Friday, 6 January 2012

Unearth hidden gems

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, November 5, 2011, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.

Unearth hidden gems
RICHARD THOMAS heads to ….
Swansea Museum’s Collections Centre at Landore.

WHY? Swansea Museum operates over four locations. The Collections Centre is a fascinating place to visit because it houses the museum's reserve collection which include some extraordinary exhibits from Swansea’s industrial and maritime past.
QUIRKY HISTORY? The Collections Centre is housed in an historically important building on the former Hafod/Morfa Copper Works site in Landore, parts of which date back to 1830. In the mid-nineteenth century the Hafod/Morfa copper-smelting complex was the centre of world copper smelting activity. Little evidence remains of this industrial past, however, save for the buildings on this site. Considering the age of the building and the range of the artefacts stored within it, paranormal enthusiasts won’t be surprised to learn that the Collections Centre is alleged to be haunted. One member of staff even told me that while he was working in the storage area he heard “loud whistling” in his hear one night, when no one was around him.
WHAT TO TAKE? Admission is free but don’t forget to bring a camera with you.
LOOK OUT FOR? The former copper rolling shed and warehouse building has been transformed into a public-access store and collections centre. Some of the side rooms now have environmentally controlled storage for sensitive collections, as the building houses the reserve collections of both Swansea Museum and the Maritime and Industrial Museum.
Some of the most popular items in the collection at Landore are the old vehicles like a traveller's van, lorries, a fire engine and also boats. There are even two lifeboats; the Naomi Beatty and the William Gammon.
The William Gammon was gifted to the museum in 1992. She was named in memory of the coxswain of the Mumbles lifeboat, who lost his life along with the other seven crew members on April 23rd, 1947 whilst attempting to rescue the crew of the Samtampa.
The collection from the former Maritime & Industrial Museum in Swansea is also at the Landore site.
WHEN TO GO? Swansea Museum Collections Centre opens to visitors every Wednesday, 10am to 4pm, providing more opportunities to see the reserve and maritime & industrial collections.
TELL ME MORE: The Collections Centre can be found next to the Park and Ride car park, opposite the Liberty Stadium, on the Cross Valley Link Road, Landore, Swansea, SA1 2JT. For more information about exhibitions and events at Swansea Museum you can visit their website at You can also phone on 01792 653763.

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