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Catherine Zeta Jones and the ZETA

Above: Catherine Zeta Jones and below Henry Bath's ship the ZETA.

Swansea born actress Catherine Zeta Jones, the star of The Mask of Zorro and Entrapment carries a little bit of Swansea's history around with her in her unusual middle name. 

Her middle name Zeta has its origins in family connections to the famous nineteenth century Swansea copper ore trading fleet of Henry Bath.

Henry Bath and sons operated a number of ships transporting copper ore from Chile to the many copperworks of the Lower Swansea Valley. Swansea was the centre of the world's copper production by the 1860s and Henry Bath's ships were well known along the trade routes of the Atlantic.

Most of Henry Bath's ships were named after the letters of the Greek alphabet, and the Zeta was the pride of the fleet for a number of years.

The Zeta was built in 1865 in Glasgow by Alexander Stephen. She was famous for being the first ship in the port to be fitted with an auxiliary steam engine and was renowned for her fast passages to the South Atlantic. Although comparatively small, copper ore barques such as these were sturdily built to withstand the severe southern Atlantic weather and the crude dock facilities of Chilean ports. By 1872, she had been sold off from the Bath's fleet and renamed Urmeneta of Valparaiso.

Another picture of the ZETA.
 

 

The View for Sunday October 15 2000

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