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Rhosydd Slate Mine, Blaenau Ffestiniog, May 2012

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cunningcorgi

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May 26, 2011
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Good question !
Visited with walsh and wonlycows

HISTORY

Slate was first discovered here in the 1830's when quarrying commenced on a very small scale. The quarry developed to encompass 14 floors underground, numbered from the top, with a total of 170 chambers from which the slate was won. As the workings progressed northwards so did a succession of surface workings and access tunnels and it is this aspect of Rhosydd which is part of its uniqueness. In other quarries the development is less easily visible or is obscured by later workings. As an indication of what lies beneath one's feet, the final main workings at Bwlch Cwmorthin are on level 9 and all 5 levels below this are now flooded.

The ups and downs of the slate trade, the difficulties of raising capital, geological problems and dangerous underground working practices also brought periods of closure and industrial unrest. Peak output occurred in the 1880's when over 6000 tons per year of saleable slate was mined. This was also the period of greatest employment when over 200 workers were engaged. A major blow to the quarry occurred in 1900 when the "Great Fall" occurred underground, in the south eastern section of the workings. This destroyed a large part of the most profitable reserves. From this major blow the quarry never fully recovered.

A slow lingering existence followed until final closure in 1930. However in the hope of the market for slate improving it was decided to keep the underground pumps working. This proved to be a futile gesture and the pumps were finally turned off in 1948 causing much of the underground workings to flood.

THE VISIT

1. Adit 9 entrance
Rhos10.jpg


2. Journeying down Adit 9
Rhos15.jpg


3. Pulley system for the carts at the end of adit 9 and in the distance, remains of 5/9 incline works
Rhos16.jpg


4. Wide tunnel leading to 5 incline
Rhos18.jpg


5. Start of the angled adit leading to floor 9 chambers
Rhos20.jpg


6. Compressor House remains
Rhos22.jpg


7. Compressor Room brick and natural rock combine
Rhos24.jpg


8. Top of the 9 incline looking down at the workings below
Rhos26.jpg


9. Top of the 5 incline, looking down
Rhos27.jpg


10. End of the road (this one anyway !), broken bridge at chamber F, floor 3
Rhos29.jpg


11. The way out and home (or not as the case may turn out to be !). The West Twll
Rhos28.jpg


Thanks for looking.
 

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