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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Surveying at Pen-y-Bryn Slate Quarry in the Nantlle Valley

RCAHMW Investigator Spencer Smith surveying a row of workers’ cottages at Pen y Bryn Slate Quarry in the Nantlle Valley.

Louise Barker and Spencer Smith, Investigators with the Royal Commission are in the process of surveying Pen-y-Bryn Slate Quarry in the Nantlle Valley (NPRN: 33674) as part of the Atlanterra Project .

Pen-y-Bryn Slate Quarry is not as well known as Dorothea Slate Quarry (NPRN: 40539) to the west with its rare surviving Beam engine, or Pen-yr-orsedd Slate Quarry (NPRN: 40565) to the north with a series of aerial ropeways known as 'Blondins'. However, it is important because the complex of buildings used by the quarry workers survives almost complete including  their cottages a Saw Mill and a Weighbridge.

The quarry buildings were not the first buildings to be constructed at Pen-y-bryn, and the quarry takes its name from a 17th-century house which was still occupied while the slate quarry was in production around it and continued to be lived in until after World War II. The house is already designated a listed building by CADW, and when surveyed as part of the quarry complex will provide an important addition to the Royal Commission archive.

Dr. Gwynfor Pierce Jones, an expert on the slate industry of the Nantlle Valley and Eryl Williams, Conservation Officer for Gwynedd County Council are among those who viewed the survey work in progress.

Further survey work will be carried out in the coming weeks to survey the pumping system which kept the Quarry pits from filling with water whilst they were being worked by the quarrymen, and an animation of the complex will be completed for summer 2012.

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