Monday, 6 February 2012

Working slate in North Wales....


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Porthamdoc, [Portmadoc]  nd. Gwynedd Archives
Gwynedd Archives hold some really interesting collections which tell the history of the slate industry in North Wales. The areas in and around Caernarfon produced some of the highest quality slate in the world, turning it into a massive industry during the late 18th-19th century.

The collections include records of various quarries (Castell Slate Quarry, Dinorwic Quarry, Dorothea Quarry etc), the North Wales Quarrying Museum Collection, papers relating to the Union of North Wales Quarrymen and material relating to the Ffestiniog Railway line which was constructed in the 1830s to transport slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog.

They also hold the records of two companies which were catalogued as part of the Powering the World project. 

·         Davies Brothers, Slate Merchants, of Porthmadog, established in 1879. The company ordered slate from many quarries including Diphwys Quarry and Wrysgan Quarry, Merionethshire, and Bugail Quarry, Caernarfonshire. The company supplied slates for rails, tram roods and roofing.

·         Inigo Jones, Slate works, Caernarfon, established in 1861. The company originally produced writing slate for schools, later also producing electrical slate panels for Cunard ships, fireplaces, memorials, and, more recently, slate for domestic or decorative purposes. The company recently celebrated it’s 150th anniversary. 

Here are a few slate industry images from their fantastic photographic collection:

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Llechwedd Slate mine: View of schooner being loaded with slates at Greaves’ Wharf, Portmadoc [Porthmadog], nd. Gwynedd Archives

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Llechwedd Quarries. Slate dressing mill, nd. Gwynedd Archives

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