Restoration hope for Swansea copperworks bridge

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Morfa Bridge, SwanseaImage source, Swansea Council
Image caption,
The 1909 former railway bridge used to tilt open to allow masted ships to pass through

A 110-year-old bridge which once linked two copperworks in Swansea will be lifted by crane next month to see if it can be restored.

One half of the Morfa Bridge, over the River Tawe, used to tilt upwards to allow masted ships through.

Its £750,000 restoration is part of Swansea Council plans to regenerate the former Hafod-Morfa Copperworks sites.

A repair would allow river cruises which start from Swansea Marina to go as far upstream as the Liberty Stadium.

Charles White, chairman of Swansea Community Boat Trust, said restoring the Grade II-listed iron and timber bridge to full working order would boost the area's appeal to tourists.

"It is quite an iconic piece of Swansea's industrial past," he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Image source, Swansea Council
Image caption,
Lottery funding has been granted to help redevelop the abandoned copperworks

Swansea councillors heard there were plans to lift the 1909 former railway bridge on 7 May to see if restoration would be possible.

A weighted drum used to allow one half of the bridge to tilt upwards at the centre to allow ships through.

Mr White said the trust's vessel - Copper Jack - could go as far as the stadium if the bridge was deemed safe to navigate under.

Swansea became known as "Copperopolis" through the success of its copperworks, which were built in 1810.

The bridge fell out of use and was Grade II listed when the industrial site was abandoned in 1980.

The council has secured a £3.5m Heritage Lottery Fund grant to create a whisky distillery, visitor centre and offices as a means to rejuvenate the area.

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