Copperworks Infant & Nursery School was built in 1847. It is the oldest school in Llanelli. It was built by Richard Janion Nevill who was considered a forward thinking philanthropist of his time. Richard Janion Nevill and his family originally came from Birmingham. His father, Charles Nevill, was a mayor of the city and managed a Copper Works.
The family came to South Wales because of the opportunities available. In 1804, they secured a supply of coal from the local pits for their proposed Copper Works. A site near the Penrhos flats in Seaside was chosen. In 1805, work commenced on the construction of the Copper Works and associated docks.
The Nevills were very caring employers for their time. They provided midwives, housing and of course - Education. Richard Nevill promoted the original concept for a Copperworks School in the early years of the 19th century. The school was initially established as a works charity school for children of employees of the Copper Works, Caemaen and Box Collieries, free of charge, and was held in the yard of the Copper Works.
In 1846 the land the school now stands on was leased from William Chambers of Llanelli House and the school was constructed by Richard Nevill, with the financial help of several local industrialists, and came into commission in 1847, comprising of a boys and infants department.
In 1848 a row of teachers’ houses were built and in 1852, the building was completed with the addition of the girl’s department.
In 1846, in the ‘Commissioners of Inquiry’, Richard Nevill urged that something be done to ‘improve and extend the system of education in the rapidly expanding parish, for boys and girls’.
Forward thinking indeed!
The 1862 inspection report stated, “Reading, writing and arithmetic and all the ordinary subjects were admirably taught in the school”.
Although the curriculum has changed somewhat over the years, the school has continued educating generation after generation of children from the Seaside area.
His legacy lives on to this day!