and Future, featuring the paintings of renowned local artist Jeff Phillips. 

Lower Swansea Valley Project


Print of Lower Swansea Valley Project.

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Lower Swansea Valley Project.

By the end of the 19th century, the demand for copper, tin and zinc from this region was in decline as more and more countries were building smelting factories closer to where the natural metal ores and resources were found. Other fuels such as oil, gas and electricity were replacing the need for coal.  Many factories and works throughout Swansea Valley became abandoned and left in a state of decay. The demand for materials and ores became less and less, copper, zinc and tin were being processed in the countries that had the ores and natural resources. The import of ores and raw materials had now become too expensive and unnecessary to import. Many of Swansea’s railway stations and docks became obsolete, abandoned eye sores. With all the closures of the works, the ground from White Rock, Hafod, and Landore all the way to Llansamlet was full of toxic, waste and derelict buildings. The soil was black and poisonous and nothing would grow in such toxic conditions. A major clean-up was required and so one of the biggest environmental recovery programs on earth was started. A massive effort was needed to clean up the industrial wasteland and regenerate the land and the River Tawe. The Lower Swansea Valley Project was officially launched on 17th August 1961 to bring about the recovery of this derelict landscape. Thousands and thousands of tons of soil would be replaced, huge mounds of metallic slag would be removed, tall Chimney stacks and old factories would be demolished and buildings levelled. This took years of commitment and hard work. Huge trucks would work around the clock carrying the contaminated waist out and then bringing fresh soil back into the area. Grasses and plants were specially selected that would naturally remove poisons such as arsenic, cadmium, zinc, phosphorous and ammonia out of the soil. During the 1980s many schools, community groups and volunteers planted thousands of bushes and trees throughout Lower Swansea Valley. By the mid 1980s the valley was then in a state of self recovery from a once, scarred and ugly industrial landscape . Today the landscape of Lower Swansea valley is green and returning to a natural state of beauty, but it’s past and it’s regeneration through the Lower Swansea Valley Project, must never be forgotten. 


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