Slate And Stuff

A slate museum – maybe not the most exciting place you might think. However, having been inside Electric Mountain in Snowdonia and faced with an afternoon of pouring rain, when our guide for the power station pointed out the slate museum on the drive back to the visitor centre we thought about it. When she mentioned free entrance theΒ decision was made. Nothing to lose, shelter from the inclement weather, we figured we might as well check it out.

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Slate is just everywhere in Llanberis, you can’t get away from it, much was carved from the open mountainside leaving a jagged cliff which, while not exactly beautiful is definitely striking. We walked from the visitor centre just the short distance to the slate museum. The lady at the entrance excitedly told us we were just about in time for a slate splitting demonstration. We hurried to the theatre type place and found about a hundred people already seated. We got the standing room only spots round the edge. I thought something amazing was about to happen, anticipation was building. The very nice man split one slate and then proceeded to spend the rest of the time talking about what he had just done. Skillful and impressive no doubt but a bit of an anti-climax.

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Outside we started exploring – lots of old workrooms with heaps of old equipment. We found the largest waterwheel in Europe and climbed right to the top to watch it turn.

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My highlight was the row of terraced workers’ cottages. Three little houses, each furnished from a different era. Every one was so different and the bits and pieces so intriguing, most compelling though was how tiny they were and how large families lived here at one time.

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There was a hospital where the slate workers were once treated, it sounded fascinating but was closed that day. A few craft shops and a nice cafΓ© finished off our visit. The slate museum exceeded my expectations – it was definitely worth an hour or so on a rainy afternoon in Llanberis.

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32 thoughts on “Slate And Stuff

  1. That looks like just the type of place I love visiting. I like my industrial history with a whole heap of social history to make it more accessible. Before moving to America, we lived near the slate islands off the west coast of Scotland. It was always fascinating seeing the slate quarries.

    • There’s just something about slate that is so intriguing. We spent a weekend after this by the coast but drove through Blaenau Ffestiniog where there is literally slate everywhere, mountains of the stuff around the town, I found that fascinating too. I agree with you about history, a good dollop of social history really brings something like this to life.

  2. How big were the families in those little cottages? I thought my house was small. For over 30 yrs our family of 4 lived in 1257sq ft. We’ve just finished adding on a bit so the house feels huge at 2042sq ft including the attached garage.

  3. Great photos Joy, to go with a very interesting post πŸ™‚ I find the slates fascinating from a geological perspective. It’s interesting to see the workers’ cottages. They are of a very similar size and design to the terraced cottage I had in St Just (in Cornwall), which would have been built for the tin miners in the mid 1800s.

      • The old buildings like that are amazing πŸ™‚ I love the Victorian insides of houses (of real people), but more recent periods are interesting too. It’s amazing to think how much has changed, even since I was a kid in the late sixties and seventies.

  4. The little cottages are so quaint Joy – they would be right up my street but incredible to think how families crammed into them back in the day! Maybe it’s something to do with Monsieur’s Welsh heritage but we have slate floors in our kitchen and hall area – I initially wasn’t that keen and had thoughts of removing them but now I love them. They go well with the wooden floors that lead off the area and are lovely and cool in the hot summer months but reasonably warming in the cooler weather. One day we plan to do a tour of Wales so this is a place to note down for that trip! Hope you have had a good week and have a great weekend πŸ™‚

    • I love slate Rosemary, your floors sound wonderful, practical too I expect!! The little cottages were so interesting, like you say, unimaginable nowadays how whole families managed to fit in them, not a lot of privacy. The museum is in a gorgeous part of Wales, if you do your tour you should definitely spend time here. Hope your week was good too and you have a fun filled weekend. Rain and more rain here….

      • Yes slate floors are very practical – good with pets and small children! We could do with some of the rain – very hot here today and tomorrow not looking much better but then a cool change is on the cards πŸ™‚ We have Prince Charles and Camilla in Perth at present (not that we are going to see them!). Hope things improve on the weather front…!

      • I saw the royals on the news in Perth and was thinking about you… wondering if you might catch up with them!! There were some pictures of them today sunbathing by the pool in sweltering heat, fingers crossed it will cool down a bit for you.

      • Thanks Joy πŸ™‚ I think they are having a barbecue for Charles’s birthday tomorrow at Cottesloe beach – that’s about 20 minutes drive from us to the south down the coast. We haven’t received an invite yet though! We are lucky to live close to the sea as it makes quite a difference – the sea breeze came in by lunchtime today and it made it far more bearable. Also we have a pool as well (very common here!) πŸ™‚ Our daughter and family are coming over to see us and use our pool tomorrow. They live further inland and don’t get the breeze until late at night so it feels far hotter there. There’s a cool change forecast for tomorrow evening so it should cool down by then all being well πŸ™‚

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