Local volunteers start work to restore ancient monument

A team of 25 local volunteers have started work to save the Musgrave Engine, one of Swansea’s only scheduled ancient monuments, located at Hafod-Morfa Copperworks.

The Musgrave Engine









The team involves engineers and heritage enthusiasts, including students from Swansea University and Gower College, and will be supported by a number of local companies.

The three month project, led by Swansea University and the Friends of the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks, is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and forms part of wider works to the Musgrave Engine House co-ordinated by Swansea Council. The complete package of works will see circa £330,000 spent on the site, including £180,000 from Swansea Council.


The team’s first task will be to restore the Musgrave Travelling Crane which has not moved for 38 years. This gantry crane will be removed from the building, stripped down, cleaned and painted so it is usable once again for future phases of the restoration of the engine.  Any restoration of the engine would be able to progress once the building is certified as safe.

Alongside the physical restoration work, the project will engage pupils from local schools to create an innovative digital interpretation that aims to restore the sound of machinery to the Copperworks for the first time since the machinery and rolling mills fell silent in 1980.

Removing the Musgrave Engine









The revolutionary Musgrave Engine was installed in 1910 and efficiency was one of the main reasons why Hafod-Morfa Copperworks survived decades after the other Copperworks in Swansea were closed. The very last copper to be rolled in Swansea was powered by the Musgrave Engine.

Tom Henderson, member of Friends of the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks and consultant engineer on the project said: “We’ve been really pleased with the response from interested volunteers over the last few weeks who come from all backgrounds and share our passion for this important piece of our industrial heritage. The engine and its crane have been a sorry sight for years and we are excited at the prospect of bringing them back to life.”

Colin Lewis from CT Lewis who will be hosting the crane for some of the restoration period said: ‘We are a local company and proud of our heritage. We are delighted to be able to support this important project.”

The project team is looking for more volunteers and anyone interested in taking part should contact Stuart Griffin at Swansea University’s College of Arts and Humanities on s.m.griffin@swansea.ac.uk or Friends of Hafod-Morfa Copperworks on hafodmorfacopper@gmail.com

Learn more at the project blogsite

Pictures courtesy of Paul Clement.