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More about Swansea in the 1790s

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Smelting copper in the Lower Swansea Valley in the 1790s. "The town is large and well built, containing a population (rapidly increasing) of nearly seven thousand; the houses, chiefly modem, handsome and commodious. Two expensive breweries, roperies, a fine dry dock, and much shipbuilding, supply occupation for a great number of workmen. Its trade chiefly consists in the exportation of stone coal, iron ore and limestone, all found on the banks of the Tawe, and brought to Swansea by canal. Of the first of these articles about a hundred thousand cauldrons (thirty six bushels to the cauldron) are usually shipped from the port for foreign markets, as well as home consumption."
 "Seven large copper houses, also, at a small distance from the town, smelting annually forty five thousand tons of this metal, and consuming seventy thousand chaldrons of coal, find employment for many coasting vessels, which bring ore from Cornwall and Anglesey, and load back with coal and culm. "

Port Traffic in the 1790s

Year

Vessels

Tons

1768

694

N/A

1794

1757

105007

1795

1787

112907

1796

1741

103560

1797

1897

115045

"Added to these sources of wealth and importance, Swansea enjoys a part of the Baltic and West India commerce, which, united with its home trade, have so swelled its commercial consequence as to put it nearly on a level with Bristol, in respect to tonnage, and superior to it with regard to the number of vessels that visit its quays.The beauty of its situation, and its admirable bathing accommodation have rendered Swansea the resort of many respectable families of South Wales during the summer season: and an excellent hotel has been erected there within these few years, near to the sea for their reception.

Here a fine hard sand stretches away to the South-east embracing within its sweeping recesses the waters of Swansea Bay, and commanding the enchanting scenery of the Glamorganshire coast.

Even now, my dear sir, am I returned from pacing this sandy level, and watching, for the last time, the full-orb’d sun slowly sinking into the western wave. The evening calm and serene; the face of the deep, smooth and tranquil; the distant hills melting into thin air, and from the ling’ring tints of day fading gradually from the summits of the opposite rocks, formed a picture that irresistibly impelled the mind to serious reflection, and produced a natural question in my bosom, whether the wonders, the glories and the beauties of nature, which had displayed themselves during our tour, had in any degree improved my heart as well as interested my imagination."

From the journal of the Rev. Richard Warner, 1799.

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