The Norwegian Church
Swansea’s longstanding maritime connection with Norway arose from the importation of 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.
Originally 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.