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National Slate Museum

Llanberis, Gwynedd

The National Slate Museum is on the shores of Llyn Padarn, and at the terminus of the Llanberis Lake Railway, one of the 'Great Little Trains of Wales', which runs along the shoreline.

These buildings once housed the workshops for the former Dinorwig Quarry. Built in 1870, and are on a pattern similar to a British Empire Fort. The central courtyard, clock tower and detailed windows give them their unique character.

Quick Guide
See below grid for details

These workshops, which served all the needs of the quarry and its locomotives, were built in 1870 on land created from the continuous tipping of spoil from the adjacent Vivian Quarry.

So what can you see:

  • Close-up exploration of the largest working waterwheel in mainland Britain.

  • Slate-splitting demonstrations by craftsmen revealing the skills and artistry of generations of quarry workers.

  • The perilous ups and downs of a 19th-century incline plane, a unique restoration of the machinery that transported slate.

  • A tour of the workshops, iron and brass foundry, forges, loco shed and the water powered machinery that made the tools for quarrying slate.

  • Four quarrymen's houses, rescued from demolition in Blaenau Ffestiniog. One house is furnished to reflect 1860, another the Penrhyn Strike of 1901 and a third the time of the quarry's closure in 1969. The fourth offers interactive learning facilities for schools, children and their families.

  • Chief Engineer's House, refurnished to reflect life in 1911.

  • more ... see the links below.

National slate museum

Click on the image to see a larger version

Slate not Gold is at the bottom of this rainbow

Before the large quarries came, local people had been working the mountain for centuries before Dinorwig Quarry opened. In 1788 Asheton Smith paid bailiffs to evict these people out of their tiny quarries. By the end of the 19th century, almost all the land in Gwynedd was owned by just five families..... click here to read more of the quarry's history, and how employer and employee got on well. From this link you can also find out about the slate, and quarry life.

About the buildings - click on one of the links below to find out about any of interest

Location:  National Slate Museum, Llanberis, Gwynedd

Grid Reference: SH587602 Ceremonial County: Caernarfonshire

Map Link: multimap

Aerial photo: multimap

Getting there: Llanberis, within the Padarn Country Park, see map or follow signs

Website:   own    Guide to museum

Other Useful Websites: wiki    welsh cultural site    images

Email: Enquiry Form
Address: National Slate Museum, Llanberis, Gwynedd.
Postcode: LL55 4TY Telephone: 01286 870 630
Opening Times: 10am–5pm daily (Easter–October), 10am–4pm Sun–Fri (November–Easter)

Charges: FREE ENTRY  (parking charges probably apply)

Nearby Locations: Llanberis Lake Railway

Other Location Pages:

Living History Section

List of Living History Museums

Living history museums introduction



CIN Page Ref: national_slate_museum

Classification: Living History

Date Updated: 07/2008

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