Louise Gibson Morgan
I have always been awed by the architectural relics, left behind by the local slate quarrying. The remnants of the industry long since forgotten and allowed to decay, inspired many childhood games and inspire me as an Artist today.
I grew up in a farmhouse just outside Bethel, the old Dinorwic railway ran just behind our farmhouse. Born in 1969, it had long since fallen into disrepair, only the track bed and a few interesting relics remained.There was a signal gate that my sisters and I used to swing and hang off.
We would regularly play along the railway making dens, the broken Slates fence acted as a gateway to a whole new world of adventures.
Soon after mum started working as a wages and general clerk at Penrhyn Quarries, she enjoyed her work there. It was friendly and humour was used as a way of livening up a typical working day.My mother being in charge of arranging slate orders was told one day to phone a Mr C. Lion to arrange an order ,she phoned the number and was put through to Colwyn Bay Zoo!
As a child there was no child care or nurseries available if your mother worked,and both Nain lived in Llangollen.So if I was ill I would accompany my mother to her work, I was fascinated by Penrhyn,the sheer size of it,the slate galleries appeared like monuments, alongside the slate tips that had a strange beauty of their own.
I have overtime watched the gradual decay of amazing architecture produced by the slate industry
With a sadness.It is as if we have forgotten the sacrifices of the local quarry men and their families.
In my view the remnants of the slate industry should be preserved for future generations, not only from an historical point of view but also from the architectural point of view.This preservation being from the grandest slate galleries to the smallest signal box on Dinorwic Railway, if we don’t do this we are at risk of losing a major part of our local heritage.