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British Industrial History

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Lockwood, Morris and Co

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'View of Fforest Copper Works, Swansea', published by Thomas Rothwell, 1791. Displayed in the ceramics section of Swansea Museum
Detail from 'View of Fforest Copper Works', Swansea

1727: Richard Lockwood (a merchant from London) and Swansea entrepreneur Robert Morris.[1] took over the Llangyfelach copper works at Landore. This had been established in 1717 by John Lane and John Pollard, but became bankrupt in 1726, a victim of the South Sea Bubble.[2]

Lockwood, Morris & Co built their Fforest (or Forest) Copperworks between 1747 and 1752. Production began 1749 when the old works at Landore closed. The architect was William Edwards. There were four unusual circular 'pavilions' each containing four reverbatory calcining furnaces, disposed around a central octagonal refinery. Originally the works was connected by a network of basic coal-roads. There was also an underground canal, the Clyn-du. [3]. The illustrations above show part of the works and the Beaufort Bridge, designed by William Edwards. Out of the picture, on the right, was the Lower Forest copper rolling and battery mill designed by John Padmore. It may be significant that the crane shown in the picture closest to the bridge bears a close resemblance to Padmore's crane at Ralph Allen's stone wharf in Bath.

1786: 'A Letter from Morriston, in Glamorganshire, dated September 2, says, "A dreadful Explosion, as loud or louder than the heaviest Discharge of Artillery, took Place in Messrs. Lockwood, Morris, and Co's. Colliery, occasioned by a Quantity of inflammable Air which had been collected in the main Street, and which one William Young, at the Head of a Gang of Colliers, had set Fire to with a Candle, not conscious of the Quantity that was collected ; by which Accident the above Man, with four others, were killed on the Spot, one Man had his Thigh and another his Leg broke, and two or three more were much burnt and bruised.' [4]. The colliery was at Landore.

Note: An outstanding account of the copper industry of the Swansea area, with much information about Lockwood, Morris is provided in Copperopolis by Stephen Hughes.[5]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'A World of Welsh Copper' website
  2. [2]Wikipedia entry for John Lane
  3. [3] The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust website: Historic Environment Record' - Fforest Copperworks
  4. Northampton Mercury, 9th September 1786
  5. 'Copperopolis: Landscapes of the Early Industrial Period in Swansea' by Stephen Hughes, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, 2000