Welsh Slate Museum
The Welsh Slate Museum at Llanberis has recently been relaunched following investment of a £1.6 million lottery grant, bringing back to life the inheritance of the North Wales slate industry which roofed the industrial revolution.
The Museum building is sited in the Victorian workshops built in the shadow of Elidir mountain, site of the vast Dinorwig quarry.
Not so much a museum as a pocket of history, it is as though the quarrymen and engineers put down their tools and left the courtyard for home, just hours before.
Now, with imaginative interpretation, the remarkable relics of the slate industry can be understood and enjoyed by the many thousands of visitors to this stunning countryside on the flanks of Snowdon. The lottery grant has made possible unique attractions and much-needed facilities to offer the visitor a day out without parallel in the richly-wooded lakeside landscape of the Padarn County Park. All visitors can now enjoy:
Civilised close-up exploration of the largest working waterwheel in mainland Britain
Slate-splitting demonstrations by hand-craftsmen revealing the skills and artistry of generations of quarry workers
The perilous ups and downs of a 19th century incline plane, a unique restoration of the machinery which transported slate
To Steal A Mountain - an innovative 3D multi-media presentation, evoking the lives and labour of the quarrymen
A fascinating tour of the workshops, iron & brass foundry, forges, loco shed, and the waterpowered machinery which made the tools for getting slate
A well-stocked shop with slate, wrought iron and wooden gifts, and a mouth-watering cafe with mountain views
Another brand new addition to the site is a row of four quarrymen's houses, rescued from demolition in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Like some giant painting-by-numbers picture, numbered stones have been reassembled to recapture significant periods from the life of slate.
One house is furnished as built in 1860, one during the Penrhyn Strike of 1901, the third at the time of the quarry's closure in 1969. The fourth offers interactive learning for schools, children and their families, one of many educational and play activities being developed on the site.
Also visit the Chief Engineer's House in the Museum quadrangle - refurnished to 1911. During 2000 the wash-house will also be refurnished.
The Welsh Slate Museum offers a day full of enjoyment and education in a dramatically beautiful landscape on the shores of Llyn Padarn, and at the terminus of the Llanberis Lake Railway, one of the 'Great Little Trains of Wales' which runs along the watersport shoreline.