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Review: National Slate Museum

Attraction - Museum

Llanberis, Gwynedd, LL55 4TY, United Kingdom

Fron Haul - Quarrymen’s Houses

  • By SilverTraveller ESW

    2244 reviews

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  • October 2019
  • On your own

11 people found this review helpful

This is one of a series of more detailed reviews for the National Slate Museum.

There was a housing boom in the C19th when terraces of stone houses were built to accommodate the families of the increasing number of men employed in the slate quarries. A small terrace from Tanygrisiau has been rebuilt at the museum and has been furnished to reflect social conditions at different times.

The end house is furnished as it might have been in 1861. The slate industry was at its height and although working conditions might not have been good, the men were paid good wages. The single downstairs room had an open fire which provided heat and hot water as well as being used for all cooking. It is well furnished with a grandfather clock (a sign of wealth) and dresser with a display of china, as well as the large family bible. A wooden staircase led to a bedroom which was used by the whole family, with children sleeping on a straw mattress on the floor. The only concession to privacy was a blanket draped from the ceiling.

Next is a house dating from 1901. This was the time of the Penrhyn Lockout when money was scarce. The open fire has been replaced by a cast iron range and the back of the room has been partitioned to form a small scullery with slate slab to keep food cool and a sink, although this still didn’t have running water. Gas lamps provided the only form of lighting. The upstairs has been divided into two bedrooms. The parents slept at the front along with the baby in a crib. There was also a small fireplace. At the back as a smaller bedroom, just large enough for a single bed and table for an enamel bowl for washing.

The next cottage is furnished from 1969, when quarrying was in decline. The cast iron range has been replaced by a fireplace with a large leather suit round it, which doesn’t leave much room for other furniture, apart from a gramaphone. There is a kitchen area with cooker and sink with a hot water heater above it.

The main bedroom now has a dressing table and teasmade. The smaller bedroom is furnished for a teenager.

The last house is an interactive learning facility and has a video telling the story of the different houses.

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