The Slip Bridge
Swansea was the world’s first globally integrated centre of heavy industry and home of the world’s first passenger railway – the Mumbles Train – running along the seafront, something that is barely recognised in the city today. The Slip Bridge and the adjacent Victoria Park were a focus for the community with the train and the Regional Railway stopping there. The bridge was a response to the dangerous Slip crossing to the beach and a fixture on the Swansea skyline for almost a century before it fell into disrepair with the span being removed and never replaced. Industrial decline, the loss of the railway and its replacement by one of the busiest roads in Wales, and the loss of the Slip Bridge have isolated the community from the world class natural asset on their doorstep. Swansea’s once vibrant seafront and sands are now poorly used, despite the proximity to a significant residential population.
The bridge was iconic – one of few remnants from the Victorian/Edwardian era following a long period of de-industrialisation and Swansea’s devastation in World War Two. There is a strong folk memory of the Bay’s heyday, with occasional glimpses of its potential today during the city’s annual Air Show – a rare occasion when the beach is packed. Our project seeks to redress this – we want to reconnect (physically and symbolically) our diverse inner city communities, which include some areas of significant deprivation, with their world class seafront. We want to build the capacity of our wider community of interest to take socially enterprising approaches to developing, safeguarding and celebrating the city’s precious industrial heritage in a sustainable way that drives regeneration and enhancing (and paving the way for more) collaborative working with the Local Authority and other key bodies with the community as a regeneration partner – not simply a beneficiary.