Mining Exchange, Redruth

Built c. 1880 for the brokers who traded in metals coming from Cornish mines. By this time copper ore production had decreased significantly but it hadn’t disappeared altogether. However there was still a lively trade in tin and other metals. Metal trading was mainly taking place at the London Metal Exchange (LME) by this time. Redruth had been the business centre for Cornish copper trading, particularly the selling and purchasing of ores at fortnightly ‘ticketing’ events since the early eighteenth century.

Victorian Excel: Swansea and Cornwall Ticketing documents

I learned a lot about historical business records from the Richard Burton Archives at Swansea University, largely due to their resident expert in Business Archives, Stacy Capner who has also driven the innovative Wales Powering the World Project. I discussed my approach to business archives, very much that of a material culture historian who is interested in charting the journeys and transformation of materials and objects, at The Bottom Line, a Business Archives workshop held in Swansea in January.

While undertaking a survey of copper archives in Swansea The collection with which I became most familiar was the Grenfell Collection (LAC/45). Pascoe Grenfell and Sons (PG&S) was one of the premier players in the global copper business from 1830 until their liquidation in 1892. As as result of their assiduous record keeping much of their business remains documented in several archives. In addition to Swansea, collections can also be found in Buckinghamshire and Bangor. Bangor University Archives holds a collection of records pertaining to the previous incarnation of PG&S, Williams and Grenfell. This collection contains an exceptional set of documents called Ticketings. Continue reading

Who cares about copper?

Tap manufacture (Triflow Concepts)

Tap manufacture (credit: Triflow Concepts, courtesy of CDA UK)

Since I started my research on copper I have come across several organisations who say they take a lead or interest in how the world’s copper industry is run. Some are national agencies such as the Copper Development Association UK. Others embrace more than one country such as CDA Inc. and the European Copper Institute. Others take a strategic role such as the International Copper Study Group and the Copper Committee on the London Metal Exchange. Continue reading

Imagine life without copper

Imagine life without... (credit: European Copper Institute)

Imagine life without… (credit: European Copper Institute)

As part of a campaign to promote the knowledge and understanding of copper’s myriad applications in our life, a film was been commissioned by the European Copper Institute. The film’s website also provides other information on copper invites visitors to find out more about its often hidden world.

“Be Curious!”

Watch the film on the Imagine Life Without website.

Continue reading