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Thread: Cwmorthin Slate Mine, August 2012

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Good question !

    Default Cwmorthin Slate Mine, August 2012


    Cwmorthin was run by several different companies as a venture in its own right during the 1800's. The earlier underground workings started at "Lake Level", so called due to the entrance being just above the surface of the nearby Llyn Cwmorthin, and ascended upwards in the mountain ultimately for 8 floors in both the Old and Back Vein. Poor working practices and reckless engineering decisions ultimately led to a substantial collapse and the end of that company.

    A new company took the mine on afterwards and reused Lake Level but sealed off the shattered and dangerous upper floors. Instead, they developed new workings below, going down into the mountain. Ultimately this company sunk five floors on both veins, before itself being being forcibly closed in 1901 due to a legal dispute.

    The now abandoned lower floors flooded up to Lake Level, containing an immense amount of water hundreds of feet deep, which remained until the early 1930's. The neighbouring mine (Oakeley Quarries) were at this time driving underneath the old Cwmorthin workings and were uneasy about having such a huge volume of water above them, so decided to drain it out. Special diamond-drilled bore holes were driven through into the deepest parts of Cwmorthin from Oakeley and the water drained out under controlled conditions.

    When the water level reached the bottom, the mines were connected in several places by full-size tunnels and Oakeley (who'd taken over the ownership of Cwmorthin) actually re-opened some of Cwmorthin and put men to work in it. The Back Vein Incline was re-equipped and even a new incline was driven down another 90 vertical feet to open some more chambers.

    Cwmorthin then operated essentially as just another part of Oakeley right up until 1970 when Oakeley itself closed. This marked the end of the mine's working life as a major concern, however, throughout the 1980's and early 1990's the mine was working on a limited scale by a small team of local men. Extraction occurred in a few chambers on Lake Level and Level 1, with the underground transport being provided by a Series 2 Land Rover 88".


    A re-visit to Cwmorthin as any time I was there before, the photos came out like mince and after months of getting nagged by the brother-in-law to tag along, Cwmorthin seemed like a good place to disuade him from wanting to tag along again.

    Visited with wonkycows and a now, nervous wreck of a brother-in-law.

    1. Stairs

    2. Back Vein incline looking up

    3. Carts, pipes, rust and water

    4. Half bridge

    5. Incline junction

    6. Pump controls

    7. Carts

    8. Queen Mary Cafe

    9. Bottom of 1934 Incline

    10. Top of 1934 Incline

    11. Submerged cart

    12. Top of the Back Vein

    13. Heading out

    14. Light

    Thanks for looking

  2. Thanks given by: akira1424, Alksen, bodrick, Bones out, borntobemild, flyboys90, Neosea, Pen15, phill.d, sYnc_below, UE-OMJ
  4. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    The Centre of England or near enough


    Stunnimg shots thanks for sharing.

  5. #3
    Join Date
    June 2012


    We like Cwmorthin.... Nice pictures fella. :)
    :::::: Growing old disgracefully ::::::

  6. #4
    Join Date
    March 2012


    My great grandfather was working in a copper mine in Michigan. He told them he was an orphan and got the job of carrying the dynamite. Interesting pictures

  7. #5
    Join Date
    July 2012
    Over The Hills And far Away


    Quote Originally Posted by Bonesout View Post
    We like Cwmorthin.... Nice pictures fella. :)
    I second that

    Nice to see bits that we didn't see. Well done in your trip out !

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