The Norwegian Church
longstanding maritime connection with Norway arose from the importation
timber pitprops from Scandinavia for use in the coalmines of South
Wales, and the shipment of Welsh coal as a return cargo to Norway. To
cater for the spiritual and social requirements of the seafarers engaged
in this trade, the Norwegian Church - which had first been erected in
Newport Docks in the late 1890’s - was moved to Swansea in 1909 and
opened the following year.
located at the Main Entrance to Swansea Docks, the landmark mission
building was used extensively by Scandinavian seafarers for many
decades, but their numbers had dwindled significantly by 1966 when the
instruction came from Norway that the church should be closed. However,
a Norwegian living in Pontarddulais, Mr. Eric Benneche, offered to take
over the running of the mission and, with the aid of Swansea’s local
Norwegian community, the church remained in use for another thirty two
years until its eventual closure in 1998.
In 2004 the building was dismantled, restored and
relocated to its present position next to ‘J’ Shed as part of Swansea’s
SA1 redevelopment scheme, and now awaits a new role, possibly as an art
studio, workshop or gallery.