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Wales, UK

Get Welshmen to break the stone

The Slate Mines of Wales

"Rhaid cael Cymry i dorri'r garreg,

Nid yw'r graig yn deall Saesneg."

"You must get Welshmen to break the stone,

For the rock does not understand English”

- Dafydd Jones -

There was an art to harvesting slate. Quarrymen learned the trade from their forefathers and taught it to their sons. Generation after generation, century after century, Welshmen worked the stone. So that in these parts, slate is a part of the Welsh heritage as much as it is part of the Welsh landscape.

Snowdonia, in north west Wales, is considered to have some of the finest quality and strongest roofing slate in the world. During the 19th century the region was the centre of the Welsh slate industry. At its peak, in 1898, the Welsh slate trade employed 17,000 men and produced 485,000 tons of slate. But little is produced there now, with most mines and quarries abandoned half a century ago.


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