About us

Welsh history is an important part of the work of The Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales. Historians at Swansea examine Wales from the medieval period to the very recent past. We seek to develop and enhance both academic and public understanding of Wales’s history and culture.

Industrial history and heritage are key themes within our work. Central to this is our research and communities activities around the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks. We have been using historical research into the global and local significance of the Swansea copper industry to work with national and local partners to regenerate and revitalize a previously derelict copperworks site. We work with the local authority, business and community groups to interpret and preserve the site and to enhance local skills.

Steel history and heritage are also vibrant areas of activity in the Centre. AHRC-funded projects have seen us work with Tata Port Talbot, a local school and community groups to explore the history of steel and its impact on communities around steelworks.

Another important project has recorded, mapped and analysed Welsh chapel memorials to the First World War. Alongside this, we worked with different local groups to research and commemorate Swansea’s connections with the Great War. This produced an exhibition and online resources and supported public contemporary commemoration events.

In medieval history, Swansea is home to pioneering research on medieval race law, Welsh women and the law, and the Welsh economy.

Current research projects within the department include ‘Wales, India and the British Empire’ and the ‘Welsh Not and education in Victorian Wales’.

The Centre is also home to pioneering work on the history of disability in Wales. The Disability and Industrial Society project compared industrial injuries and diseases in three coalfields in Wales, England and Scotland between 1780 and 1948. You can learn more about the project here.

Members of the Burton centre undertake extensive media work and are committed to ensuring our academic research has a reach and impact beyond universities. We make television, videos, podcasts and write for online sites. We give talks in schools and communities and work with policymakers in heritage and education.