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08 Oct 2009 237 views
 
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photoblog image Llechwedd Slate Quarry cavern

Llechwedd Slate Quarry cavern


To the North East of Blaenau Ffestiniog is the Llechwedd Slate Quarry, still a working quarry, it was opened as a tourist attraction with guided tours in 1972.

This is one of the Quarry caverns, of which there are very many. The side has now collapsed as the quarry moved from being mined to open cast working.  Originally this would have been fully enclosed.

Each cavern would be about thirty foot wide and perhaps forty foot high. Four men would work this cavern, twelve hours a day, six days a week for perhaps up to thirty years or more before it was worked out. All by hand and in the dim light of candles. Using hand drills and black powder explosives slate would be blasted from the walls and broken up into manageable pieces for transport to the splitting shop above the mine. There it would be split and cut into standard size roofing slates for transport around the world.

One cavern could be a life-times work for some miners. Starting work at the age of twelve, they would work for about forty years underground, with an average  life expectancy of about 52 in Victorian times.

Llechwedd Slate Quarry cavern


To the North East of Blaenau Ffestiniog is the Llechwedd Slate Quarry, still a working quarry, it was opened as a tourist attraction with guided tours in 1972.

This is one of the Quarry caverns, of which there are very many. The side has now collapsed as the quarry moved from being mined to open cast working.  Originally this would have been fully enclosed.

Each cavern would be about thirty foot wide and perhaps forty foot high. Four men would work this cavern, twelve hours a day, six days a week for perhaps up to thirty years or more before it was worked out. All by hand and in the dim light of candles. Using hand drills and black powder explosives slate would be blasted from the walls and broken up into manageable pieces for transport to the splitting shop above the mine. There it would be split and cut into standard size roofing slates for transport around the world.

One cavern could be a life-times work for some miners. Starting work at the age of twelve, they would work for about forty years underground, with an average  life expectancy of about 52 in Victorian times.

comments (6)

It was a hard life in those days and with little reward for most people
Les Auld: I suppose it was alright for the mine owners though Bill. Thanks for the comment.
  • zed
  • Australia
  • 8 Oct 2009, 09:57
Tough and dangerous job
Les Auld: And difficult as well Zed, thanks for the comment.
Superb documentary picture Les!
Les Auld: Thanks Richard, appreciate the comment.
My my..They were hard days. A good capture Les.
Les Auld: Very hard days Ron, thanks for the comment.
Excellent choice to do this scene in black and white. Very strong tones and contrasts.
Les Auld: Thanks Maven, appreciate the comment, it just did not work in colour.
A great shot Les, you had a pretty wide lens on to get this and the mono finish really suits it.
Les Auld: Thanks Brian, had to use the Sigma wide angle to get it all in but I also had to hand hold it so it is not particularly sharp.

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for this photo I'm in a any and all comments icon ShMood©
camera Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
exposure mode shutter priority
shutterspeed 1/6s
aperture f/5.6
sensitivity ISO100
focal length 18.0mm
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