National Slate Museum

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Entrance to the museum
The great water wheel inside the museum

The National Slate Museum (previously known as the Welsh Slate Museum) is located at Gilfach Ddu in the 19th-century workshops of the now disused Dinorwic slate quarry, within the Padarn Country Park, Llanberis, Gwynedd.

The museum is an Anchor Point of ERIH, The European Route of Industrial Heritage and part of National Museum Wales.

History[edit]

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, and as a replacement for the store sheds which were previously sited there. Rail access to the works was by both 2 ft (610 mm) gauge (the quarry gauge) and 4 ft (1,219 mm) gauge (that of the Padarn Railway which carried the slate from the quarry to Port Dinorwic). Rails also entered the main yard through the main entrance.

The museum is now connected to the nearby village of Llanberis by the Llanberis Lake Railway, which uses part of the building as its workshops.

The museum reopened after receiving a £1.6 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and now has innovative displays featuring Victorian era slateworkers' cottages that once stood at Tanygrisiau, near Blaenau Ffestiniog. They were taken down stone by stone and re-erected here. As well as many interesting exhibits, it has the multi-media display, To Steal a Mountain, showing the lives and work of the men who quarried slate here.

The museum also has the largest working waterwheel in mainland Britain, which is available for viewing via several walkways. The waterwheel was constructed in 1870 by De Winton of Caernarfon and is 50 ft 5ins in diameter, 5 ft 3ins wide and was built around a 12in axle.[1] Close to the museum is the partly restored Vivian incline, a gravity balance incline where loaded slate wagons haul empty wagons back up.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Plaque on the wall of the museum

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°07′16″N 4°06′54″W / 53.1210°N 4.11510°W / 53.1210; -4.11510