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Friday, 29 May 2015

The Royal Commission’s new publication ‘Welsh Slate: Archaeology and History of an Industry’ launched at Penrhyn Castle

Last week saw the official launch of the Royal Commission’s new publication ‘Welsh Slate:  Archaeology and History of an Industry’. The launch was held in the Great Hall of Penrhyn Castle near Bangor. 

Penrhyn Castle and its parkland, with Bethesda and Penrhyn quarry in the middle distance.  The neo–Norman castle was built in the nineteenth century and was the home of Lord Penrhyn, owner of Penrhyn quarry. NPRN: 16687

The castle, the former home of quarry owner Lord Penrhyn, was once at the centre of one of the longest industrial disputes ever seen in British history.  In 1900, conflict between Lord Penrhyn and the Bethesda quarrymen led to a bitter three year strike.  Now owned by the National Trust, the launch of the book at this location was seen as an important step in reconciling the heritage of the castle and the surrounding communities.

The welcome was provided by Dr Eurwyn Wiliam, Chairman of  the Royal Commission.

The launch was compered by Bethan Jones Parry of Gwynedd Council with a welcome by Dr Eurwyn Wiliam (Chairman of the royal Commission) and a short speech by the author, Dr David Gwyn.  A special and significant moment came with actor John Ogwen, born and raised in Bethesda, reading extracts from the book, followed by a wonderful recital by pupils of the Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias ( 

Actor John Ogwen reading extracts from the book.

As the book makes an important contribution towards the developing nomination for World Heritage Status for the Slate Industry of North Wales, the launch concluded with speeches from Gwynedd Councillor Mandy Williams - Davies, Chair of the bid’s Steering Group, and Sir Neil Cossons, a leading authority on industrial and world heritage.

The World Heritage Bid steering group.  Led by Gwynedd Council, with membership from RCAHMW, Cadw, National Museum Wales, Snowdonia National Park Authority, Govannon Consultancy, Bangor University and the National Trust.

The book is available in both English and Welsh versions:

Welsh Slate: Archaeology and History of an Industry (ISBN: 978-1871184-51-8)

Llechi Cymru: Archaeoleg a Hanes (ISBN: 978-1871184-52-5.

These are large format books of 291 pages with 243 high-quality illustrations and cost £45 but only £40.50 to Friends of the Commission.

As part of the Festival of Archaeology, Dr David Gwyn will talk about the book at the Royal Commission’s offices in Aberystwyth on 15 July 2015 from 4:30 to 7:00pm. Booking is advisable.  A warm welcome is extended to everyone.

For further details, please contact the Royal Commission on 01970 621200,

Further images from the launch can be viewed on our Facebook page!/pages/Royal-Commission-on-the-Ancient-and-Historical-Monuments-of-Wales/146120328739808

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