This volume brings into print for the first time a fascinating historical account of the early years of operation of the first copper-smelting works on the banks of the River Tawe, the district which was, within a century, to become the world centre of a global industry. It reveals the remarkable efforts of pioneering industrialist, Robert Morris, who built a successful business in the face of seemingly insurmountable problems: how to move raw materials around with virtually no road network; how to pay workers’ wages with no banking facilities, and how to overcome the hostility of rival firms in a highly competitive trading environment.
The story is told by Robert Morris junior, son of the founder of the Morris industrial empire. He was a man with a colourful personal life but little direct experience of industry, yet he succeeded in preserving, direct from his father’s letter-books, an account of three crucial years when the business was brought from the brink of financial ruin to a position of strength and security.
This volume, with an extensive scholarly introduction by the editor, unlocks many of the doors to our understanding of why Swansea became an unrivalled centre for copper smelting. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in the copper industry, in industrial entrepreneurship, or in the history of early eighteenth-century Wales.
South Wales Record Society publication no. 23
Edited by Louise Miskell
ISBN 0-9553387-3-5 and 978-0-9553387-3-1 (hardback)